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Two major Central Kentucky equine clinics have announced they will temporarily cease elective surgeries to better comply with Gov. Andy Beshear’s orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Rood and Riddle and Park Equine Hospital both published letters to their clients on social media this past weekend, categorizing surgical procedures or medical conditions as “emergent, urgent, or non-urgent/elective” per definitions from the state’s Cabinet of Health and Family Services.

Both letters stated non-urgent cases may include castrations, cryptorchid surgeries, some OCD lesions and some airway conditions. Non-urgent cases may also include some chip removals and some angular limb deformity corrections. Veterinarians are to decide whether the horse’s condition results in serious long-term damage to the horse if not treated immediately.

For yearlings preparing to go to public auction in the fall, this is often the time of year when veterinarians would be taking survey radiographs to check for imperfections that would show up in the repository and reduce a horse’s value. Some of these abnormalities may be treated with elective surgery.

Additionally, Rood and Riddle announced it would be switching to washable caps and masks to halt its consumption of equipment that may be needed in human medicine. There is a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses fighting COVID-19.

The Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners reminded veterinarians via email last week that Gov. Beshear had mandated the stop of non-essential medical procedures effective March 18. The Board had continued to receive reports of some clinics operating as normal well after that date.




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