Lasting legacies at Leahurst

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The Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital at Leahurst
The Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital at Leahurst

An exciting project to refurbish an equine anaesthetic recovery box is underway at the University of Liverpool’s Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital at Leahurst. The project, which is led by Mark Senior, Head of Department of Equine Clinical Science, and Tom McGowan, Equine Clinical Department Manager, shall have a dual function as a recovery room and where standing surgeries such as back, head, dental and laparoscopic surgery can be performed.

Having a dedicated room for standing surgeries situated next to one of the main theatres will improve the safety of these procedures for horses, who are still relatively high risk when put under general anaesthesia. Advances in surgery and sedation techniques have increased the range of procedures which can now be performed with the horse standing, as sedation avoids the risks posed when using general anaesthesia in equine surgery.

Because of the risks associated with general anaesthesia, accompanied by advances in techniques associated with standing surgeries in horses, the number of standing surgeries we perform in the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital has increased massively over the last 10 years. We have two operating theatres to perform surgeries under general anaesthesia but only one room which is ideal for sanding surgeries, so doubling that capacity by refurbishing our largest recovery room so standing surgeries can be performed there as well as still being able to induce anaesthesia in horses in that room will be really beneficial to us and our patients.

Professor Mark Senior (BVSc, PhD, SFHEA, CertVA, DipECVAA, MRCVS)

A standing laparoscopy (where a camera and a second instrument are inserted through ‘keyhole incisions’ into the abdomen to perform surgery) in a horse to remove an ovarian tumour

Image: A standing laparoscopy (where a camera and a second instrument are inserted through ‘keyhole incisions’ into the abdomen to perform surgery) in a horse to remove an ovarian tumour

The project has been given a financial boost by two generous legacy gifts received by equestrian enthusiasts: Mr Joseph Brendon Collins who passed away in January 2020, and Janet and David Cole who passed in December 2011 and November 2019 respectively. We have been fortunate to discover the stories behind these remarkable gestures which remember the Equine Hospital in such a unique way.

Mr Collins, who bequeathed a generous legacy of £10,000, came from a hard-working family. He grew up on a farm, where one of his jobs was to plough the fields using horses, which his niece said he always remembered with great fondness. Mr Collins and his wife devoted their time as patrons and supporters to various animal charities. They also adopted many horses and donkeys, including one horse called Peanuts, who they saved from the slaughterhouse.  His love of horses stayed with him until he passed away. His niece remembered her Uncle as a “true gentleman in life and I know he will be pleased his legacy will go to future research for veterinary science.”

Mr and Mrs Cole, who also left a gift in will of £10,000, had a strong affiliation with the University’s Leahurst Equine Hospital, where Mrs Cole’s horse Quest received treatment for colic during 2006.  The treatment Quest received and visits to the hospital inspired Mr and Mrs Cole to remember the Equine Hospital in their will. 

These wonderful legacy gifts will have a positive impact at Leahurst, in supporting the excellent equine care the facility provides.


You can find out more about legacy giving by visiting the legacies page or contacting Carolyn Jones, Legacy 

For further information about the University’s Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital visit here