To report technique for, and outcome after, nephrectomy through a ventral median celiotomy in equids.

Study Design

Case series.


Equids with unilateral renal disease (n = 6), aged 2 months to 18 years, weighing 90–434 kg.


A ventral median celiotomy was used to access the left or right kidney. To facilitate surgical exposure, the small intestine was reflected towards the diaphragm using laparotomy sponges and the ascending colon was exteriorized and in some cases evacuated. The peritoneum over the affected kidney was incised and blunt dissection used to free the kidney from the retroperitoneal fat, then the renal artery, vein, and ureter were isolated and ligated. Abdominal lavage with sterile saline solution was performed before abdominal closure.


Four horses, 1 donkey, and 1 mule had unilateral nephrectomy to treat verminous nephritis (1), idiopathic hematuria (1), and ectopic ureter (4). A ventral median approach provided adequate access to the kidney in all 6 cases. Two horses had postoperative complications (peritonitis, chylous abdominal effusion) that resolved with medical therapy. No complications attributable to nephrectomy were reported by the owners upon follow-up 1–8 years after surgery.


A ventral median approach for nephrectomy can be used for unilateral nephrectomy in equids weighing up to 434 kg.