A £3.7m redevelopment of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies’ equine hospital is set to begin this month.

The new diagnostic, surgical and critical care unit will replace the current surgery, radiography and intensive care block at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush campus.

This was first built around 30 years ago and was last refurbished in 1993.

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The state-of-the-art centre will include a support space with an overhead viewing area, where students can watch and discuss operations as they happen.

It will also have a specialised area for evaluating and triaging emergency cases, two theatres with adjacent induction and recovery boxes as well as a new standing-surgery suite.

The critical care unit will have six boxes for adult horses and neonatal foals, complete with 24-hour video monitoring and an on-site laboratory.

Dr John Keen, head of the equine hospital and practice, said the team is “thrilled” at the prospect of the new unit.

“The new facilities will advance the work of the school, and offer leading-edge clinical, education, and research support to the global equine industry,” he said.

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped to make this a reality by donating to the appeal and contributing to the future of the school.”

The project was part-funded by the university’s alumni and donations were received from classes spanning 66 years — from 1947 to 2013.

“As a referral veterinary hospital, we are seeing an increase in emergency caseloads, and an increased need for advanced diagnostics,” said a spokesman for the veterinary school.

“We want to build an environment to support and develop our programme of equine research, to improve equine health and welfare while also offering a greater insight into causes and cures for human conditions.”

Recent break-throughs at the university include discovering similarities between equine grass sickness in horses and Alzheimer’s disease in people.