Equine Foundation of Canada makes major donation to AVC

Contributing to the health and welfare of horses
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Fourth-year vet student Kara Wilson describes AVC’s new overground endoscope to Susan Nelson, treasurer of the Equine Foundation of Canada, and Dr. Greg Keefe, dean of AVC.

The Equine Foundation of Canada (EFC) has generously provided AVC with $127,000 for state-of-the-art equipment used to diagnose and treat lameness, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal conditions in horses.

The donation from the EFC matches funds received from the Government of Canada earlier this year for the purchase of the equipment. Susan Nelson, treasurer of the EFC, recently visited AVC to present a cheque to Dean Greg Keefe and Dr. Heather Gunn McQuillan, director of AVC’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. During her visit, she toured the VTH and saw some of the equipment purchased with the funding.

“With this funding from the EFC and the Government of Canada, we have expanded and enhanced the services we provide to our equine patients,” says Dr. Greg Keefe, dean of AVC. “In addition, the state-of-the-art equipment we have purchased has great value for the education of our students, particularly those who plan to specialize in equine veterinary medicine. I thank the Equine Foundation of Canada for its ongoing support of AVC.”

The volunteer-based EFC has donated over $207,000 to AVC since 1987.

Among the new equipment obtained with the assistance of the EFC is a 4K arthroscopic system—the first of its kind in a veterinary school in Canada. Arthroscopy—minimally invasive joint surgery—allows horses to heal quickly and return to activity in the shortest amount of time as possible—a benefit to the horses, the trainers, and the owners. This system enhances imaging abilities with fine detail and depth perception, allowing veterinarians to treat patients with great precision.

Another innovative tool is an equine overground endoscope, with a gastroscope attachment, USB endoscope, and related tools. This equipment allows veterinarians to more accurately diagnose upper airway problems in racehorses, leading to more appropriate treatments. The tool also comes with portable video endoscope and gastroscope attachments that allow veterinarians to diagnose and monitor problems such as upper airway disorders, gastric ulcers, and other stomach issues right at the farm or in the stable. AVC has the only overground endoscope in Atlantic Canada.

Atrial fibrillation and ventricular arrhythmia are two cardiac conditions that can seriously affect a horse’s health. New cardiology equipment purchased with the funding includes, among other things, wireless EKG monitors to assess the rhythm of a horse’s heartbeat under natural conditions and identify abnormal heart rhythms before they cause problems. As well, iPhone heart monitors can be used in the field to detect a problem that would need a referral to the VTH’s cardiology service.

Lameness problems in horses can be difficult and time-consuming to detect. The acquisition of Bluetooth accelerometers and software, an equine therapeutic laser, and a portable shockwave system assist with more consistent and rapid diagnosis and treatment of lameness and injuries.

Other equipment includes a new equine surgery table, a Nova 4- CRT bicarb analyzer for testing post-race equine urine samples, and an M-turbo ultrasound with transducers for diagnosing injury in soft tissues, among other uses.

Anna MacDonald
AVC External Relations Officer
Atlantic Veterinary College
(902) 566-6786
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