A $20,000 donation from the Equine Foundation of Canada (EFC) to support horse health at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) on the University of Saskatchewan campus has been doubled by a matching gift program, bringing the total gift to $40,000.

"The Equine Foundation of Canada's dedicated efforts to support horse health at the WCVM and at other Canadian veterinary colleges are exceptional," said WCVM Dean Douglas Freeman, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT. "Year after year, members of the EFC have put the long-term health and welfare of horses first by investing in veterinary education, research and clinical services across the country. We admire their commitment and thank them for supporting our veterinary college."

Established in 1983, the EFC is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting the health and welfare of all breeds of horses across Canada. Its latest donation qualifies for the veterinary college's matching gift program--an initiative that was created by the Heather Ryan and L. David Dubé Foundation in 2006. The Saskatoon foundation has pledged to match any new or increased donations to the WCVM's equine research programs between 2006 and 2011.

With the EFC donation and the matched dollars, the WCVM has purchased two pieces of equipment that will be used for horse health research as well as for the clinical care of patients in the college's veterinary teaching hospital:

  • A Holter monitor that will allow veterinarians to continuously monitor a horse's heart activity for 24 hours or longer. The equipment will help veterinarians diagnose and investigate cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) and other cardiac-related symptoms that come and go without any predictability; and
  • An overground video endoscope that gives veterinarians the ability to examine a horse's upper airway during exercise. Endoscopic evaluation of horses exercised on a high-speed treadmill or on a track is the gold standard for identifying dynamic abnormalities such as dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP), laryngeal hemiplegia, or other upper airway dysfunctions.

This is the second year that the EFC has qualified for the matching gift program. The organization contributed $10,000 in 2009 to support the WCVM's studies of equine sarcoids--the most commonly diagnosed skin tumors in horses around the world.

While the EFC generally rotates its annual donation among Canada's five veterinary colleges, its members decided to make an exception: "We had donated to the WCVM in 2009, but the chance to double the support for horse health programs was just too good of an opportunity to pass up," said EFC President Eldon Bienert.

Combined, the two EFC gifts and the matching dollars will result in a $60,000 addition to the WCVM's equine health program. After more than four years, the matching gift program has helped to increase funding for WCVM's horse health activities by more than $450,000.

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