University of Saskatchewan Horse Health Center Ready for Expansion

An expanded horse health care facility at the University of Saskatchewan will be called the Ryan/Dubé Equine Performance Center in recognition of a couple's longtime support for veterinary research and education.

Heather Ryan and her husband, L. David Dubé, contributed $1.2 million toward the expansion of the college's existing equine performance center. Three other donors (the Government of Saskatchewan, Marg and Ron Southern of Calgary, Alta., and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine [WCVM]) provided the rest of the funding for the $2.8-million project.

The expansion, which will begin being construction in February 2011, will add nearly 1,000 sq. m (10,600 sq. ft.) as well as vital resources to the WCVM's equine education, clinical, and research programs.

"This expansion will give our students, faculty and staff the tools and indoor space that they need to enhance horse health care in Western Canada," says WCVM Dean Douglas Freeman, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT. "In particular, this building will be a focal point for diagnosing, treating, and investigating different lameness issues. Through those activities, it will also be a place where our veterinary students can learn more about how to recognize and accurately diagnose the causes of lameness in horses, and provide their future clients with the best treatment options."

Built in 1998, the original facility includes a high-speed treadmill and a computerized force plate system--two invaluable tools for detecting and diagnosing equine lamenesses. The center's new features will include:

  • A paved indoor runway that will allow clinicians and students to conduct examinations on a smooth, even surface 365 days of the year. Besides its diagnostic value, the runway will be used for teaching demonstrations and lameness-oriented research;
  • A permanent longing arena that's critical for the accurate diagnosis and detection of many subtle unilateral or bilateral lameness issues in horses. The arena will also become a focal point for horse handling labs, teaching demonstrations, and continuing veterinary education seminars; and
  • A multipurpose area with two semi-permanent restraint stocks that will provide a safe, secure place for faculty and students to undertake physical examinations and various technical procedures that are performed daily by equine clinicians.

Ryan and Dubé's previous contributions to the veterinary college include a $1.07-million gift to the College's equine and companion animal health programs. They also created a matching gift incentive program in 2006 that has helped raise more than $450,000 for equine health research at the WCVM in the past four years.

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