Building The Equine Orthopaedic Center

Building plans for construction of the worldâs first Equine Orthopaedic Research Center are underway, and work on the 12,000-square-foot building is scheduled to begin no later than Jan. 1, 2001, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo.

A gift of more than $600,000 from Herbert A. Allen and Gail Holmes of Longmont, Colo., along with numerous private donations -- many from the horse industry -- completed the $1-million initial funding needed to begin work. Fundraising efforts for the additional amount to complete the $5-million complex will continue through private gifts and foundation grants.

Research conducted at the current Equine Orthopaedic Research Laboratory has not only benefitted the horse, but also has changed the way many human orthopedic surgeons treat their patients as well. The new center will be devoted to conducting research of orthopedic problems occurring in equine and human athletes.

The Center will feature a 32-stall horse care facility, a visitor unit, and full equine surgical facilities. Horses will have outdoor runs and a separate commons paddock for exercise space.

"This has long been a dream of ours, and we are excited at finally seeing it become a reality," said Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, Director of Equine Sciences and Director of Orthopaedic Research at Colorado State. "The purpose of this facility is twofold: to better serve animals and humans through research into the prevention, treatment, and finding a possible cure for osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal injuries in the equine athlete."

"This new addition to our existing facility will expand our ability to provide state-of-the-art care for horses based on the most recent research, while still utilizing conventional treatment modalities available at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital," said David Frisbie, DVM, PhD, Manager of the current Equine Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, which will be undergoing renovation and expansion.

According to CSU studies, diseases related to the musculoskeletal system -- more than any other condition -- are responsible for more horses not being able to perform as they should.

The goal of research carried out at the Equine Orthopaedic Research Laboratory is to use state-of-the-art techniques to define new methods to treat joints that are already damaged, and to identify new methods of detecting disease, as well as potentially prevent permanent damage before it occurs.

Under the direction of McIlwraith, three full-time senior scientists -- Clark Billinghurst, DVM, PhD, Frisbie, and Chris Kawcak, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS -- plus a group of technicians, graduate students, and collaborating faculty members in the colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, and Agricultural Sciences, will perform research in the facility.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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