Uplifting Applications for UC Davis Large Animal Lift

John Madigan, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, professor of medicine and epidemiology and section chief of equine medicine at the University of California, Davis, developed the UC Davis Large Animal Lift (LAL) with colleagues over the last several years. He reported on the lift's applications and success stories in its first months of use at the 2006 AAEP Convention, and called the lift "a necessary piece of equipment for every large animal practice."

After 20 months in service, the LAL has been used on 17 horses in the UC Davis clinic. These horses were recumbent (down) for a variety of reasons, including West Nile virus, hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), myopathy (any muscle disorder), and spinal trauma. The time period from recumbency to lifting using the LAL was anywhere from four hours to 14 days. Of the horses lifted, 10 were discharged and seven were euthanatized, and Madigan referred to these outcomes as "way better than I would have thought."

Madigan explained that the lift was developed because of the difficulty of getting a down horse on her feet. In many instances veterinarians were left with no option but to euthanatize a horse that could have been treated if the veterinarian could get it standing. "The Anderson sling is great for upright horses, but is very hard to get on a down horse," Madigan said.

"I got tired of putting down horses who couldn't stand up, and wondering if they would do a lot better if they could stand up," Madigan said.

The UC Davis LAL can be put on a down horse by one person, working from the back of the horse (rather than having to work near the legs), making it safer for both horse and handler. The fitting and lifting is well-tolerated by most horses, which means that very little sedation, if any, is necessary, making the horse's own efforts to stand easier. Madigan also reported that it was easy to transition from the LAL to an Anderson sling for long-term care.

For more information on the UC Davis LAL see www.largeanimallift.com or www.TheHorse.com/emag.aspx?id=6517.  

Get research and health news from the American Association of Equine Practitioners 2006 Convention in The Horse's AAEP 2006 Wrap-Up sponsored by OCD Equine. Files are available as free PDF downloads.

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care.

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