In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Virginia Tech's Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center recently hosted a major open house. Approximately 500 visitors turned out to gain a first-hand look at how the center provides high-quality health care services for all ages and breeds of horses.

“Our 25th anniversary open house was by far the largest ever presented in the history of the [equine medical center],” noted Dr. Nat White, the Jean Ellen Shehan Professor and director of the center. “Visitors had an opportunity to learn a great deal about horses and about modern veterinary healthcare. I’m also proud of the fact that our guests were able to get a glimpse of the teamwork and professionalism that our faculty and staff bring to their duties here at the center every day.”

Visitors to the center were able to witness a variety of demonstrations on live horses, including equine dentistry, acupuncture, endoscopy, and ultrasound. As visitors viewed horses running on the center’s high-speed treadmill, for example, they learned how this diagnostic tool can help identify equine cardiac and respiratory problems. Equine “surgeries” were conducted on stuffed toy ponies instead of real horses during the event, but they helped visitors realize the many similarities between veterinary surgery and human surgery.

In addition, visitors learned how foals are cared for at the hospital, how radiographs (x-rays) are taken, what they show, and how the center’s resident blood donor horses contribute to equine health care as needed. The equine medical center’s equine ambulance, the only vehicle of its kind in Virginia, was also on display at the event.

Offerings at the open house also included informative sessions on “Recognizing and Treating Colic,” which were presented by White. Dr. Jacque Pelzer, director of admissions and student services at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, presented a lecture entitled: “So You Want to be a Veterinarian?” Her presentation included a variety of tips designed to help aspiring veterinarians prepare a more competitive application for veterinary college.

A number of special guests also brought their horses to the center so visitors could learn more about some of the jobs that horses can do. Seven of the U.S. Army’s Caisson Platoon and Therapeutic Riding Program horses were on hand, and an injured soldier demonstrated the therapeutic value of horseback riding. In addition, a miniature horse named Bo performed a series of tricks and learned behaviors upon commands from his owner. A massive Clydesdale draft horse named Forrest was particularly popular with visitors as a result of his size, beauty, and calm demeanor. Children who attended the open house were also able to interact with an older pony named Silver.

Equine-related information was available at booths manned by representatives from the Virginia Pony Club as well as Virginia Tech’s Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension (MARE) Center, which is part of Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The director of the Northern Virginia Community College’s veterinary technician program provided information on that two-year schedule of courses, and authors who had written equine-themed books autographed and sold their volumes. An artist, who has done many horse-themed oil paintings, had her art on display within the center’s lobby.

Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center is a premier full-service equine hospital located in Leesburg, Va., that offers advanced specialty care, 24-hour emergency treatment and diagnostic services for all ages and breeds of horses. One of three campuses that comprise the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, the center and its team of equine specialists are committed to providing exceptional treatment to patients, superior service to clients and cutting-edge research to the equine industry.

For more information, visit the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center’s website.

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