Equine Hospital Tour at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center


Equine Hospital Tour Script
June 2013 Welcome to the recently expanded and renovated
Equine Hospital at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center. Each year, more
than 1000 horses travel to Tennessee for medical treatment and rehabilitation. Clients pull their trailers through the automated
gates to a secure, covered paddock for unloading. The rubberized floor covering this area offers
a high-traction non-slip surface even when wet for maximum patient safety. This provides
access to the equine hospital and the Equine Performance and Rehabilitation Center. Patients
are registered in the Client Receiving area just beyond the gate to the right.
Our client receiving area offers a home and hearth experience where clients can relax
in a stress-free environment while our specialists attend to their animals. Here clients have
access to Wi-Fi, hot and cold beverages and fresh fruit.
Our board-certified equine specialists, along with a veterinary medical resident or intern,
senior veterinary students and a licensed veterinary technician examine the patient
in a dedicated examination rooms. The equine hospital houses a hyperbaric oxygen
therapy chamber which increases oxygen levels in the tissues. HBOT enhances healing of difficult
to cure conditions. Equine patients having a contagious disease
are housed separately from our hospitalized patients. The isolation and disease containment
facility is completely segregated from the rest of the hospital, has a separate air-handling
system and is accessed by a “clean corridor.” Each of the five separate isolation suites
as well as the treatment room has an outer door so the animals never enter the general
hospital. The Charles and Julie Wharton Equine Intensive
Care Unit includes dedicated facilities for critically ill patients segregated from the
general hospital population. These patients are under constant observation and receive
the highest and most intensive levels of care possible. The ICU provides specially-designed
stalls for managing recumbent and neurologically-compromised patients and has a separate, dedicated equine
neonatal ward for intensive care of compromised foals or debilitated dams. specialized induction and recovery stalls
complement four dedicated surgical theatres: abdominal and colic surgery, soft tissue surgery,
orthopedic surgery and standing surgery. The dedicated rooms facilitate premium surgery
for highly specialized procedures such as minimally invasive, orthopedic, upper airway,
ophthalmologic, and abdominal surgeries. In addition to radiographs, ultrasound, and
nuclear medicine, the John and Ann Tickle Diagnostic Imaging Center at the UT Veterinary
Medical Center now offers large animal imaging with a new 40-slice multidetector spiral CT
and 1.5 Tesla MRI. Board certified radiologists ensure the highest quality of imaging available
in the region. The newly added Equine Performance and Rehabilitation
Center adds a unique dimension to the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of horses. A
wide variety of conditions benefit from rehabilitation including muscle atrophy, tendon and ligament
injuries, orthopedic injury, and wounds. The center operates under the direct supervision
of board-certified specialists Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and veterinary surgery.
The Equine Performance and Rehabilitation Center has a special cushioned flooring system
throughout the center and dedicated stalls for horses undergoing rehabilitation, conditioning,
and stem cell therapy. The lameness diagnostic area includes a full-size
arena with dust-free flooring that allows specialists to examine horses under performance
conditions. Advanced technology such as a dynamic endoscope system and lameness locator
system allow precise diagnosis of previously undetectable conditions. Horses can be evaluated
on hard and soft surfaces in a controlled environment.
The in-ground underwater treadmill provides resistance and buoyancy for horses—reducing
the amount of weight the tendons, muscles and bones sustain during rehabilitation or
athletic performance conditioning. Clinicians use a free walker to provide unrestricted,
untethered exercise for horses resulting in a more natural gait. Horses quickly acclimate
to the free walker, which can attain speeds up to 25 miles per hour.
Cold salt water therapy is used to treat laminitis and speed healing of wounds. The horse can
be submerged up to chest-height in chilled salt water which can also be used as a whirlpool
and deliver hydrotherapy treatment for a variety of problems including lower limb wounds, swelling,
laminitis and circulatory problems. The solarium and ultraviolet therapy unit
provides dry heat for muscular injuries of the back. Ultraviolet light can be administered
to simulate sunlight therapy during winter convalescence and for some injuries.
The Equine Performance and Rehabilitation Center also houses a fully equipped podiatry
center staffed by a certified journeyman farrier. Working with our specialists, the expert farrier
provides advanced corrective trimming and shoeing. Sophisticated therapeutic shoes,
hospital plates and tendon support devices are fitted to the individualized needs of
each patient. The Equine Performance Rehabilitation Center
is designed to enable horses to return to their greatest level of exercise or performance
and ultimately improve their lives and the lives of their owners. Our specialists are
now able to conduct clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of therapies and document
the science behind the treatment. Knowledge, compassion and discovery are interwoven
at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine—1 of only 28 veterinary
colleges in the country and the only academic veterinary medical center in the state. While
helping the university fulfill its land grant mission, we set the standards of care in the
profession and expose our students—future generations of veterinarians—to the breadth
of veterinary medicine.


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