New equine treadmill facility a research, evaluation resource

May 15, 2002

LEESBURG, Va., May 15, 2002--The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center has introduced an exciting new diagnostic service for the regional horse community by opening the James P. Mills Diagnostic Treadmill Building.

Similar in concept if not in scale to a human treadmill, the high-speed equine diagnostic unit, capable of operating at speeds up to 60 miles per hour, will be used to evaluate a horse's respiratory, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal functions under vigorous exercise.

New research capabilities made possible by the high-speed treadmill facility will also boost the university-affiliated equine hospital's capability as a biomedical research institution.

The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, located in Leesburg, Virginia, is one of three campuses operated by the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, a two-state professional school with major campus facilities at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. The Equine Medical Center offers 24-hour emergency referral service along with surgical, medical and diagnostic services.

While the horse is working on the treadmill, a video endoscope may be used to visually examine the patient's upper airway to diagnose respiratory problems not evident at rest. One of the distinctive design features of the James P. Mills Diagnostic Treadmill Building is a structural arrangement which will allow up to five video cameras to be positioned around or over the horse. These cameras will be used to document and analyze subtle gait problems. Information related to heart, respiration, and gait also will provide useful data for clinical research projects.

The 2,800 square foot building is heated and air conditioned so that horses exercise in a controlled environment while diagnostic tools are in use.

Money used to construct the new facility was donated by the private sector. The building is named in honor of founding Council Member James P. Mills, a noted horseman and breeder who was a leader in achieving early diagnostic advances at the center. Several fund-raising initiatives have been undertaken in recent years to support the treadmill building and equipment.

"Horse owners have worked hard to make this new facility a reality, and I know they will be excited by the opportunities it will create," said Dr. G. Frederick Fregin, the Jean Ellen duPont Shehan Professor and Director of the Center. "Opening this service allows us to offer a critical, systematic approach to understanding the pathogenesis, response to treatment, and possible prevention of well documented equine problems faced by the industry."
-end-
Contact at the Equine medical center:: Ann Nadjar, anadjar@vt.edu, 703-771-6843

PR contact for the college: Jeffrey S. Douglas, jdouglas@vt.edu, 540-231-7911

Dr. Fregin, center director, can be reached at 703-771-6800 or gfregin@vt.edu

Virginia Tech

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