Brownie, a 17-year-old Shetland mare owned by Mrs. Sandra Crippen, the wife of the late Macks "Jack" Crippen, owner for many years of Reston Zoo (formally named Reston Animal Park), was brought to the Equine Medical Center by her farm manager Tom Schaaf with severe colic symptoms.
"Brownie has a long history of colic related to her reproductive cycle. On this particular occasion, I found Brownie in a lot of pain, throwing herself on the ground, and generally in a lot of distress," explained Tom. "We arrived at the center after our veterinarian Dr. Melinda Freckleton referred Brownie after it was clear that she could not be made comfortable at the farm. We were received by Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald and her support staff and Brownie was immediately assessed."
After an ultrasound was performed, it was suspected that Brownie was suffering from a granulosa cell tumor of one of her ovaries. The decision was made to perform a bilateral ovariectomy. Two weeks later, Brownie returned to the center and underwent a successful surgical procedure by Dr. James Brown, and returned home.
At Mrs. Crippen’s farm in Great Falls, Virginia, which a menagerie of animals call home, Brownie shares her field with five other Shetland ponies, a couple of which have also made the journey to the center for treatment. Tom has a great affinity and love for these special ponies and speaks very highly of the treatment that they have received at the center. He describes his experiences as "first class, red carpet treatment akin to a human hospital standard."
Interestingly, Tom’s brother is John Schaaf, a member of the first graduating class at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and now a veterinarian working out of his own practice in Mooresville, North Carolina.
Epic Arrival’s Story (The Million Dollar Horse)
Carol Good, a longtime resident of Philomont, Virginia, has ridden since the age of five, competing on the local horse show circuit, as well as in steeple chasing and flat racing.
Known to her friends as “Cookie,” she has owned and ridden a lot of horses over the years, but no horse has touched her heart as much as a 16.2 hand chestnut gelding named “Epic Arrival” (stable name “Eppie”). Also dubbed “The Million Dollar Horse” by his owner, Eppie was bred with the intention of being a show hunter, but his numerous medical issues meant that he never made it to the show ring, but instead spent a lot of time confined to his stall.
His checkered past began not long after he was born when he was referred to the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center by Carol’s veterinarian, Dr. Paul Diehl, for enteritis, inflammation of the intestine, indigestion, and colic in May 1996. Nine months later, he was admitted again for an umbilical hernia and to be castrated.
In February of 1997, surgery was performed to repair a fracture of the fourth metacarpal splint bone sustained during a ‘wild moment’ in his paddock. In June of 2006, Eppie’s real issues started when he was admitted to the center for chronic colic. Incredibly, he has had a total of three colic surgeries at the center, which he has managed to overcome. Now at the ripe old age of 19, he is living out his years at his home, Wind Swept Acres in Philomont, giving great pleasure to his loving owner.
Carol spoke candidly of her experiences, “I want to thank my primary care veterinarian of many years Dr. Paul Diehl and the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center for the collaborative care that has been pivotal to my horse’s survival. The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center is a wonderful place with dedicated and caring staff whom I credit for my horses continued well-being.”
A huge thank you to Dr. Jennifer Barrett and all the staff at EMC for their outstanding help in the treatment of my horse Aladdin. I just want to let you know he has made a full recovery from his injury and after I began jumping him again last summer he is back to competing over fences. This is fantastic, as my local vet's initial words to me when she saw his suspensory injury were "this type of injury in a hind leg is usually career ending for jumping horses." He went on to win Reserve Champion at the 2013 Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in the Half-Arabian Amateur Jumpers and a National Top Ten in the Half-Arabian Amateur Owner hunter over fences. It was always my goal after his injury to make it back to competing over fences at the national level. These were his first ribbons he has ever won at nationals after sitting out 2012 due to his injury and finishing just out of the ribbons in 3rd place in 2011.
I thank Dr. Barrett for her advice and encouragement to give him plenty of time to recover from his ligament injury. It certainly felt like forever while he was on stall rest and then rehabilitation but it certainly paid off. Here are some pictures of him competing this last year. Thanks again for your help and all the staff at the Equine Medical Center.
This is my horse Buck. In 2008 he suffered a laceration (approx. 1/2-3/4 of the way through) to his right hind superficial digital flexor tendon. I was devastated, this horse is my best friend and I have owned him for nearly 10 years. Prior to the injury Buck successfully competed in eventing/jumpers/hunters along with tons of trail miles. About six months into the injury my vet recommended that I take him down to the EMC to try stem cell treatment. I talked with Dr. Barrett and Buck became her first patient to try treatment on this type of injury. She couldn't guarantee that it would work but she was willing to give it a try and was hopeful that he would be able to be ridden again. The rehab was very slow and tedious but about a year after the injections I was able to sit and walk him around. Very slowly over the next two years I increased his work load. He started to perk up and was happy to be working again. About three years after the injury, I started cross rails (prior to the injury he jumped up to 4'6"). My old horse was coming back to life in front of my eyes. This picture was taken in the summer of 2011 at his first jumper show back after the injury. He won both classes and champion for the division. I could not be happier with the results or the care that was given from the staff. Last summer I evented him successfully and the spark was back in his eyes. We both grinned from ear to ear. I send a heartfelt "thank you" to the staff and Dr. Barrett!
Shirley's Sweet Smile's Story
It seemed like for Princess' first foal, Shirley's Sweet Smile whatever could have gone wrong with her entry into the world did go wrong! From our not knowing that Princess was even pregnant until six weeks before delivery (that's another story!), to the fact that Princess did not have any milk, to the fact that the filly was born with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (otherwise known as a "dummy foal"), the deck was stacked against this baby from the start. But, each and every one of her caregivers had the best interests of this mom and baby at heart, and all along the way, when additional services were needed, each person acted on that. Dr. Stevens, for instance, knew we needed to go to the EMC so that Shirley could be fed. At the EMC, Shirley was a "mat baby," but I am convinced that the human interaction and care she received from everyone made the difference in her recovery. The veterinary staff at the EMC was tremendous in providing regular and complete information; those updates were so reassuring. Truly, this is a miracle baby, and I'm so relieved and pleased with the outcome. I love these horses dearly and am delighted that they are still with me.
Only Blue Bling's Story
I had only owned my beautiful horse, "Only Blue Bling," for three weeks before she suffered severe lacerations to her right hind leg while being transported in a trailer without leg wraps when she was in the Midwest at a training facility. She was treated by veterinarians in Wauconda, Illinois, and also underwent surgery and extensive rehab there, so we thought shed be good to go back into training. Unfortunately, she must not have fully healed from the original injury, because, not long after she got here, she knuckled over at the fetlock and opened the skin overlying the fetlock joint. The wound was very extensive and unsightly. The wonderful family in Maryland that took over Blings training rushed her to the Equine Medical Center, and she was immediately taken to surgery to repair the extensive wound overlying her fetlock. Dr. Adams and Dr. Brown did a fantastic job with Bling and their amazing work is the reason shes back to the beautiful moving girl she once was! Now not quite a year later shes in full training and thriving! Im so grateful for the fabulous care Bling received at the EMC. And, as a television reporter, I must say I could not have scripted a better outcome!
View a video of Only Blue Bling to see how shes doing less than a year after her surgery.
Animal Advocate Correspondent, NBCs Today Show
New York, NY
Montana Kingotherwise affectionately known to us as Tanais by far the smartest, most versatile horse I have ever known and hes my best friend. Last spring, Tana got a new field matea high-spirited filly, who kicked him in the mouth and fractured his jaw. His teeth were actually hanging out of his mouth! Given the seriousness of the injury, our vet recommended we take Tana to the EMC, where Dr. James Brown assessed the fracture and outlined treatment options. The type of jaw fracture Tana had is typically repaired under general anesthesia, whichgiven Tanas elderly agewas a concern to us. Dr. Brown recommended standing fracture repair using sedation and local anesthesia, which is a relatively new approach to treating his condition. Remarkably, Tana had his first meal within hours and came home soon after. By the fall, he was back to trail riding and judge pleasure ridesjust as good as new. Tanas doing great and were all very appreciative of the gentle and expert care our special guy received from Dr. Brown and the rest of the EMC staff.
Fairfax Station, VA
We want to thank the entire staff at the Equine Medical Centerespecially Drs. Desrochers and Beebefor the outstanding care you provided to Frito. We cant tell you enough how much we appreciate everything you did. Your knowledge and diligent efforts turned a very dire situation into an astounding recovery. We are so impressed with the genuine caring and compassion displayed by you and the staff. It is quite evident that you are all truly committed to your mission of providing the best medical care for your patients. We also want to thank you for the exceptional communication you provided. It helped us immensely to be continually updated on Fritos condition and your planned course of treatment for his pneumonia. Needless to say, we are thrilled to have Frito back home and doing so well. Without your exceptional efforts, this would not be the case.
As a fifth-generation horse in our breeding program, Spydermann represented high hopes for competing nationally in dressage. But, as we were initiating his training as a yearling, we saw that hed occasionally stumble while on the lunge line. After our vet checked his basic health and found no problems, we were referred to the EMC. The clinicians there performed a thorough evaluation, which showed that two of his vertebrae were compressed. This meant the problem was neurological and would be exceedingly difficult to treat. Dr. Sullins counseled us about a very delicate surgical procedure that would offer about a 70-80% chance that Spydermann would improve. I actually watched them perform the procedure and I was extremely impressed with the precision and teamwork of the surgical team. Spydermanns fully recovered now, and hes performing incredibly wellso well that hell compete in the U.S. National Sport Horse competition next fall. Just as importantly, its very evident that hes happy now that he can do his job. Were extremely pleased with our experience at the EMC and were so glad to still have this special horse in our lives.
View a video of Spydermann to see how hes doing about eight months after his surgery.
Bob and Mary Rombs
Liberty Arabians, Ltd.
For years, many people knew me only as Rowdys Mom, but that was fine with me! Rowdy was my Missouri Fox Trotter with the most delightful personality you can imagine. Rowdy has had two bouts of colic that prompted our vet to refer us to the Equine Medical Center. Both times, Rowdy was treated with the best medical care available and he came out of both situations beautifully. During that time, many people wondered why I would go to the trouble and expense to have Rowdy treated, but I just knew I owed it to him because he always gave me 100%. Rowdys now 24 and living on a friends farm, where he still works as a teacher for kids from Loudoun County through a recreational outreach program ... hes always a hit! Hes still got that fantastic personality and the kids love him. Im grateful that the EMC was here for him when he needed expert medical treatment, and I feel good that I did what I could to see that he stayed with us. Its very gratifying to see him still working and contributing.
I want to express my sincere thanks to the staff of your facility. In May, 2009 we brought my sons horse, Apollo, to you with a lacerated deep digital flexor tendon. You performed surgery and he spent 10 days there; your staff worked with us after discharge to develop a rehabilitation program. My son drove 100 miles roundtrip each day to handwalk Apollo while he was on stall rest. Apollo started back under saddle at 5 minutes walking in September, 2009. On the doctors advice, my son slowly rehabilitated the horse throughout the winter. This photo is from a recent VHSA show where the pair competed in Childrens Hunter 26 to 29. I think you can see that Apollo had no trouble with the jumps and is heading to 3 in the near future. This will be higher than he jumped before the surgery! While I would never wish this experience on anyone, much good has resulted from it. I am so grateful that we have your facility available to us. The skill of your staff, the dedication of my son, and the strong will of Apollo have given us an experience of a lifetime. My son and Apollo are a tight team. Thank you!
St. Barths' Story
St. Barthsor Nikeis a wonderful horse owned by Richard Thompson. Nike was the last horse he and his wife, Vita, purchased together before, sadly, Vita passed away in 2008. Nike was doing well at training and preliminary events when, in the summer of 07, he started having issues in his hind end. One day he developed a high fever, so we rushed him to the Equine Medical Center for an emergency evaluation. Dr. Desrochers did a complete neurological exam and diagnosed him with EPM. He spent two weeks in the isolation unit on a course of treatment that included IV fluids and Marquis. He came home very skinny and wobbly; we couldn't ride him for 6 months. Eventually, we started ponying him, then riding him, and while I was at the Olympics last year, my student, Hannah Burnett, took him to his first event, 14 months after the illness started. They continued doing very well together, and he showed no trace of illness. In July, Hannah and Nike won the CIC** at Stuart Horse Trials! He's a very talented horse, and I'm grateful to the EMC for helping him get back in good health. We're very fortunate to have this facility so close to our farm.
The Plains, VA
Belle Etoiles Story
Belle Etoile was six days old when she was attacked by two dogs while in the paddock with her mother. She sustained severe lacerations to both hind legs and behind her front legs and she lost a large amount of blood. Within 20 minutes of her arrival at EMC, shed been X-rayed, her IV was started, oxygen was administered via a nasal catheter, and other supportive measures were taken. Three hours of tedious surgical repair followed and then she spent several days in ICU. Once she was home, she continued to recuperate well, and she recovered fully with only minimal scarring (considering the extent of her injuries). The treatment she received at EMC was outstanding; the staff was fully prepared to receive her when she arrived, and her stay in the hospital was marked by meticulous attention from everyonewhich extended to her owner as well. She is now a mature mare, has earned a few ribbons in Pleasure classes, and has no apparent residual effects for what was certainly a dreadful experience. Thank you, EMC.
Elizabeth R. Carmichael, MD
Perfect Timings Story
Perfect Timing or P.T. as I call him is just a great horse; hes a special member of our family. Unfortunately, a few years ago, P.T. was diagnosed with periocular sarcoids, which is a type of cancer. His were near his left eye. Our family vet worked to remove the cancerous growths, but they returned, so we were referred to the Equine Medical Center. We definitely had a few choices of where to go, but we had heard that the EMC was a good direction to take. We found that to be very good advice, because P.T. was treated there with great results. Dr. Sullins performed surgery on P.T. and also prescribed chemotherapy. While there were some complications, everything turned out fine. We were kept informed almost daily, which was very reassuring. We relate our experience with the EMC to others this way: we hope your horse never has this kind of problem, but if he does, dont hesitate to go to the Equine Medical Center.
One morning, Otis or Ottie, as we call him began exhibiting signs that he was in severe pain: he was trying to trot with his nose touching the ground and snaking his head from side to side. Also, he would repeatedly drop to the ground, roll, and get up again. A call brought our vet out to the farm, but the vet was not optimistic about Otties chances, given the amount of pain. We then took Ottie to the Equine Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with impaction colic. Because Dr. Barrett said he did not require surgery at the time, Ottie had his stomach pumped, was given mineral oil, and hooked up to multiple IVs. Weve never seen so many people so delighted to witness a horse pass feces! Four days later, Ottie came home, very happy to return to his buddies on the farm. All we can say is thank you to the vets and assistants at the EMC who with their amazing work saved our baby when his outlook on life was very bleak. Every time I look at my Ottie, Im so glad hes still with us. Words cannot express our gratitude to the clinicians and staff at the EMC.
Lydia and Ann Carpenter
Onyx gave us a good scare. One morning, he was not eating and had started to roll on the ground. After some initial treatments provided by our vet, we were advised that we should take Onyx to the Equine Medical Center to get some blood work and other exams done. We didnt get to the Center until 11 pm, but I got calls all through the night from the doctor, who kept us up to date on everything they learned from their tests, which indicated that Onyx had colic and needed surgery. Onyx came out of the surgery happy but groggy, and even though he had a few post-operative problems, he came through really well. He recently completed his green horse training and our daughter is looking forward to showing him in the local horse shows (he is beautiful!). While this was an emotional roller coaster for us, we are so pleased that with the great care he received at the Equine Medical Center he made a full recovery.
Port Republic, MD
Invite Moonlight was diagnosed with lameness from a bone cyst in her left front coffin bone ... obviously, not news a horse owner wants to receive! But, fortunately, the specialists at the Equine Medical Center offer a cutting-edge treatment plan that involves stem cells. The EMCs specialists collected a sample of Invite Moonlights bone marrow from which millions of stem cells were grown. The stem cells were injected into her coffin joint to help stimulate healing and provide pain relief. Throughout the treatment and recoverywhich only took a few monthswe and her trainer followed the EMCs medical advice to the letter. In almost no time, she was better and stronger than everI sometimes refer to her as bionic! Just recently, she placed in the top ten in the Senior Western Pleasure Division at the AQHA World Championship Show. Shes back into full training and will be participating extensively in this years show circuit. Her medical treatment at the EMC made a tremendous difference for her; we are thrilled with the results.
Jacks my best friend. So when the barn manager called to say she thought Jack was collicking, I was very concerned and asked her to call in our veterinarian. After giving Jack a sedative, the vet and I discussed Jacks care options: either wed go to the Equine Medical Center or wait a few hours to see if he would improve. Jack seemed to understand us: when he heard wait, he jerked his head up, looked at me with his expressive eyes, and started pawing. Even though he was sedated, he clearly did not want to wait! At the EMC, Jack was quickly and thoroughly examined and immediate surgery was recommended. Thats when I learned Jacks colic was far worse than we initially suspected. Fortunately, the procedure went well. It took a while for Jack to recover, but recover he did! Im very thankful to everyone at the Center for the incredible care and expeditious service they gave usnot only that day but in subsequent visits. Without them my best friend would not be here.
Pleasant Ridge Farm
Unfortunately, almost a year after Jack's colic surgery at the EMC, he suffered additional colic episodes that he was not able to survive. Rest in peace, Jack (a.k.a. Chapter Eleven; 3/17/94-4/17/09).
Dark Equations Story
Ive worked with Dark Equation for almost 2-1/2 years and hes always responded well to our training regimen. But not long ago, we noticed that his performance was just not up to par. We took him to the Equine Medical Center, where they ran him on their high-speed treadmill while performing an endoscopy. The results of that diagnostic procedure showed Dark Equation had some constriction in his airway passage. Within a couple of days, he underwent laser surgery on his soft palate and pharynx, and the restas they sayis history. Three months later, he managed a come-from-behind win, and took the Turf Writers Handicap in Saratoga Springs. He won by half a length and he brought in a huge purse, which was very gratifying for all of us. Dark Equation is a fantastic horse; hes got great heart and hes so strong. Clearly the surgery he underwent at the EMC helped him reach his full potential. And thats really what its all aboutfor horses, trainers, and owners.
We suspect A.J. was kicked while out in the pasture, which resulted in a fracture just above her left hock. Her injury worsened to the point where I knew she had to be taken to the Equine Medical Centereven though I had never visited the hospital before. From the minute we arrived at the EMC, everything went very, very well. A.J. was taken immediately for X-rays and examinations. Dr. Barrett told me the fracture was infected and that there were many small bone chips at the site. A.J. underwent a 2-1/2 hour standing surgical procedure, so she did not have to be completely anesthetized. I think the doctor pulled out a dozen or more miniscule pieces of bone! Im glad to report that A.J. has recouped just beautifully; shes now training to return to fox-hunting. Thank you, EMC, for your superb medical services and your friendly, helpful, cooperative staff. A.J. and I could not have been treated better.
Run Fox Run Farm