News & Events

November 2011 Newsletter

Dr. Nat White Last month, we marked our 27th year of providing specialty veterinary care and emergency services for horses in the mid-Atlantic region. Throughout our history, countless horse owners and friends have given their time, talent, and resources to enhance our efforts and ensure that our horses receive the best possible care. We recently lost two of our longtime Council members and friends, Jean Ellen duPont Shehan and J. William "Billy" Abel-Smith. Through their gifts and their decades of dedication to our cause, they have left a legacy that impacts every horse that comes to the Equine Medical Center. The range of services we provide and the excellence that we deliver every day are possible because of their generosity and unwavering commitment to our mission.

As all horse enthusiasts know, special horses can also leave a lasting impact. Marcus, one of our equine blood donors, passed away in August at the age of 33. For ten years, he provided life-saving liters of blood to his fellow horses in emergency situations. He was beloved by our staff and is deeply missed by all who knew him.

A hospital like the Equine Medical Center requires a high caliber team to remain the resource for the most current medical knowledge. Recently, our faculty have been traveling throughout the region, consulting and sharing their expertise with fellow veterinarians and horse owners. We are dedicated to this part of our mission to serve as a resource for all aspects of the horse industry. We want this to be our legacy, as it was for Jean Ellen. We won't forget our beginning while we focus on our future.

This e-newsletter provides a new way of bringing you the latest information about our hospital services and research program. Our website and Facebook page are also sources of information about our services and activities. I welcome your feedback at .


Nat White, Director

In This Issue

Featured Stories

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

(Left to Right) Former Virginia Tech President William Lavery, former Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation Trustee Leonard T. Scully, Senator John Warner, Mrs. Jean Ellen duPont Shehan, University of Maryland President Dr. John Toll and Dr. G. Frederick Fregin cut the ribbon at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center's dedication ceremony in October 1984.

Jean Ellen duPont Shehan, 1923-2011

Jean Ellen was a visionary and a committed champion of the Equine Medical Center. Her foresight in founding the advisory Council in 1989 and her efforts to engage the private sector transformed our programs and helped us set new standards for equine health care. She was dedicated to all three of our missions and realized the value of improving horse health through education. She understood the benefit of having medical services for horses at an institution that is dedicated to education.

For more than 20 years, her counsel and spirit were instrumental in expanding her aunt Marion duPont Scott's legacy. She provided critically important endowment funds in our early years. Very likely, the Equine Medical Center would have been closed in 1991 if not for Jean Ellen's diligent attention to the EMC's finances and her challenge to the private sector to maintain it as a center of excellence. She initiated a fundraising campaign and matched the total personally; that sum of money enabled us to maintain critical personnel for our 24/7 emergency services.

Her philanthropy has touched every corner of the hospital. She endowed the Jean Ellen Shehan Professor and Director position that has been held by Drs. Fred Fregin and Nat White. She gave gifts for the EMC's research effort, emergency medicine services, and endowment accounts. She helped us purchase key pieces of biomedical equipment, created tributes in our Memorial Garden, and underwrote the renovation of the room commemorating her aunt Marion.

Jean Ellen duPont Shehan

In 2005, the EMC Council honored Jean Ellen duPont Shehan for her extraordinary service to the Center.

We, along with countless horse owners in this region, owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude for her tireless efforts on behalf of the Center.

In 1995, Jean Ellen was inducted into the veterinary college's John N. Dalton Society, the school's highest honor. The Dalton Society, named after the late Virginia governor who signed the legislation that created the school, honors individuals who have provided distinguished service to the college and the veterinary profession. Read the College of Veterinary Medicine's tribute to Jean Ellen duPont Shehan.

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J. William "Billy" Abel-Smith, 1933-2011

Billy, a member of our Council since 1992, was an astute businessman with exceptionally high standards and great attention to detail in everything he did. Together with his wife, Mimi, Billy understood the value of the Equine Medical Center to the horse community. He was instrumental in securing funding for the installation of our high speed treadmill in 2001 and presided over the dedication ceremony naming the treadmill building for his father-in-law, James P. Mills. The treadmill, one of the first in the region at the time of its installation, greatly advanced our diagnostic capabilities for upper airway disorders and cardiovascular abnormalities.

Billy Abel-Smith

Former Dean Peter Eyre (left) and Billy Abel-Smith unveil the plaque dedicating the EMC's treadmill building.

Billy also worked on behalf of the Center to garner philanthropic support for our molecular research laboratory, which opened in 2008. The laboratory enables our faculty researchers to expand the frontiers of equine medicine and conduct translational research that benefits the horses in our hospital.

Billy deeply understood the spirit and importance of philanthropy. His diligence and generosity have ensured a lasting legacy that will continue to benefit horses for years to come.

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Website updates

In an effort to provide horse owners and veterinarians with information about our clinical services, we recently updated our clinical service pages. The new web pages contain photos, downloadable horse health information, and an overview of our specialty services. We will continue to update these pages as new information becomes available.

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2011-2012 Tuesday Talks

The schedule of Tuesday Talks for 2011-2012 has been announced and is also available on our website:

  • December 6, 2011: "Foaling Emergencies," by Dr. James Brown
  • January 10, 2012: "What Is Making My Horse Stumble? – Diagnosis for the Neurologic Horse," by Dr. Martin Furr
  • February 21, 2012: "Equine Strangles: The Problem That Just Won't Go Away," by Dr. Harold McKenzie
  • March 13, 2012: "Is Your Horse Off Behind? - Diagnosing and Treating Hind Limb Lamenesses," by Dr. Nat White

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Faculty news

  • Congratulations to Drs. Anne Desrochers, Harold McKenzie, Ken Sullins, and Nat White for being identified by their peers as being among the top vets in Virginia
  • Dr. James Brown received the BEVA Trust Peter D. Rossdale Open Award 2011 for a journal article he co-authored entitled "Risk factors for exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage in Thoroughbred racehorses"
  • Dr. Anne Desrochers recently gave a lecture on cardiac disease and a demonstration on cardiac ultrasound to veterinary technicians at the Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners' symposium
  • Dr. Jennifer Barrett offered three continuing education seminars on lameness, joint disease, and regenerative medicine at a veterinary conference in West Virginia last month and gave a lecture on the current status of regenerative medicine at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons' meeting in Chicago
  • Dr. Nat White participated in a panel discussion on the 2011 Colic Research Symposium at the recent meeting of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in Chicago
  • Dr. Ken Sullins taught a wetlab course on advanced equine laser surgery for equine practitioners during the American College of Veterinary Surgeons' meeting

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Marcus donated 230 liters of blood to his fellow equines in critical care situations.

Marcus, 1978-2011

We sadly announce the recent passing of Marcus, one of our blood donor horses. Marcus spent his life in service of men and his fellow horses, first as a member of the US Army Caisson unit and then as a blood donor at the EMC.

Blood transfusion is a potentially life-saving procedure for horses suffering from hemorrhagic shock resulting from trauma, laceration, or hemolytic crisis. There is no substitute for whole blood in these circumstances, so it must be collected from cross-matched donor horses. In ten years as a blood donor, Marcus donated 230 liters of blood for 39 transfusions. He was retired from blood donor duty in 2008 and spent his final years happily grazing with his friends Mac, Jerry, and Rabo in a 20-acre field on our grounds.

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