Equine Medical Center Celebrates 30 Years of Innovation and Care, Future Comes into Focus
Thirty years ago, Virginia became home to one of the first university equine veterinary hospitals in the eastern U.S. to concentrate exclusively on equine medicine and research.
In 1984, Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) opened its doors in Leesburg, Virginia, right in the heart of Virginia’s horse country. A campus of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, the facility has since treated approximately 55,000 horses.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the EMC has provided local access to such pioneering treatments and technologies as laser and laparoscopic surgery, nuclear scintigraphy, and regenerative medicine.
The center also featured the first biosafety isolation unit, high-speed treadmill, and standing MRI in the region. Research faculty at the center have played key roles in the development of pharmaceutical treatments for gastric ulcers, as well as advances in laser surgery, joint disease and treatments for lameness, colic, tendon and ligament injury, and antibiotic therapy.
“The EMC has brought world-class medical treatment to the region and groundbreaking medical research to the world,” said interim director Dr. Michael Erskine, a board-certified equine veterinarian who practices in Mt. Airy, Maryland. “But as successful as its past has been, we’re even more excited about what the center has to offer the regional equine community today and in the future.”
Based on recent customer feedback and a major facility-wide assessment, several initiatives to enhance future medical capabilities and customer service are underway or planned. On the medical side, the center is preparing to offer the region’s first equine CAT scan services and is continuing its pioneering stem cell research to treat joint and tissue injuries.
On the customer service side, the center has implemented a Dedicated Case Coordinator Program to facilitate communications between referring veterinarians, horse owners, and EMC medical staff. In addition, a new Health Care Financing Program will offer options to help horse owners meet medical expenses.
The EMC will continue to offer its popular “Tuesday Talks” program at the facility. The talks, which are open to the public, have addressed such topics as sports medicine and lameness; advances in holistic equine medicine; equine arthritis; equine dental disease; and advances in diagnosis and treatment of tendon and ligament injuries.
For area veterinarians, the center will provide free opportunities to earn Continuing Education Units to help meet ongoing educational requirements.
The center held a Client Appreciation Day on Saturday, Oct. 4 where clients and their guests enjoyed tours of the facility, met the nationally-known veterinarians and researchers, and learned about the latest advances in preventative and emergency medical treatments.
The 30th year celebration will also include an invitation-only event on Oct. 11 to honor the recipient of the center's third "Distinguished Service Award." The award was established in 2007 to recognize individuals who have provided leadership and expertise to help the equine medical center attain a higher level of achievement in service, teaching, and research.
Written by Sherrie Whaley and Kellie Boyle