Earlier this month, Al Shaqab wrapped up the Longines Global Champions Tour by staging its finale. While the audience celebrated the world’s top show jumpers, we wanted to highlight some of the other stars - specifically those who ensure the horses are well taken care of!
These are the members of the Equine Veterinary Medical Center (EVMC).
The EVMC is a state-of-the-art equine referral center. It’s equipped with the most modern imaging equipment to serve all kinds of needs that horses may have. With over 50 employees from all over the world, the EVMC specializes in a range of services: from surgery and medicine to reproduction, anesthesia, and pathology. It has veterinary nurses, dental and lab technicians, farriers and grooms! The hospital can accommodate more than 40 in-patient horses.
The Podiatry Shop is where all the horses in Al Shaqab come to get their feet trimmed and their shoes put on. It’s where horseshoes are fabricated and tailor-made to suit each horse’s needs. The shop is responsible for therapeutic foot care in cases ranging from correct foals with crooked legs to post-surgical supportive shoeing needs. However, treatment isn’t limited to traditional steel horseshoes. In the case of some lameness problems, horses need specialized hoof care, which EVMC provides through specialized farriers who use a variety of materials like plastics, silicones, and adhesives to provide additional care and treatment! In addition to servicing the therapeutic foot care needs of horses, the Podiatry Department has developed a Farrier Training Academy that trains local and regional farriers in this important aspect of equine health and welfare.
This is where some of the surgical procedures actually take place, especially those that don’t require general anesthesia. The horse is sedated standing up, which allows for certain types of fracture repairs, wound repairs, and sinus surgeries, as well as other treatment. Laparoscopy - a type of keyhole surgery - allows minimally invasive surgeries to be performed on standing sedated horses, for procedures such as the removal of ovaries and retained abdominal testes.
The lab is an integral part of EVMC, as it’s at the forefront of initiating research collaborations with national and international organizations that put the equine center on its path to achieving sustainability in veterinary services and animal wellbeing in Qatar. On a smaller and more day-to-day scale, the labs allow for a disease management strategy, to achieve the optimum health and wellbeing of horses and to reduce long-term financial implications. A wide variety of services including Clinical Biochemistry, Parasitology, Microbiology, and Immunology are offered at the lab, along with stem cell and tissue culture, blood & colostrum banking, and postmortem.
This is the Intensive Care Unit for the horses. The hospital barn has 20 rubber-floor box stalls, of which two are fully padded and equipped with hoists for managing horses with complex neurological disease or fractures. It has boxes that allow the mare and foal to be separated for treatment, while still allowing for the contact needed between mother and child. There are facilities that allow for bone scans, isolation units for horses with contagious diseases, and even automatic horse-walkers that encourage physiotherapy for the horses.
EVMC started tending to Al Shaqab’s horses in July 2018, and has been gradually expanding its caseload since. The anticipated official opening is planned for Spring 2019, which is when the center will open its doors to the public and offer its services to all horses in Qatar! For more on the center, check out Al Shaqab’s website here.