other school at the University. It receives more money from the state than any other branch of the University, but it also provides the state with needed programs and research in agriculture. Approximately 45 percent of the school's annual budget comes from state funds. According to Veterinary School Dean Edwin Andrews, if the proposed budget cuts are approved and no new money is appropriated in coming years, the Vet School could be closed in five years, and the New Bolton Center could be closed earlier. "We could fire the entire faculty and still not make up the cuts," Andrews said after Caseey's proposed cuts were announced. The faculty at the center are worried about the funding problems, but most say the New Bolton Center is not going to close in the near future. "This is a particularly difficult year," said Charles Ramberg, director of the Center for Animal Health and Productivity. "Our problems reflect those of higher education." In the short-run, the University is planning on running a $6.7 million deficit, over $4 million of which will cover the cuts to the Vet School so that administrators will not be forced to make drastic cuts this year. · Although a dark cloud of fiscal uncertainty hangs over the center, work continues on the bucolic campus. Although the majority of classes covering large animals are taught by the Vet School in Philadelphia, students receive hands-on training with the large animals at the center. Most third-year students take part in an eight-week training program with large animals at the center, and then students interested in practicing large-animal medicine begin clinical rotations at the start of their fourth year. The students live at the center, many in an 18th-century Swedish farm house the University renovated to be used as a dorm, a guest house and a conference center. Many of the animal facilities and programs at the center are unique and state-of-the-art. Because it is often a last resort for critically ill animals, the center remains at the forefront of veterinary medicine. The most world-renowned facility at the center is its unique recovery pool. Opened in 1983, the pool has saved the lives of hundreds of horses. Twelve feet deep and 16 feet in diameter with a water temperature of 84 degrees, the pool is used to help large animals recover after surgery. When a horse is waking from anesthesia, it may become disoriented and begin thrashing its powerful limbs because its first instinct is to try to stand. On many occasions, a horse recovering from surgery can hurt itself or wipe out the benefits of the surgery by re-breaking a bone. In some cases, the horse's violent actions lead to its own death. The New Bolton Center's unique pool is the solution to this problem that has plagued veterinarians for years. The animal, while still under anesthesia, is placed in a custom-made inner tube with long leg holes in the water. When the horse begins to wake up, it can thrash as much as it wants in the water without hurting himself because the water provides resistance. An attendant wearing a crash helmet is constantly with the animal in the pool. About 50 pool recoveries are performed each year. The Center also has a first-of-its-kind intensive care unit, modeled on a human ICU unit. Complete with peach-colored walls and piped-in music, the unit provides a calm environment for the ill animals. Each individual stall also includes heated floors, an emergency alarm system, a high-pressure cleaning system and padded walls. The unit is divided into two sections; one for adult animals and one for newborns. The adult section has six stalls while the neonatal section can hold seven foals and three mares. In the neonatal section, mother animals and their babies must be separated so the mare doesn't harm her sick foal. The mare, however, can constantly see her foals over the four-foot door separating the two. The ICU definitely does not resemble a typical barn. "We try to keep it looking more like a hospital than like a stable," said ICU supervisor Patty Creamer. "For patient care, it is the ultimate." According to Creamer, the survival rate for the animals is excellent and the most difficult problem the staff encounters is caring for premature foals. The ICU unit took five years to complete and opened last spring. All the funding for the center came from private donations. The unit is a prototype for large animal intensive care units, and other veterinary schools have consulted the center for advice in building their own large animal ICU. According to Creamer, the most unique patient the ICU has treated was a 2000 pound pet yak with cancer. Another unique facility at the center is its monorail system for transporting large animals from the operating table. The "transportation system" runs from the operating rooms to the intensive care unit and the recovery pool. Horses and other large animals are lifted and carried 14 feet in the air in nylon-mesh slings. The system can carry a 1100 pound animal. The main hospital provides routine care and 24-hour emergency services for large animals. The hospital includes diagnostic and treatment rooms, three surgery suites, hospital barns and isolation barns for animals with infectious diseases. The majority of the equipment is modeled after human medical equipment and custom-made for large animals. Surgery rooms are complete with huge operating tables and portable ultra-sound equipment. During operations, the veterinarians dress in "greens" and wear masks while the horse is completely draped. The entire procedure closely resembles human surgery. Also, anyone wishing to visit a patient has to come at specified visiting hours. The newest project completed at the center is the facilities for the Center for Animal Health and Productivity. The new building houses staff who develop herd health and preventative medicine from an economical point of view. The veterinarians develop programs for food-producing animals. The emphasis is on a group of animals not an individual animal. Other facilities at the center include the Sports Medicine Outpatient Clinic and a fertility center for horses that performs embryo transfers in performance horses. The center also goes to outlying farms to treat patients. A field service center provides routine health care and emergency service to approximately 15,000 local farms. The field service is even equipped with its own large animal ambulance for emergency calls. In addition to designing one-of-a-kind facilities, veterinarians at the New Bolton Center are constantly developing unique procedures and programs for large animal medicine. The Center's developments in foal medicine have been especially important. Researchers at the Center have borrowed human medicine theories to apply to sick foals. For example, researchers at the center were the first to use the same drug given to premature babies on premature foals. The drug facilitates breathing in the small horses, who are too young to breath on their own. In addition, by using the same theory as in human medicine, the researchers of New Bolton use amniocentesis on mares who have difficult pregnancies. Initially the procedure was very dangerous to the unborn foal, and University researchers searched for a safer method. While doing so, the researchers discovered that during pregnancy, horses have two outer fluid sacs, not just one as in humans. The staff at the center forms an integral group that acts like teachers for students, doctors for patients and researchers on the forefront of veterinarian medicine. The doctors at the hospital includes internists, cardiologists, orthopedic and soft tissue surgeons, pathologists, nutritionists, radiologists and reproductive specialists. In addition, the nurses are trained animal technicians. The University works together with Harcum Junior College to train animal nurses. The animal nursing students practice internships at the University's small animal hospital and at the large animal hospital at the Center. Each student goes through a 13-week program with the University. Many of the trained nurses then come to work at the University's animal hospitals.Comments powered by Disqus
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