Equine Performance Centre
The Ryan/Dubé Equine Performance Centre is a focal point for equine clinical services, teaching and research at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre.
The original building, which was built in 1998, was recently expanded by nearly 1,000 sq. m. (10,600 sq. ft.). Reopened in 2012, the centre's new name recognizes Heather Ryan and L. David Dubé's longtime support for veterinary research and education at the WCVM.
The centre's resources
- A permanent longeing arena that is critical for accurate diagnosis and detection of many subtle unilateral or bilateral issues in horses. The arena is also used for horse handling labs, teaching demonstrations and continuing veterinary education seminars.
- An equine standing MRI unit allows medical imaging specialists to scan the equine foot and lower limb while the sedated horse is standing.
- A high-speed equine treadmill enables clinicians to conduct gait analysis, endoscopic evaluation of upper airway function and exercise performance profiling.
- An indoor paved runway allows clinicians and students to conduct examinations on a smooth, even surface 365 days of the year. The runway also is used for teaching labs and lameness-oriented research.
- A computerized force plate: Through force plate analysis, clinicians can detect differences between the front and hind limbs and differences between a horse's left and right sides due to lameness.
- A phantom for stallion collection as well as a laboratory for evaluating and processing equine semen.
- A multi-purpose area with a restraint stock that provides a safe, secure place for faculty and students to conduct physical examinations and various technical procedures.
- A farrier's room where local farriers can provide corrective trimming and shoeing services and hoof analysis for equine patients.
The Ryan/Dubé Equine Performance Centre's resources allow clinical teams to conduct a full evaluation of a lame horse in motion. Clinicians can also observe a horse's gait on soft and hard surfaces, and when it's under saddle, on a longe line or moving at liberty. As well, the centre is used to diagnose and treat other equine health issues such as respiratory disease, cardiac disorders, gastric conditions and behavioural problems.
The equine performance centre's resources complement the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre's existing diagnostic tools that include digital radiography, endoscopy, ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT) and nuclear scintigraphy.
Equine teaching and research
Besides clinical services, the expanded Ryan/Dubé Equine Performance Centre is used for a variety of activities:
- Training and continuing education: WCVM faculty and staff use the facilities to conduct teaching demonstrations and labs focused on horse handling, equine medical procedures and lameness diagnoses for veterinary students, graduate students and practicing veterinarians in Western Canada.
- Research: Equine researchers use the centre to investigate important health questions related to lameness (hoof and limb) issues, respiratory problems, cardiology, sports medicine, infectious diseases, gastric conditions, behaviour and more.
- Extension: The equine performance centre is the ideal venue for hosting equine health demonstrations, seminars and other events that are designed for western Canadian horse owners.