About 30 horses listen to opera as they munch on a breakfast of hay in an open, airy barn they share with the CSU recycling program.
These horses are all patients at the CSU Equine Orthopedic Research Program. Some of these horses, owned by CSU, are helping researchers learn about gene therapy to help arthritic horses. Some are wearing a new kind of horseshoe to reduce lameness.
By November, these horses will head over to a brand new barn in the new Gail Homes Equine Orthopedic Research Center where they will be housed in one of 30 individual, automatically temperature controlled stalls. Each stall also has a self-watering trough and a pest control system.
“They’re very nice,” said Katie Ruggle, the assistant director of development for the Orthopedic Research Center. “They were styled off of a Kentucky-style barn. The whole building is beautiful.”
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital site currently has about $11.9 million in projects underway, said Lance Perryman, the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences. Along with the Orthopedic Research Center, the Robert H. and Mary G. Flint Animal Cancer Center will be added to the site, a 35,000 square foot wing that wraps around the main VTH. Both are scheduled to open in November.
The Orthopedic Center will allow researchers to conduct the work they have been doing with state-of-the art equipment in a more efficient space, Ruggle said.
This way it’s all in one building. It’ll be very nice to have everything right there,” she said.
“It allows us to do things we weren’t able to, space-wise, before.”
Most of the work done at the Orthopedic Research Center will be research on horses CSU owns, but some studies are now using horses from the general public that have problems, said Heather Colhoun, the clinical trial coordinator for the Orthopedic Research Center.
The $1.8 million facility was funded primarily by private donations, said Ruggle. The biggest sum came from Gail Homes, for whom the Orthopedic Research Center is named.
The Cancer Center will provide more space for clinical care than the Orthopedic Research Center, but it will also be doing investigative studies.
“What we’re trying to do with the new building is get deeper,” said Steve Withrow, the director of the animal cancer research program. “It will not increase the case load but do a better job.”
The new center will take animal cancer care and research on campus to the next level, Withrow said, looking at prevention, not just treatment.
“It will increase our already very substantial ability to deliver first rate care to dogs and cats with cancer,” Perryman said.
The Cancer Center was funded by private donations and a $1 million government grant from the National Institutes of Health. The NIH is primarily interested in the translation of animal cancer care to humans, Withrow said, which is why the cancer program received the grant.
“The NIH grant is based on our potential to do good science,” Withrow said. “People want to see us cure cancer in people and animals. What we learn in the pets is certainly translatable to people. Cancer is cancer.”
The bulk of the money came from about 280 private donations from clients who were impressed by the work the center had been doing, Withrow said.
“The driving force was clients who felt well empowered and well treated,” Withrow said. “It’s the big ones that put us over the top but it’s everything from the $5 gifts to the Flint’s $4 million.”
The Cancer Center’s opening ceremony will be held on Nov. 6. The Orthopedic Center will open Nov. 1. Plans for the ceremonies are still in progress.