Before going any further, we had a nice trip to NY state for the wedding this past weekend, and it was a very nice event, and we saw just about all of The Tim's family. (The Tim after the wedding: "I thought people who were married before weren't supposed to wear white wedding dresses when they got married again." (Me (in my brain): "Oh you poor dear. Someday the latter 20th-century will catch up with you, and there will be sooo many surprises in store!")
But I digress.
Two Saturdays ago, we headed out to Kennett Square, PA, which is the home of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine New Bolton Large Animal Center. This is where horses, cows, pigs, and countless other large animals receive care, from one of the very best veterinary schools in the country. They were hosting an open house for the public to see the new critical care center for horses that had been recently completed.
The Center is about 45 minutes from Center City Philadelphia, though it is a world away in other ways:
Rolling hills, farmland, lots of old trees and houses. Beautiful!
They wanted to replace the previous critical care center (above), with one that was more state-of-the-art, but also one where the operating theatre and the recovery stalls were together, thereby assuring a more fluid recovery for the patients.
The new building is in a square U-shape, with one wing of isolation cells, and another wing for horses recovering from severe cases of colic, which can actually kill them.
The tour was fascinating. We learned not just about the purposes of the various rooms, but all about colic in horses, and other medical issues that can be incredibly challenging, given their size and anatomy.
Isolation stall entrance from the hospital hallway
Isolation unit pharmacy
Isolation stall outside exercise area (post-op/recovery)
Across in the other wing, this is a stall for a mare and her foal.
We got to see the surgical prep room (above), and the operating room
This contraption is where the horse is placed for surgery. There is a rotating plate placed on one side, to move the horse to the necessary position, depending on the surgical procedure taking place.
Afterwards the horse is placed in a clean stall for recovery, with this set-up (sorry the photo was from behind glass) so that they can "get back on their feet" so to speak. (Yeah, for a brief moment I thought this was a real horse ...)
The hospital even has its own laundry facilities!
This building, which is still in use, was the original one on the site. Now it is mainly administrative offices.
And finally, especially for Kim, the Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Center. This is where some of Barbaro's treatments took place, and where his doctors have their offices.
We really enjoyed this whole day - the trip, the grounds, the new building, the people. Everyone at New Bolton - veterinarians, nurses, and veterinary students - is caring and enthusiastic about doing the best they can for their patients, and that makes me happy whenever I am visiting the place.
It was interesting to see how similar it all was to a human hospital, but also how they were able to make the necessary adaptations to be sure that any horse who came through the doors would be given the best chance available.
Hopefully now that this building has been completed, they will go back to having their Fall Open House, where more of the buildings are open for tours, and there are a lot of other activities so that you can easily make a day of it. I know if they do have it this year, we'll be there!