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UC Davis Equine Veterinarians Serve at Breeders’ Cup

November 29, 2016

UC Davis' Gabe Gil, Dr. Julie Dechant and Dr. Scott Katzman served as on-track emergency specialists at Breeders' Cup.

UC Davis' Gabe Gil, Dr. Julie Dechant and Dr. Scott Katzman served as on-track emergency specialists at Breeders' Cup.

The annual Breeders’ Cup World Championships returned to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California in early November, and faculty and staff from the UC Davis veterinary hospital were on hand to serve as on-track emergency medical specialists. UC Davis board-certified surgeons and critical care specialists are routinely invited to Breeders’ Cup whenever the world-renowned race takes place in California. 

Typically, the school’s veterinarians are stationed at each turn with a specially-modified horse ambulance, ready to tend to any urgent medical needs. This year, Dr. Julie Dechant was positioned at the first turn, and Dr. Scott Katzman and Gabe Gil, service coordinator for the hospital’s Equine Surgery and Lameness Service, were at the second turn. The team was able to quickly administer care to an acutely injured horse during the Breeders’ Cup Distaff race.

In addition to stabilizing severe injuries on the track, UC Davis’ team of specialists also monitor horses for more minor issues that may arise, such as overheating.

For more serious injuries, the surgeons are responsible for stabilizing injuries, and when necessary, assisting with the proper loading of horses into the ambulance for further evaluation. In some cases, the UC Davis veterinarians will work in conjunction with the track’s on-site hospital, staffed with anesthesiologists and technicians, to provide immediate emergency intervention, up to and including emergency surgeries.

UC Davis looks forward to returning to Breeders’ Cup next year when it is held at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club near San Diego.

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About the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
The William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis—a unit of the #1 world ranked School of Veterinary Medicine—provides state-of-the-art clinical care while serving as the primary clinical teaching experience for DVM students and post graduate veterinarian residents. The VMTH treats more than 50,000 animals a year, ranging from cats and dogs to horses, cows and exotic species. To learn more about the VMTH, please go to Timely news updates can be received on its Facebook ( and Twitter ( pages.

Media Contact:
Rob Warren
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