Archived News

Equine Vets Aid Olympic Athletes

August 18, 2008

Editor's note:  As of August 18, we have heard several times from Dr. Jack Snyder. The team performed surgery on a horse from Sweden that had a fracture below the fetlock. Four screws went in to stabilize the bone, and the horse, Keymaster, is recovering well. Another interesting case involved arthroscopic surgery on Picolien, a horse from Brazil, to treat some inflammation in a bursa of one joint. Though the horse could not compete in this Olympics, the hope is that treatment will improve its fitness for other upcoming international events. An arthroscope allows surgeons to peek right inside a joint and observe it on a magnifying monitor during a procedure. We in Davis also eagerly followed the silver medalist in individual eventing, Gina Miles. Her horse McKinlaigh has been cared for in the past by veterinarians from the school.

The following news release was distributed July 22 by UC Davis News Service:

UC Davis' husband-and-wife veterinary team of Jack Snyder and Sharon Spier are headed for Hong Kong, where they will coordinate the equine veterinary facility for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. The pair has served at the summer games since the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea.

While Beijing will be the center for most of the games this summer, the Olympic equestrian events will be held at two venues in Hong Kong, featuring approximately 280 competing horses.

Snyder and Spier, both professors in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, will lead an international corps of 30 veterinarians, who will advise the veterinarians accompanying the horses. They will be prepared to evaluate lameness, treat injuries and even perform emergency surgeries. Snyder will be in charge of surgical procedures while Spier, an internal medicine specialist, will deal with infections and internal diseases.

Because the horses cannot leave the Olympic compound for medical treatment once the games begin, a full equine clinic, complete with a pharmacy, must be provided. This specially built veterinary facility is located at the core equestrian venue at Sha Tin, next to the Hong Kong Jockey Club racetrack and close to the city center.

In addition, a temporary veterinary clinic will be located 35 minutes away at the Beas River venue for the cross-country event.

There will be six veterinary teams located on the cross-country course along with three roving teams and mobile cooling units. Eight horse ambulances and four recovery trailers will be available on the day of the cross-country event.

Snyder and Spier will be available to news media, as time permits, during the summer games, where they can best be contacted by e-mail.

Media contact(s):

• Jack Snyder, School of Veterinary Medicine,

• Sharon Spier, School of Veterinary Medicine,

• Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843,