World’s First Equine Orthopaedic Research Center to be Constructed at Colorado State University

Building plans for the construction of the world’s first Equine Orthopaedic Research Center are underway and work on the 12,000 square-foot building is scheduled to begin no later than January 1, 2001 at Colorado State University.

A gift of over $600,000 from Herbert A. Allen of New York City, and Gail Holmes, of Longmont, Colo., along with numerous private donations-many from the horse industry-completed the $1 million initial funding needed to begin work. Fundraising efforts for the additional amount to complete the $5 million complex will continue through private gifts and foundation grants.

Research conducted at the current Equine Orthopaedic Research Laboratory has not only benefited the horse, but has also changed the way many human orthopaedic surgeons treat their patients as well. The new research center will be devoted to conducting research of orthopaedic problems occurring in equine and human athletes.

The Center, which will house a 32-stall horse care facility, a visitor unit and full equine surgical facilities, will be constructed immediately adjacent to the current Orthopaedic Research Laboratory just north of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital on Drake Road. State-of-the-art stables will be provided for resident horses with indoor horse stalls, an outdoor run and a separate commons paddock for exercise space.

"This has long been a dream of ours and we are excited at finally seeing it become a reality," said Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, Director of Equine Sciences and Director of Orthopaedic Research at Colorado State. "The purpose of this facility is twofold: to better serve animals and humans through research into the prevention, treatment and possible cure for osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal injuries in the equine athlete."

"This new addition to our existing facility will expand our ability to provide state-of-the-art care for horses based on the most recent research, while still utilizing conventional treatment modalities available at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital," said Dr. David Frisbie, Manager of the Equine Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, which will also be undergoing renovation and expansion.

A recent survey confirmed that, more than any other condition, diseases related to the musculoskeletal system are responsible for more horses not being able to perform as they should. In humans, musculoskeletal disease is the second-leading cause, after chronic heart disease, of long-term paid disability in the United States.

The goal of the research carried out at the Equine Orthopaedic Research Laboratory is to use state-of-the-art techniques to define new methods to treat joints already damaged and identify new methods of detecting disease, as well as potentially preventing permanent damage before it occurs.

Under the direction of Dr. McIlwraith, three full-time senior scientists-Drs. Clark Billinghurst, David Frisbie and Chris Kawcak-seven full-time technicians, 10 graduate students and collaborating faculty members in the colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Engineering and Agricultural Sciences are dedicated to making a significant impact on musculoskeletal disease.