The Equine Sports Medicine and Surgical Service, part of the Hospital for Large Animals at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts, is lead by Dr. José M. García-López and Dr. Kirstin Bubeck—both Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) and American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (ACVSMR).
Sports medicine is vital because equine athletes, just like human athletes, have a tendency to push their bodies higher, further, and faster than most. The injuries that result, even when not catastrophic, can limit a horse's ability to perform. In order to compete as athletes, horses need to be sound, able to breathe well, have an efficiently functioning heart and vasculature, and their neurologic systems, which orchestrate the whole, need to be intact. The role of equine sports medicine is to determine how each of these body systems enables the horse to perform at a maximum level, and, if the horse's performance has decreased, to determine which body system is malfunctioning.
The Equine Sports Medicine and Surgical Service at the Hospital for Large Animals focuses on offering the evaluation and management of conditions affecting the performance of equine athletes, utilizing the most advanced techniques and treatments available, including:
The Hospital for Large Animals also offers cutting-edge, regenerative equine therapies for patients, including:
Sports medicine is not only for elite horses. Whether poor performance means coming in fourth rather than first in the grand prix or having an unpleasant trail ride because your horse was coughing, limitations to a horse's physical ability means that the horse cannot do his job happily or well. Sports medicine is for the 4-H pony, the three-day event horse, the barrel racer, the endurance horse, the multi-million dollar racehorse—and the list goes on. Sports medicine is for any horse and rider/driver team that wants to be able to exercise without pain and without limitation to the horse's genetic potential.
The Equine Sports Medicine and Surgical Service prides itself on its fast-track outpatient appointments for efficient care. This division operates closely with the Ultrasound Service, and consultations with the Diagnostic Imaging, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, and Theriogenology services are also coordinated.
Dr. José García-López talks to The Atlantic about what it’s like to be a doctor for sport horses