“The first big challenge is over” for the treating veterinarian team, said Anne Baskett, DVM, DACVS. Baskett, who was referring to the WEG Endurance competition. Even though the Endurance event was surrounded by controversy over a mis-start and cancelling of the race late in the day, the competition was considered a success for the veterinary care of the equine competitors.
Baskett and her husband, Bill Hay, DVM, DACVS, are in charge of FEI treating veterinarians at the FEI WEG Tryon 2018.
There was a large team of veterinarians attending the horses at the Endurance veterinary inspection and throughout the event, and six equine ambulances and veterinarians were available on course. When the Endurance event was cancelled due to high heat and humidity near the end of the day, “We were able, with GPS tracking, to go pick up horses that were still on course so we could give them a ride in,” said Baskett.
“We had a lot better access to horses on this course because of the clearing they did of the trail,” she added.
Baskett said most of the Endurance horses were recovered in the veterinary tent on course with fluids, but that even the more-intense medical cases are now good.
“This is a high-metabolic sport, and we are fortunate that we have a fantastic vet team here, plus six specialists on top of the regular treating vets,” said Baskett. Each sector of the race had three veterinarians, a gator for transportation, and an ambulance assigned to it. “In vet services, overkill is great,” commented Baskett.
Baskett said the real heroes of the veterinary care side of WEG are those in the hospital pharmacy and lab and those doing the paperwork. Some of them rarely get to see any of the competitions because they are so dedicated to their jobs.
“We really appreciate Henry Schein, Sound and Abaxis for helping us out here in the hospital,” said Baskett. “Any diagnostics or meds that we need, we can get them. And our physiology team has been busy.”
When asked if they needed anything, Baskett smiled and said, “A little more sleep would be nice!”
There are three RVs available near the WEG hospital so that veterinarians and vet students, especially those who are working the night shift, can cat nap close to the hospital.
High Praise for Vet Care
The care of the horses at the WEG has gotten nothing but rave reviews from veterinarians, competitors and professionals thus far. But the involvement of Baskett and Hay has gone much deeper as they have extended true Southern hospitality to all of the veterinarians and treating professionals who are attending the WEG.
Baskett and Hay own Tryon Equine Hospital PLLC, which is only about 15 minutes away from the WEG Tryon 2018 event facility. “The advantage of living in the town were the WEG is being held is that you can stay on top of things,” said Baskett.
She and Hay designed the WEG hospital on the grounds of Tryon to be a place where veterinarians could come in to not only get care for horses, but to be a place where they could get answers to any questions or help with anything. Or just get a little air conditioning!
“We have a fantastic vet team here,” said Baskett. “And the students from the AAEP are doing great.”
She said the first flight of horses that came in and went through USDA inspection was a learning experience for everyone, but that the import system quickly was working smoothly. The last flight of horses for the competition arrives today, she noted.
Domestic arrivals have also been busy, and Baskett said that North Carolina State Veterinarian Doug Meckes and others, including staff from North Carolina State University, have worked tirelessly to organize those horses. She said three experienced FEI veterinarians who came from Europe have done a lot of the organizing of paperwork to ensure a seamless movement of horses.
Depending on the country of origin, horses flown in were in quarantine from 42 hours locally to seven days (those horses that came to WEG from the Miami quarantine facility). She said there have been a few mild medical colics, and those that needed high-volume fluids and monitoring were sent to Tryone Equine Hospital. “I’m happy to say they are all back under USDA seal and competing,” said Baskett.
The Next Test
The next big test for the veterinary services team will be Saturday’s cross-country portion of Eventing. “We held a mock emergency scenario (on the cross-country course) yesterday to test,” said Baskett.
The cross country course will be staffed like the Endurance course, with veterinarians and equine ambulances stationed at critical points around the course to provide immediate veterinary care if needed.