Aug. 28—Because of staff additions since last year, there has been a significant expansion in the services offered at Performance Equine Vets' facility near Aiken.
"We now are basically a complete referral hospital with a full team of specialists," said Dr. Sabrina Jacobs, founder and owner of the business.
Emergency surgeries can be performed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Before, "we were kind of operating on an elective surgery basis," Jacobs said. "We did a few colic surgeries, but not very many because we had to have the availability of a surgeon and everything would have to align."
As a result, horses often were transported to the University of Georgia or Tryon, North Carolina, when their abdominal problems were serious enough to require an operation.
Such trips, which took several hours, "weren't in the best interest of the horse and in a lot of those cases, the horses didn't survive," Jacobs said.
In addition to emergency surgeries, intensive medical now is available for equine patients following procedures, and there also are more options for the diagnosis and treatment of complicated health issues.
"We have a lot of cardiac monitoring equipment," Jacobs said. "We can do ECGs (electrocardiograms) and echocardiograms."
The newest members of the Performance Equine Vets team include Dr. Stephanie Caston, a board-certified veterinary surgeon who previously was based at Iowa State University.
She earned her veterinary degree from Texas A&M University.
Caston said she enjoys the challenge of performing a variety of operations, including airway, colic and arthroscopic procedures.
Another recent arrival is Dr. Alanna Farrell, who completed her surgical residency at Iowa State after receiving her veterinary degree from Washington State University.
"My primary interests are lameness surgery and sports medicine," Farrell said.
Dr. Rachelle Thompson, who is an internal medicine specialist, came to Performance Equine Vets from Cornell University in New York, where she completed her residency.
She is a graduate of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
Thompson said she loves working with newborn foals that need intensive care.
"That's my passion," she said.
The Aiken area has been known for many years as a haven for horses, so the equine population in the area is large. Some of the animals compete at the national and international levels.
"We've had a real strong need for these types of advanced medical procedures in our local market for a long time," Jacobs said.
So far, the response has been positive to the increase in services offered by Performance Equine Vets.
"The area has been welcoming and very supportive," Jacobs said. "We've gotten a lot of referrals locally and a lot of referrals from the Lowcountry. It's nice to see that horse owners are able to work with their primary care veterinarians and then come to us for specialty procedures. Then the primary care veterinarians can take back over their horse's care."
Performance Equine Vets also is known as Performance Equine Veterinary Services.
For more information, visit performanceequinevets.com or the Performance Equine Vets page on Facebook.
Performance Equine Vets' hospital is at 3827 Charleston Highway.
The facility has eight veterinarians in all on its staff, including Dr. Douglass Berry, a surgeon who works part-time.