Similar in concept if not in scale to a human treadmill, the high-speed equine diagnostic unit, capable of operating at speeds up to 60 miles per hour, will be used to evaluate a horses respiratory, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal functions under vigorous exercise.
New research capabilities made possible by the high-speed treadmill facility will also boost the university-affiliated equine hospitals capability as a biomedical research institution.
The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, located in Leesburg, Virginia, is one of three campuses operated by the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, a two-state professional school with major campus facilities at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. The Equine Medical Center offers 24-hour emergency referral service along with surgical, medical and diagnostic services.
While the horse is working on the treadmill, a video endoscope may be used to visually examine the patients upper airway to diagnose respiratory problems not evident at rest. One of the distinctive design features of the James P. Mills Diagnostic Treadmill Building is a structural arrangement which will allow up to five video cameras to be positioned around or over the horse. These cameras will be used to document and analyze subtle gait problems. Information related to heart, respiration, and gait also will provide useful data for clinical research projects.
The 2,800 square foot building is heated and air conditioned so that horses exercise in a controlled environment while diagnostic tools are in use.