Indiana horse racing just took another step forward to becoming an industry leader by introducing the new Centaur Equine Specialty Hospital located only 5-minutes from Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The 17,000 square foot facility features state of the art concepts and a world class equine surgeon leading the charge for Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

A first look at the facility, located on the north side of Shelbyville adjacent to Interstate 74, shows a gated property with a hospital that has as its mission maximizing the performance of all horses used for sport, competition, or pleasure by preventing diagnosing and treating diseases or conditions that keep equine athletes from achieving their full potential. Arrivals are accepted under a canopy that leads into two holding stalls for outpatient work.  Purdue University staff members were thorough in their research and creation of the facility, with the lobby area containing a hospitality area for guests as well as a private consultation room. Behind the lobby are various high-tech rooms, including a surgery center, two equine recovery rooms, two exam rooms, a conference area for teaching and meeting needs as well as an Equine 4DDI room for the latest diagnostic imaging technology available in equine treatment.

“There are only two other places in the United States that currently offers the4 DDI machine and we will be the third,” said Dr. Mimi Arighi, associate professor of large animal surgery and member of the veterinary administration department at Purdue. “The other two are located at New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania and the Ruffian Center on Long Island outside Belmont Park. “

The Equine 4DDI machine is a diagnostic imaging system that contains two robotic arms, allowing a horse to walk in between for more efficient processing. The machine is capable of doing all types of diagnostic techniques, including x-rays, fluoroscopy, CT and tomosynthesis.

“The big difference with the 4DDI machine is that a horse can stand during the procedure,” said Dr. Arighi. “With all other systems, a horse has to be under anesthesia for procedures like CT, which is always a risky thing to deal with when treating a horse.”

Nuclear imaging will also be available. Using radioactive iodine, which travels to where more blood is located, technicians and doctors will be able to tell where the horse’s problem might lie and where x-rays should be taken. The system uses a Gamma Camera, just like what is used for humans, and it is capable of a total body bone scan.

Behind the surgery center, two on-call rooms have been added, which will facilitate overnight stays by technicians, students, and doctors when required. A separate barn is connected with a walkway, providing six regular stalls, four of which have outside doors to paddock areas and two with just windows. The barn also features two larger mare and foal stalls and one isolation stall. The isolation stall only has access from the outside and is imperative for any top equine clinic to have to prevent the spread of infection to other animals.

“The isolation portion of the barn has three separate areas,” said Dr. Arighi. “There are two outer rooms leading into the stall to ensure whatever infection is in there stays in there. Extra exterior garments are put on before entering the actual stall and are removed as the person exits the stall and moves through the zone rooms.”

Additional buildings will be placed on the back part of the property for storage, equipment and supplies. The building has also been designed for expansions down the road.

A round pen will be added to the back part of the clinic to assist Dr. Timm Gudehus, the equine surgeon, with orthopedic and respiratory diagnoses. In addition a long hallway on the side has been constructed that is considered the “lameness hallway” allowing the horse to be able to step up its gait. This area will be utilized during inclement weather conditions.

“Our facility will accommodate all aspects of equine surgery necessary to optimize the performance of sport horses,” said Dr. Gudehus. “We will treat respiratory, orthopedic and every aspect of fracture repair.”

Dr. Gudehus, a native of Germany, grew up riding show jumpers. He graduated from The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Munich before his studies carried him to California, Louisiana, and New Zealand, where he served as the sole surgeon at the Equine Center near Auckland. He has interned with some of the most renowned surgeons in the world and most recently was the lead surgeon of one of the largest and fastest growing hospitals in Europe where he performed work on horses competing in the recent Olympics. In all, he has been a veterinarian for 13 years with 10 of those in surgical training, six of which as a boarded surgeon. His expertise on so many different types of racehorses also makes him unique and well-rounded, which is a perfect fit for the new facility in Indiana.

“The best way to describe the differences in treating horses from different breeds in racing is to reference an NFL player and a Hockey player,” said Dr. Gudehus. “Both get orthopedic injuries but they are different depending on how they use their bodies. I am very excited to work on race horses again and I am excited to see the support from both Purdue and Centaur on this center. That is one of the things that really convinced me to come on board and be part of this team. I’ve been to a lot of racetracks around the world and when I was invited here for my interview and tour, I was very impressed with what Centaur does for the industry.”

Dr. Gudehus is utilizing his time before the opening of the facility to get acclimated and familiar with area horse owners and veterinarians in all three breeds of the racing industry as well as other disciplines of horses in the region. Construction continues on the new Centaur Equine Specialty Hospital. Expected opening for the center is January 2017.