Horse vets and advocates recognised for their equine efforts

From left, AAEP Foundation Chairman Dr Jeff Berk, JKatarzyna Dembek, and Dr Richard Mitchell, DVM, Equus Foundation Board Member and incoming AAEP Foundation Chairman.
From left, AAEP Foundation Chairman Dr Jeff Berk, Katarzyna Dembek, and Dr Richard Mitchell, DVM, Equus Foundation Board Member and incoming AAEP Foundation Chairman.

Ohio State University doctoral candidate Katarzyna Dembek received the 2016 Equus Foundation Research Fellow for her work into how the dynamics of hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal hormones relate to severity of disease and mortality in newborn foals.

Dembek DVM, MS, DACVIM received the award at the AAEP’s 62nd Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida.

The $5000 fellowship assists equine researchers in their exploration of horse health care topics.

Dembek  has made several clinical discoveries, including how an increase in the number of adrenal steroids in septic foals is directly proportional to severity of disease and likelihood of mortality. She also demonstrated foals with adrenal endocrine failure are likely to die within a very short period after admission. In addition, Dembek helped develop an application called FoalScore, which estimates the probability of sepsis and survival in foals.

Dembek earned her veterinary degree in 2005 from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland. She completed her master’s in veterinary clinical sciences and equine medicine residency in 2012, both at Ohio State University.

AHC President Jay Hickey.
Jay Hickey.

George Stubbs Award for Jay Hickey

James J. (Jay) Hickey Jr., who retired as president of the American Horse Council (AHC) June 30 after 23 years in the position, received the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ 2016 George Stubbs Award for his contributions to the equine industry and outstanding support of equine health and welfare.

Named for the late artist and educator George Stubbs, the award recognizes a non-veterinarian who has contributed substantially to equine veterinary medicine through leadership, product development, public service, public policy development, volunteerism, advocacy, research or education.

Hickey’s tenure with the American Horse Council spanned 27 years and included involvement with almost every major federal law and regulation concerning the equine industry. Under Hickey’s direction, the AHC coordinated economic impact studies at the state and national level, and became a driving force behind the formation of the Congressional Horse Caucus; the Congressional Cavalry; the Unwanted Horse Coalition; and the AHC’s marketing alliance known as Time to Ride, which seeks to increase horse ownership and participation.

In recent years, Hickey was a leading voice for establishing the Equine Disease Communications Center, an organization that coordinates and distributes breaking information on equine disease outbreaks across the country.

Michael Blowen is the recipient of the AAEP Lavin Cup.
Michael Blowen is the recipient of the AAEP Lavin Cup.

“Old Friend”of racehorses recognised with welfare award

Michael Blowen, an advocate of Thoroughbred racehorse aftercare and founder of Old Friends Thoroughbred retirement center in Georgetown, Kentucky, has received the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ 2016 Lavin Cup.

Known as the AAEP’s equine welfare award, the Lavin Cup recognizes a non-veterinary organization or individual that has distinguished itself through service to improve the welfare of horses.

Blowen founded Old Friends in 2003 to provide dignified retirement for racehorses. The center cares for more than 160 horses across three states whose racing and breeding careers have ended. Old Friends is the only Thoroughbred rescue/retirement facility that specializes in accepting stallions and takes exceptional pride in their pensioned classic winners like 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, Silver Charm, and 2002 Belmont Stakes winner, Sarava.

More than 20,000 visitors and local tour companies visit Old Friends each year. The center is heralded as Thoroughbred racing’s living history museum, where fans can interact with their favorite Thoroughbred heroes. By promoting these celebrated racehorses through a campaign of education and tourism, Old Friends brings awareness to all retired Thoroughbreds and equines in need.

Dennis Brooks receives the AAEP Distinguished Educator – Academic Award.
Dennis Brooks receives the AAEP Distinguished Educator – Academic Award.

Equine opthalmologist honored

Dennis Brooks, DVM, PhD, DACVO, a practitioner known for his outstanding contributions to equine ophthalmology has received the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ 2016 Distinguished Educator – Academic Award.

The award honors an individual who by his or her actions and commitment has demonstrated a significant impact on the development and training of equine practitioners.

Throughout his career, Dr Brooks trained 31 equine ophthalmology residents, educated more than 3400 veterinary students, and mentored 76 visiting veterinarians at the University of Florida. His research is published in 74 refereed publications and 82 non-refereed publications and book chapters. He continues to lecture around the country in his quest to improve the level of ophthalmic care administered by veterinarians.

Dr Brooks earned his DVM from the University of Illinois in 1980. He completed his ophthalmology residency in 1984 at the University of Florida, where he also earned his PhD in 1987. In 1990, he joined the university as an associate professor and ophthalmology service chief, achieving tenure in 1994 and full professor status in 1998. Dr Brooks retired from the University of Florida in July 2015 and still serves the institution as a professor emeritus. He established BrooksEyes LLC, his equine ophthalmology consulting firm, in 2016.

Among his numerous honors and awards are the 2007 and 2015 Western Veterinary Conference Continuing Educator of the Year-Equine; the 2007 British Veterinary Association Sir Frederick Smith Memorial Lecture and Medal Recipient; and the 2010 AAEP Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture. Additionally, Dr Brooks is a founding member of the International Equine Ophthalmology Consortium and served as its president from 2011-2012.

William “Bill” Moyer
William “Bill” Moyer

Distinguished Service Award for equine lameness expert

Past AAEP president William “Bill” Moyer, DVM, has received the organisation’s Distinguished Service Award for his work.

Dr Moyer is an internationally renowned educator with a prominent presence in the AAEP. He is a leading voice for the association’s educational programs, and was instrumental in recruiting up-and-coming academic leaders to become more involved with the AAEP. He served as the association’s director-at-large from 2001-2004 and president in 2011.

His advancements in lameness and the treatment of foot disorders cemented his position as one of the foremost authorities on equine lameness issues. His research appears in numerous refereed journals, and he remains active in educating the equine community at continuing education meetings worldwide.

Dr Moyer retired from Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015, although he continues to serve as a professor emeritus. During his 22 years with the university, he served as the head of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences; associate director of the Center for Equine Business Studies; director of the Link Equine Research Endowment; and on the Veterinary Emergency Team, a program that implements emergency response and disaster management for both human and animal populations.

Dr. Moyer is a 1970 graduate of the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and he completed his surgical residency at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center in 1973. In 1993, he joined Texas A&M University after spending 13 years on faculty with New Bolton Center.


Richard Kane
Richard Kane

University of Florida recognition

Veterinarian Richard Kane, DVM, a 1984 graduate of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, has received the UF Distinguished Alumnus Award in recognition of his accomplishments and service.

Kane is the founder and chief of staff of Care Animal Hospital and is co-founder of Surgi-Care Center for Horses in Brandon, Florida. His community involvement includes serving on the board of directors of the Humane Foundation for Animals, as a past president of the Hillsborough County Veterinary Medical Society and as chairman of the Board of County Commissioners’ animal advisory committee. He is active with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce and business community and has been recognized with awards from several organizations in his community over the years.

He has been featured numerous times in local and national media for his accomplishments in veterinary medicine and for his charitable work. Kane’s practice also cares for many of his county sheriff’s office K-9s.

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