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Serenity Equine Clinic: A Place of Healing and Compassion


Serenity Equine Clinic

One day you notice your 2-year-old colt, normally full of vim and vigor, doesn't want to leave his stall. He's stumbling, staggering, slipping away from soundness. You immediately suspect something is wrong and call the vet. When the doctor tells you it's Laminitis – a devastating foot disease commonly known as founder, which causes the hoof to grow in a way that cripples otherwise healthy mounts – you are at a loss. You never expected… How could this happen? There is a concern that your horse's days of grace are over and a temptation bubbles up to abandon this nightmare situation.

Serenity Equine ClinicHowever, Laminitis, like a rough patch on an otherwise smooth path, does not mean the end of a journey. At Serenity Equine Clinic in Evington, VA, Dr. Andrea E. Floyd, DVM knows that early and specialized attention can keep your beloved horse on its feet. She is just the type of noble and selfless person to provide this kind of skilled help. She spends every day proving that no case is hopeless – that if the owner has the fight, patience and fortitude to face some hard times, so does the horse. She's nothing short of a hero.

Dr. Floyd uses a range of procedures from surgical trimming to amputation and prosthesis to treat, rehabilitate and recover horses from the brink of destruction, returning them to a life of comfort and mobility.

"You'd be surprised at the horses that have recovered, gotten back out, and are pleasure-sound after surgery," says Dr. Floyd. As she makes her morning rounds, treating her patients to peppermints, she acknowledges that recovery can be long and difficult. Most of her patients are treated at Serenity for at least 6 months. At the same time Dr. Floyd commends the owners who take the initiative to bring her their horses. It's the beginning of a lifelong commitment.

Serenity Equine Clinic"Once a foot is laminitic, it is always going to want to look laminitic. What I do is make them look like normal feet, and for all intents and purposes, once that is achieved, they become normal feet. From there it requires constant care to keep the tissue memory from taking back over."

But if anyone is up to this challenge, it's the folks who make the decision to serve and provide for their horse for the rest of its life.

"Private owners who pay to bring their horses to Serenity are owners on the level of the Jackson's, who had Barbaro," she says. "Their hearts are that huge. They care that much. They don't care what it takes to fix one of their horses; they refuse to let them go."

Serenity Equine ClinicAlong with her work for private owners, Dr. Floyd runs a non-profit wing of the clinic with help from the Cashvan Family Memorial Equine Fund. The fund takes on horses with a range of podiatry disorders, treats them and then places them in new homes on nearby farms. Their success rate is spectacular, providing great pasture lives for horses and excellent care training for adoptive owners.

"We're the only long-term care facility like this in the country. When we send a horse to a new home, we want the horse to be as easy to trim and maintain as possible. We try to adopt out locally so that horses can come back in, and so they can be visited by Matt Grimm, our resident farrier."

With a horse under the Cashvan Fund's care, Dr. Floyd is free to make treatment decisions that are in the true interest of the animal. Occasionally she sees that the best course of action is one of the simplest, most painless and oddly inspiring solutions: amputation and prosthesis. While this is often a tough idea for owners to stomach, it is one that allows the horse permanent relief and a higher standard of living than dealing with the continuous treatment plans.

"I can take a horse from extreme laminitis straight to prosthetics," she says as she shows off a custom-built lower leg prosthesis. "The problem is that most people don't want a prosthetic horse, which is unfortunate. The simplest prosthesis to put on still allows the horse to gallop, gives them comfort and lets them lead a perfectly normal life as a pasture potato."

Serenity's two unofficial mascots, Gideon and Jack, are model cases of prosthetic success. Gideon, a beautiful black Missouri Foxtrotter stallion that still takes daily ambles through his pasture, has worn a $2,500 state-of-the-art leg for the past 12 years. "That type of success is unheard of," Dr. Floyd marvels. "He's the poster child for hind leg amputation."

And then there's Jack the donkey. Jack has the most common type of lower leg amputation. He's practically oblivious to the fact that he has on a nifty striped athletic tube sock that cushions a rather intriguing looking, leather peg leg. Dr. Floyd sums up Jack's sensation as, "kind of how you might feel if you were missing half a toe. It allows Jack to go full tilt all the time. He has no idea that he's missing his lower foot."

Dr. Floyd and the staff of Serenity Equine Clinic have an amazing power to get horses back on course and to answer the prayers of their owners in the process. But she says that if there is one thing an owner can do to help make her job easier, it is to seek qualified and specialized help for your horse the moment you suspect a problem. Oh, and send tube socks and peppermints for the mascots, Gideon and Jack.

Support Serenity Equine Clinic

Serenity Equine is a participant in the Southern States SHOW Program. Southern States provides funds to non-profit equine groups when they submit POP seals off the backs of their feed bags. If this cause has touched your heart there are many ways to support the Cashvan Family Memorial Equine Fund. The fund is always in need of monetary donations, but you can also send your Southern States feed bag proofs of purchase to support the fight towards a better life after a Laminitis diagnosis. For more information visit www.serenityequine.com.

Please send donations to:
Serenity Equine Clinic
2954 Evington Road
Evington, VA 24550

The horses at Serenity Equine Clinic are fed a variety of Southern States products from the Bedford Co-Op including Southern States® Reliance®, Triple Crown® Lite, Triple Crown Senior, Triple Crown Low Starch and Legends® Pelleted Rice Bran.

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