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Veterinary Medicine

Equine veterinary services stride ahead with guidance from well-known professor

July 25, 2014
by Coleman Cornelius

Dr. Chris Kawcak, a professor of orthopaedics in the CSU Department of Clinical Sciences and a familiar figure in university equine circles, recently was promoted to director of Equine Clinical Services at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital - a move that signals CSU's increasing emphasis on teaching, research, outreach and clinical services related to horses.

Dr. Chris Kawcak, director of CSU Equine Clinical Services.Kawcak, who earlier held the title of section head, helps guide the efforts of 47 veterinarians, nurses and staff members who handle about 3,000 equine patient visits per year at CSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Like other CSU clinicians, equine veterinarians also teach veterinary students and conduct research to generate new knowledge aimed at improving animal and human health.

Equine Clinical Services form one of four pillars of equine focus at CSU, joining three others that university leaders are working to strengthen and streamline to meet the needs of students, clients, and the veterinary and horse industries, said Dr. Christopher Orton, head of the Department of Clinical Sciences. The other equine pillars at CSU are the Equine Reproduction Laboratory, the Equine Sciences undergraduate program, and the Orthopaedic Research Center.

Provided as part of Equine Clinical Services are the following programs: ambulatory care; critical care; dentistry; internal medicine and neurology; reproduction; sports medicine and rehabilitation; and surgery.

Continuing improvement and excellence

Kawcak reviews radiographs with veterinary students.“Our Equine Clinical Services team is proud of CSU’s legacy in supporting equine health, the horse industry, and the bonds between horses and people. We strive for continuous improvement in excellent and highly compassionate equine veterinary care,” Kawcak said.

“I’m excited about my new role,” he added, “because it gives me the opportunity to help envision the future of CSU Equine Clinical Services and how we will meet the needs of our clients, students and many others in the years ahead.” 

Kawcak holds the Iron Rose Ranch Chair in Equine Musculoskeletal Disease and Injury, a funding mechanism that provides private support for his position at CSU. He works to discover new ways to prevent and treat catastrophic injuries in equine athletes.

Kawcak, left, an equine orthopaedist, conducts surgery at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.In particular, Kawcak investigates new imaging techniques – using MRI, CT scans and X-rays – to diagnose early joint disease and microscopic joint injuries before these develop into serious injuries. Working with researchers in biomedical engineering, he has developed biomechanical models to assess risk factors for equine athletes; much of this work could likewise improve diagnosis and treatment for people with arthritis and joint injuries.

Kawcak, D.V.M., Ph.D., is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.

For more information about his work, visit this webpage.

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