Medical equine center provides care for New Jersey’s state animal

BY Raven Santana, Correspondent |

June is New Jersey’s month of the horse and New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher joined staff at the Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center to highlight its importance.

“Sometimes, people don’t think, ‘Well, what happens when a horse gets really sick,’ or, ‘What can they do for the animal?’ They can’t just give it a shot. There’s surgeries that have to take place and it happens here,” Fisher said.

“In terms of comprehensiveness and level of intensive care, we are the only hospital of its kind in the state. We see a huge cross-section of horses, so we see horses from the racing industry, the pleasure industry, we see backyard horses. We’ve had many horses that have competed in the Triple Crown, that have won the Hambletonian,” said Rodney Belgrave, president of the Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center.

About 50 people work at the medical center and Belgrave says they are on the clock 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hospital has 35 stalls, but he says they can accommodate about 50 horses at a time.

“We have horses that come in 1, 2, 3 o’clock in the morning. We have a lot of horses that come in for surgical issues, fracture repairs, arthroscopic surgeries, taking chips out of joints,” said Belgrave.

The center provides everything from emergency care to CT scans by CT robots that capture about 450 images as it rotates around the horse.

“We have the CT scan that allows us to look at the horses joints while they’re standing. And nuclear scintigraphy is also a pretty busy diagnostic tool to try and localize sites of injury in the horse,” Belgrave said.

He says the hospital is solely funded by the patients they see.

“A horse can come in for a basic exam and it may cost them a few hundred dollars. A horse that comes in for a pretty intensive abdominal surgery it can cost upward of $8,000 to $10,000,” said Belgrave.

Belgrave says they plan on expanding the facility. Fisher says he’s confident that the state is on its way to becoming the mecca for horse racing and horse breeding.