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Veterinary Couple to Head Olympic Horse Hospital

July 22, 2008

Photo:  Jack Snyder, horse and Sharon Spier in horse barn

Olympic vets Jack Snyder, left, and Sharon Spier will head a vet hospital in Hong Kong. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo)

UC Davis' husband-and-wife veterinary team of Jack Snyder and Sharon Spier are headed for Hong Kong, where they will coordinate the equine veterinary facility for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. The pair has served at the summer games since the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea.

While Beijing will be the center for most of the games this summer, the Olympic equestrian events will be held at two venues in Hong Kong, featuring approximately 280 competing horses.

Snyder and Spier, both professors in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, will lead an international corps of 30 veterinarians, who will advise the veterinarians accompanying the horses. They will be prepared to evaluate lameness, treat injuries and even perform emergency surgeries. Snyder will be in charge of surgical procedures while Spier, an internal medicine specialist, will deal with infections and internal diseases.

Because the horses cannot leave the Olympic compound for medical treatment once the games begin, a full equine clinic, complete with a pharmacy, must be provided. This specially built veterinary facility is located at the core equestrian venue at Sha Tin, next to the Hong Kong Jockey Club racetrack and close to the city center.

In addition, a temporary veterinary clinic will be located 35 minutes away at the Beas River venue for the cross-country event.

There will be six veterinary teams located on the cross-country course along with three roving teams and mobile cooling units. Eight horse ambulances and four recovery trailers will be available on the day of the cross-country event.

Snyder and Spier will be available to news media, as time permits, during the summer games, where they can best be contacted by e-mail.

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