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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Patty Hogan Will Be Head Surgeon at New Equine Hospital Planned for Belmont

(This article was originally written by Fran Jurga for " "The Saratoga Special" and may be property of that publication. Photo by Mark Wyville, used with permission.)

Trainers at New York's Belmont Park will have both a world-class equine orthopedics facility and a world-renowned surgeon on site when a new equine hospital is completed in 2007.

Patricia Hogan VMD ACVS traveled to Saratoga on August 24 to take part in a press conference organized by International Equine Acquisitions Holdings, Inc. (IEAH), the industry group that will fund the Belmont facility. Dr. Hogan confirmed that she will be serving as lead surgeon when the hospital is built.

Plans call for an 11,500 square-foot, $7 million equine hospital designed to serve the needs of racing Thoroughbreds. The new facility will also have a treadmill for the evaluation of breathing problems as well as diagnostic imaging equipment. The hospital’s practice will be headed by James C. Hunt Jr. DVM. Hunt currently employs five veterinarians and services more than 50 percent of the horses in training at Belmont.

In a telephone interview this week, Hogan clarified that she will retain her current position as surgeon at New Jersey Equine Clinic in Clarksburg, New Jersey until the new hospital is completed and that in 2007 she hopes to perform surgeries at New Jersey Equine two days a week, while traveling to Belmont three days a week. This will enable her to continue to serve trainers at Philadelphia Park, Monmouth, and Delaware Park, as well as retain her connection with the Standardbred industry in New Jersey.

Hogan noted that harness trainers and Thoroughbred trainers from other tracks would be able to ship cases to her at either Belmont or New Jersey Equine, although stalls may be limited at Belmont. Currently, Hogan lists about half of the trainers on her client list as New York-based.

Hogan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and completed an internship at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, followed by a surgical residency at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. As a Board-certified surgeon, earned by examination under the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, Hogan specializes in orthopedic surgery, particularly removal of bone fragments and chips, and the repair of fractures. She also performs corrective surgery on foals and laser surgery for upper airway problems.

Among Hogan’s best-known cases have been Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex.

Hogan was in the headlines earlier this summer as the only veterinarian to speak before Congress in favor of H.R. 503, also known as the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

The nation’s two leading veterinary organizations—the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners—opposed the bill. This did not deter Hogan from speaking her feelings on the issue.

“Nick Zito knew how I felt,” Hogan said. “He passed my name to Congress, and it was arranged for me to speak. Veterinarians should never have been politically involved in this issue.”

“There had been no veterinary voice from the other side of the fence,” Hogan continued, referring to the AVMA/AAEP stance.

Hogan’s eloquent testimony voiced concerns about the way that horses are held and transported before slaughter, as well as her warning about the unregulated amount of medication present in slaughtered horses. A transcript of her testimony circulated on the internet this summer, making Hogan something of a folk hero in the anti-slaughter camp.

Hogan works with both the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and ReRun, and donates some surgeries for ex-racehorses. She is also active in re-homing Thoroughbreds and making them more adoptable.

“As a person, I have a lot of love for horses,” she stressed, adding, “And as a veterinarian, I have a lot of concern for their humane treatment.”

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