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Saturday, April 10, 2010

California Lameness Veterinarian Van Snow Killed in Plane Crash

9 April 2010 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at

Equine lameness specialist veterinarian Vandall E. Snow DVM of Santa Ynez, California was killed when the experimental plane he was piloting crashed near San Diego on Thursday.

Van Snow was well-known in the field of equine lameness and had a special interest in the hoof. A graduate of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis, he was the quintessential "early adopter" and experimented with Magnetic Resonance imaging of the foot, therapeutic shock wave, and many treatment protocols before most people had even considered their use.

In 1996, he compiled, authored and published the visual image monograph Sectional Anatomy of the Equine Digit with MRI, edited by Norman Rantanen DVM. In the preface to that book, he predicted that veterinarians would be using Magnetic Resonance technology in the future, and that they would need to adjust to considering the foot's anatomy in three dimensions instead of two. Hoofcare & Lameness was glad to work with Snow on the marketing of that book.

Snow also wrote a chapter in the text Diagnosis and Management of Lameness in the Horse by Ross and Dyson.

He first appeared on the Hoofcare & Lameness radar screen in 1990, when he partnered with the late farrier Don Birdsall, also of California, in one of the first vet-farrier teams to give lectures and demonstrations on hoof-related problems. Their 1990 AAEP and AFA presentations launched a new era of hoof balance study and their AAEP paper Specific Parameters Used to Evaluate Hoof Balance and Support became a hoof science classic reference.

Among the many tributes to Van Snow is one from a special customer, Flag Is Up Farm in Solvang, California, owned by Monty and Pat Roberts. Pat Roberts told the Santa Maria Times : “I called Monty in Germany this morning and he was devastated. Our mutual friends are reeling with shock and sadness for his family. He was the best vet west of the Mississippi, a friend told me.”

Dr. John Madigan, director of the School of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital at UCDavis told the paper, "Dr. Snow’s contribution to equine medicine and surgery was invaluable. His findings are what veterinarians use today for reference material. Dr. Snow was a valued member of the equine community and we are proud to have him graduate from UC Davis."

Snow owned Santa Lucia Farm, a rehabilitation and breeding farm in Santa Ynez, California.

According to Quarter Horse News, a private burial service is planned for Saturday, April 17. On Sunday, April 18, a barbecue and celebration of Snow's life will be held at Santa Lucia Farm.

Click here to read the longer but less horse-specific article in the Santa Maria Times. Thanks to Tom Trosin for his help with this article, and deepest sympathy to Van Snow's family and friends and to all the horses that I know he would have helped in the future.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sad news indeed. We need more veterinarians like him (who fly non-experimental aircraft).