Grand National 2016: Veterinary support team

Meet the equine experts from our Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital who are providing veterinary support at this year’s Grand National Festival.

Dr Ellen Singer is a Senior Lecturer in Equine Orthopaedics. She has a long history of involvement with the Grand National Festival and this will be her fifteenth year as part of the veterinary team at Aintree.

“My role during the Grand National Festival is to oversee the on-site Veterinary Clinic at Aintree where horses are examined and treated. A key part of my job is to provide clear and considered advice to trainers and owners of the horses in our care.

“I have a passion for working with equine athletes, and in addition to working at Aintree, I also provide veterinary care at Haydock Park Racecourse and at numerous three-day events, such as Bramham Park, Blenheim Palace and Weston Park, throughout the year.

“As an academic member of staff I’m also involved in research at the University to better understand, and therefore prevent, injuries to racehorses. Currently, I’m conducting research to improve understanding of how different racing surfaces can alter the forces placed on the lower limb bones of the racehorse, with the ultimate goal of being able to prevent injuries from happening.

“In a teaching capacity, I also coordinate the equine welfare module for the University of Liverpool’s Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA.”

Senior Lecturer Padraig Kelly is a Royal college and European Specialist in Equine Surgery with more than 10 years of experience in the treatment of racehorses in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.

“For this year’s Grand National Festival I’ll be acting as liaison between our clinicians at the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital, the on course vets and Aintree’s Clerk of the course. Should a horse require transfer to Leahurst then it’s my job to ensure the smooth and efficient transfer of care between both sets of treating vets.

“As well as providing specialist surgical services at Leahurst, I am currently carrying out research into improving the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory problems that affect horses during exercise. Using a technique called dynamic endoscopy, which allows a small endoscope to be inserted into a horse’s nostril during a race, we are able to visualise the throat and upper respiratory tract during exercise, including full galloping speed, to better understand these issues.”

Veterinary Residents Cajsa Isgren, Giulia Lipreri and Anna Ehrle are all part of the University of Liverpool’s team of treating vets assisting at this year’s Grand National Festival.

Cajsa: “I’m the senior resident in Equine Surgery as the hospital, and this will be my second year assisting Ellen and the other vets at the Aintree Grand National.

“As well as my clinical work I’m currently working towards my Masters and will also be sitting my European Diploma in Equine Surgery next year.”

Guilia: “I was first introduced to the Thoroughbred industry during an internship in 2012 at the Fethard Equine Hospital in Ireland.

“Last year I was lucky enough to complete a Surgery Internship in the USA where I got to experience different aspects of the Thoroughbred industry, from the breeding, to the sales, to the racing.

“I started my Equine Surgery Residency at the University of Liverpool last August, and alongside my clinical duties am currently conducting studies on fractures of the proximal phalanx in racehorses.”

Anna: “I qualified as at vet in Berlin in 2010 and gained my first experience with racetrack support during an internship at a busy equine surgery unit in Berlin. After a short spell at the Hong Kong Jockey Club I worked in UK equine practice and also acted as team vet for the victorious Guangdong team at the Chinese National Games in 2013.

“I came to Leahurst as a surgical resident in 2014 and have been conducting studies into back pain in performance horses alongside‎ my clinical duties.”

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