In October of 2017, Esther, a beloved member of our family, was facing a health emergency. What started as a totally normal day, very quickly became a nightmare when she started to tremble, struggle to take a breath, and began to turn blue. It was one of the most horrifying experiences of our lives.
She was immediately rushed to the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), at the University of Guelph, where some of the world’s best large animal veterinarians got to work trying to figure out what was wrong with her. Unfortunately, we quickly ran out of options when we discovered that Esther was too large to fit in the diagnostic imaging equipment that was available to us.
We immediately began looking for other options, including other University Hospitals, Equine Facilities, even Canada's largest zoos but nobody in Canada had the equipment she needed. With no other options, we even considered taking Esther to New York for diagnostic testing. But that created a whole new set of issues, including the safety of transporting her while injured, government mandated quarantine requirements, and a laundry list of other concerns. Things that shouldn't even have been a consideration when you've got a loved one in the hospital.
We were faced with the unbelievably challenging decision of taking Esther across the border to the United States where multiple facilities had the scanner we needed, or, staying home, and hoping she continued to show signs of improvement (while never really knowing what caused the problem). We had been backed into a corner, and none of the options available to us were acceptable. We started asking hard questions, like what happens to the countless horses, and zoo animals that don't fit standard equipment? What do they do in emergency situations, and they've run out of options at home? The answers we got weren't good, and we couldn't believe nobody had made a bigger issue of it, until now.
Not willing to take no for an answer, we decided that something needed to be done. If this was happening to us, it had happened before, and will happen again to somebody else. We couldn't sit back and wait for the next emergency, so we acted. In late December 2017, we entered into a contract with the manufacturer of the largest and most advanced Large Animal Scanner in the world. It will be the first of its kind in Canada (one of only a handful in the world) and a game changer in the field of Large Animal Diagnostic Imaging.
As part of the agreement we made with OVC, all registered charities with a focus on Animal Rescue will have access to the machine at no cost, by way of a 25% discount applied to your bill* (certain terms, conditions, and limitations do apply) Not only do we want everybody to have access to the machine, but we want to make sure it's not cost prohibitive for Sanctuaries and/or Rescue Organizations to utilize when needed.
What Are We Gonna Do About It?
Enter, The Pegaso™. This incredible piece of equipment represents a QUANTUM LEAP in diagnostic, interventional, and intraoperative imaging. It has a 1.2-meter (3.94 feet) variable geometry tilting gantry, so large that it's able to scan the head and neck of a standing horse! The resulting images feature 3D resolution that is up to 1481 times higher than a conventional CT, while using significantly less radiation. Fluoroscopy is also available with the simple push of a button, allowing the Pegaso™ to deliver soft and hard tissue imaging that is so stunning, the world has never seen anything like it.
Pegaso™ uses Epica's™ new, patent pending technology to provide micro CT quality resolution and soft tissue contrast that makes viewing micro fractures, ligament tears, even previously impossible-to-see lesions, simple. Interventional and interoperative imaging is also extraordinarily simple thanks to the flexible and mobile design, resulting in a multi-modality masterpiece that outperforms solo designed systems in each respective modality.
The system comes with acquisition and viewing software built-in, including all types of 3D rendering and modeling. Support may also be given by remote control of the system at any time via a WiFi connection. Whether the focus is on utility, quality, simplicity, or flexibility; Pegaso™ HD 3D technology changes everything! With a quick and intuitive workflow, and clever ergonomic features, owning a Pegaso™ will dramatically improve the way OVC can image, diagnose, and treat large animals.
As a Sanctuary, we are incredibly lucky to have The Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) just 30 minutes away from our farm, in the City of Guelph, Ontario. Founded in 1862, OVC is the oldest veterinary college in North America and a recognized international leader in advancing veterinary science, education and health care for animals, people, and our environment. They are currently ranked first in Canada, and among the top 10 worldwide for veterinary science. When we approached OVC with our idea of bringing the Pegaso™ to Canada, they immediately mobilized a team to help us make it happen.
With a rich history of excellence in innovation, education, and service, OVC excels at developing highly qualified personnel through programs at the undergraduate, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, graduate, and specialist levels. They prepare future veterinarians to practice state-of-the-art medicine, sustain the bond between people and their animals, and protect their health through research, and disease prevention. Something the Pegaso™ will only make them better at!
OVC manages more than 17,000 hospital visits every year at their Health Sciences Centre, providing everything from advanced cancer treatment, to specialized referral care and emergency services, for animals of all shapes and sizes.
How Are We Going To Make It Happen?
To make all of this happen, we have until July 1st to raise $651,000CDN! It's a staggering figure, but that money represents an incredible opportunity to really do something good, so we aren't going to let it deter us.
To keep things interesting, we've created several unique “Perks” that are only going to be available during this campaign. We'll be switching them out regularly too, so keep your eyes out for new and exciting opportunities to contribute to this monumental fundraiser. All Canadian and American donations are tax deductible, and eligible for a tax receipt. We'll also be providing regular updates on our progress via this website, and of course our various social media pages.
You can help us reach our goal by doing any number of things. Organize your own mini fundraiser, or special event. Share the campaign as often as possible with your family, friends, and colleagues. And please know that no contribution is too small, or insignificant. Every single dollar we raise will get us closer to the goal of providing life-saving diagnostic imaging services to large animals.
While Esther was the catalyst that got our wheels turning, the realization that so many animals could be treated and potentially saved by this device, was the driving force behind our decision to see this project through. Opportunities to do great things don't come along every day, but today is one of those days. Nobody should have to move mountains to gain access to the medical equipment they need for a family member. The acquisition of a Pegaso™ will change the game for large animals in Canada, and give many of them a fighting chance they just didn't have before.
This scanner will allow OVC to train future veterinarians in a way that was impossible before. They'll be able to better treat large animals, and study what happens to them as they age and/or injure themselves, thus allowing all of us as animal caregivers to provide better care for our friends. And, it will save lives in emergency situations, while providing piece of mind to countless people, because we'll finally have the tools they need to care for their loved ones, if/when a crisis occurs.