In honor of the extraordinary efforts of globe-trotting veterinarians and technicians, a determined team of horse owners, and a remarkable 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, the Louisiana State University's School of Veterinary Medicine dedicated "The Lexi Suite" in the Equine Intensive Care Unit at the LSU Large Animal Hospital on Thursday, May 17.
Named in honor of Lexius (Lexi), owned by Ms. Julie Calzone & Mr. Robert Gardes, Lexi is the mare who presented LSU with the opportunity to cure uveitis in North America through a procedure known as a vitrectomy. The surgery is rarely performed and was unprecedented at LSU.
On September 22, 2006, Dr. Hartmut Gerhards from the Clinic for Horses of Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, Germany, worked collaboratively with Dr. Eric Storey, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, to perform the vitrectomy on Lexi's right eye. Assisting Dr. Gerhards was Dr. Bettina Wollanke of Munich.
The surgery would not have taken place without the help of Lexi's owners. Their generosity did not stop with the surgery; Calzone and Gardes have also established the Lexi Fund to dedicate financial resources toward clinical service, scientific investigation and education endeavors in the field of equine ophthalmology.
The dedication was attended by horse enthusiasts from around the state, as well as members of the faculty and staff of LSU's Equine Health Studies Program. "The event is a celebration of Lexi's journey and the remarkable efforts of all that were involved in her recovery, and a formal recognition of the incredible philanthropic support that has been demonstrated by her owners," said Dr. Eric Storey, Lexi's first ophthalmologist at LSU.
"Both Bob and I feel very strongly that Lexi called all the shots, including picking Dr. Storey and LSU," said Calzone. "We knew we simply had to stand by her while she led the way for a new life and new eye sight, not only for herself but for other horses in North America. She is a very special horse, and we all are fortunate that she chose us. If it weren't for Dr. Storey and LSU, none of this would have been possible."
This post was based on a news story provided to LSU staff; photo courtesy of LSU web site.