Dr. Chris Bell is hoping to ride to the rescue of area horse owners and their mounts.
Bell, who moved to Headingley from Alberta last year, recently purchased Elder’s Equine Veterinarian Services in the Lido Plage area of Cartier. His new practice will focus exclusively on equine medicine.
His arrival is good news for local horse owners who previously had to ship their injured mounts to Saskatchewan or Alberta for life-saving surgery because there were no Manitoba-based equine surgeons.
"I am currently the only surgeon in the province and before that people would have to drive their horses to the practice in Calgary or to Saskatoon at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine," he said.
Bell said it is not uncommon for injured horses to be euthanized because of the time and money required to transport a horse out of province for surgery.
"I trained at the college in Saskatoon so we used to see horses there that had been shipped from Winnipeg," he said.
"It takes a few hours for them to get there so unfortunately a lot of them, especially if they had bad intestinal problems, they would be dead on the trailer. It just took them too much time to get there."
Guy Dearman, who boards horses in Woodlands, agrees. Dearman said he has seen many horses put down simply because it was too expensive to ship them elsewhere for surgery.
"With any horse you always weigh the cost of the horse against the time and money it would take to have them go to Saskatoon," he said. "If your horse is worth $10,000 you are willing to spend $5,000 on it, but without having surgeons here those costs can become excessive quickly."
Dearman said he expects Bell’s clinic to do steady business once more horse owners learn about it.
Bell said he is looking forward to building his practice up in the area and meeting horse owners in the region.