The level of nursing care needed by ill or post-surgical horses who have returned home often falls somewhere between the capabilities of the horse owner and what is provided by a veterinarian. To fill that gap, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton Center, in Kennett Square, Pa., is launching an Equine Home Nursing Care Program called Equi-Assist. The program will provide compassionate care at home, and officially begins on Dec. 6; it is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, and possibly the world.

Margaret Hamilton Duprey, a well-respected lifelong horsewoman in Chester County, Pa., played a pivotal role in the creation of the program. It was through personal experience with her own horses, at home, that she recognized the need for a service offering qualified, experienced professional care to bridge the gap between hospital and home care, and that which the horse owner could safely and competently provide on his or her own. Once the idea was born, she was instrumental in guiding the design of the program, and she made a magnanimous gift to see it realized.

"I'm thrilled to see a dream, a vision and a program setting quality of care standards for equine health, become a reality," said Duprey.

The Equi-Assist program will make available high-quality clinical and post-hospitalization nursing services to equine patients at their home barn or layup facility. The continuity of care provided for the equine patient that has been discharged from New Bolton Center will improve the patient's chances for a speedier and more complete recovery. Wound management, eye care, intravenous medications an