They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Not If These Equine Innovators Can Help It

Four years ago, Phil Yarbrough’s horse Mercedes broke her leg and ripped apart her knee while running in her pasture outside Atlanta.

“She went over a hill, and she did not come back up,” Yarbrough said.

Conventional wisdom suggests that horses with broken legs can’t be saved. Hundreds of racehorses with injured limbs are euthanized each year. In June, a horse named Helwan was euthanized after he broke a bone on the same track where, hours later, American Pharoah won the Triple Crown

But Yarbrough wasn’t willing to consider this fate for his horse.

“She’s like a kid to me,” he said.

Veterinarians at the University of Georgia operated on Mercedes’ leg. Yarbrough remembers that the doctors gave the Arabian horse a 30 percent chance of recovery before the operation to put titanium plates in her shattered appendage. A little way into the nine-hour procedure, the surgeon came out to say that the odds might be even lower.

Yarbrough was asked if he wanted to euthanize Mercedes. He recalls being worried that keeping her alive might be “selfish.” Still, he opted to go on with the surgery.

For the next year, Mercedes was in and out of the hospital, recovering from the surgery and then dealing with hard-to-treat infections and a couple of bouts with a serious inflammatory disease called laminitis.

Yarbrough and his wife Christine came to visit, bringing their horse bags of clover.

Before Mercedes’ release, Yarbrough was concerned that her leg hadn’t yet completely healed and that it would be prone to another injury unless she was essentially confined to a stall for the rest of her life.

Yarbrough wasn’t willing to consider confinement. So he went looking for another option. That’s how he met Ronnie Graves.

Graves, who runs VIP Veterinary Inclusive Prosthetics and Orthotics in Florida, is among a growing —> Read More

Woman Sees For The First Time In Years Thanks To Bionic Eye

More than a decade after losing her eyesight, Carmen Torres can finally see again, thanks to a bionic eye and a first-of-its-kind surgery.

I was happy and I was just laughing like crazy,” Torres told reporters at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami on Friday, describing what it felt like to see light after so many years in the dark. “It was very emotional, but I’m very strong. I didn’t cry.”

Torres, 58, began losing her sight at the age of 18 due to retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative genetic disease in which eyesight degrades over time. By the time she reached 45 she was completely blind, the Miami Herald reports.

Things began to look up in November of last year, when Torres underwent a procedure to install the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, in the first surgery of its kind in Florida.

Her doctor acknowledged the procedure itself was fairly complicated and involved many intricate steps.

“It’s a meticulous technique,” Dr. Nina Gregori told reporters, one that requires “exact, precise measurements of where to place these components on the eye and we really took our time.”

The system works by translating images from a small video camera affixed to Torres’ glasses into electrical signals, which are then beamed to a tiny implant in her eye. Those electrical impulses stimulate the retina and the brain interprets them as light, allowing Torres to “see.”

Only about 100 patients worldwide have received the implant so far, according to the hospital. The system received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2013.

Over time, Torres learned how to understand the visuals — which she said was —> Read More

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