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Lifestyle | 7th November 2019
 

Cumbria’s horseman

 
 
 

Penton Discussion Group met at Skitby House Smithfield on Monday 4th November strong there was a strong turnout of almost 50 members

Guest Speaker for the evening was Tom Barr accompanied by his wife and business partner Eileen

Tom is a veterinary surgeon with over 50 experience, working with large animals and horses.
 Tom has developed a particular interest in the benefits of immunology, working with many local racehorse trainers; he had gained real insight and experience in the equine world.
After retiring from practice he was able to follow this passion and fascination, with the health requirements of the new born foal, by further developing technology in the transfusion of equine plasma. He and his wife Eileen set up Veterinary Immunogenics business in 1992
Tom  & Eileen farm near Penrith on Tom’s original family farm, the dairy herd has long gone, as this proved to be unsustainable.
 This has been gradually replaced over the years with heavy horses, now totaling 43, alongside these they run  a small herd of highland cattle.
 The horses are looked after with utmost care they have free roam of the pastures land and access to housing if required. Their diet and well being is monitored by a team of 8 on a daily basis. Every 4 to 6 weeks plasma is harvested from their blood. This procedure takes around 4 hours, animals are monitored before during and after the procedure, and it is estimated that the horse makes the plasma up naturally again within 4 – 8 hours of donating.
No side effects are usually recorded; the horse has to be in prime health before donating. The plasma is separated from the blood during extraction, by using an intricate piece of kit that spins at extremely high speed similar to a centrifuge. Each and every bag of plasma is strictly analysed and only the very best quality is retained and frozen, this all has to meet with scrupulous British and EU laws

New born foals are tested at birth to check they have enough immunity in their blood, to give them the best possible start in life. If they are not showing the optimum levels they can be given a transfusion of plasma donated by these horses, to boost their natural immune system. The utilizing of this equine plasma  is a real bonus and considered essential in the breeding world.
Toms dedication to the furthering development of technology in transfusion medicine is evident in his passion and enthusiasm for topic. The benefits of this research may be only scratching the surface of future developments

The group was captivated by Tom’s revelations, into this corner of the equine world, and chairman Ian Imerie thanked them both for their inspirational talk

 
 
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