@hedtb36:State recognizes New Bolton's 'many species, one medicine,' with $13.5 million

@heds:Money to go to new isolation and high-risk facility.

@by:by Sara L. Hudson

@bod:Gov. Ed Rendell brought $13.5 million to New Bolton Center after completing a tour of New Bolton and personally feeding Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, a peppermint.

He presented the check on Thursday, June 8. The grant will be used for the building and completion of its isolation and high-risk facility.

University of Pennsylvania's Board of Trustees Jim Riepe and Veterinary School Dean Joan Hendrix accepted the check as local dignitaries and the press looked on.

"Barbaro is the perfect example of why we need to support this wonderful facility," Rendell said.

He said he was surprised when he looked into how much work New Bolton does, and the different aspects of research, such as the findings New Bolton has compiled as part of The Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory. Rendell stressed how important it is for the state to recognize such work with funding.

PADLS, a cooperative effort between the Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Pennsylvania, focuses on identifying and preventing animal diseases, with a lot of their facilities at New Bolton Center providing pathology, toxicology, microbiology and poultry diagnostic services. New Bolton works with many of the state's poultry farmer's to monitor for diseases such as avian influenza. With the help of New Bolton, PADLS was able to develop and implement a statewide avian flu surveillance program that involves the use of Geographic Information Systems technology.

Concern of avian flu could be high for Pennsylvania, as it is the third largest poultry producing state, Rendell said.

"It is not a question of will we have a pandemic, but when. Because of this diagnostic team we are better equipped to deal with a pandemic, but better equipped is not nearly enough, we need to be as well equipped as possible," he said.

Since New Bolton is actively working on the avian flu issue, as well as other work with animal disease, $1.5 million of the grant will be used for a chemical digestion facility that will use new technology that will safely and efficiently dispose of infectious waste.

The other $12.5 million will go toward a state of the art bio security isolation and high risk facility that will be able to separate those animals with serious or possible infectious diseases from others, while giving them the best care available.

The Widener Hospital, staffed by internationally renowned clinicians, already delivers critical data for cardiologists, orthopedists and other specialists, as well as trainers looking for performance evaluations and has a 24-hour, seven days a week emergency/critical care service that is the first of its kind in the nation.

Hendrix said that in the development of the new isolation facility's design, several bio-security facilities were visited in the creation of the architectural lay out and structure, ensuring that New Bolton's facility will be of the highest caliber available.

Improvements will include additional capacity, a colic barn with specialized treatment of horses with a variety of high-risk abdominal conditions, and a feeding system that ensures clean and uncontaminated food to all patients at New Bolton -- all of these improvements will be made with bio-security at the for-front of the design.

In a Kennett Paper and Chadds Ford Post article in February, Jane Simone, Director of Development for New Bolton, said the state had line-marked $30 million to go to New Bolton, but realized that "line-marked items are more like wish list." Rendell may have line items totally in the billions, but only a quarter of that to give, she had said. That statement was affirmed by the $13.5 finally awarded.

Simone's believes the new facility will cost between $60 and $70 million. She had hoped that if the state released a grant people in the area would see it as a sign of faith that the government has in New Bolton and support it with private donations.

Simone's opinion now is much of the same, "The money given will only cover construction costs, she said. "We are always working toward a targeted fundraising campaign and looking very keenly to what resources are available to us." Simone said she continues to hope that the people who use our services will continue to support New Bolton. She also said she realizes the need for new supporters. "New Bolton isn't just about caring for sick animals, other people need to realize that we do many great services for Pennsylvania."

Such accumulative donations as the Barbaro Fund can already be added to the cost of the equipment and patient care in the Widener Hospital.

"The Barbaro Fund is all about love, lots and lots of love," Hendrix said.

The Barbaro Fund started with a large anonymous donation and has continued to grow through the efforts of fans of Barbaro and New Bolton Center, Hendrix continued. So far the Barbaro Fund has totaled $552,249 in donations.

Hendrix said that in the past the center has been afraid of having to "turn animals away," due to concern of infectious spread, or limited space. "We could not have done this without public investment," Hendrix continued, "Now our facility will be as good as our people."

This is the first time public money has been used to improve New Bolton Center, and the first major expansion since it was founded in 1954.

When New Bolton was founded, it was founded with the philosophy, "many species, one medicine." With the growing concern of animal diseases, such as avian flu, and the impact they have on human health, this grant recognizes that philosophy and understands that humans are included in the many species New Bolton helps and doctors, Rendell said.

Widener Hospital sees more than 6,000 patients a year, which doesn't include the field service, which sees over 19,000 animals annually, at farms, breeders, horse training facilities and agricultural enterprises in the region.

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