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Everything Equine

By MARTIN HINTZ

 

Nobody at the Wisconsin Equine Clinic & Hospital in Oconomowoc cares if other members of the medical team spend their days horsing around. After all, caring for the noble equus is their business.

The state-of-the-art veterinary hospital has the latest equipment and technology to diagnose and care for horses, whether a foal or a beloved "old gray mare." Its magnetic resonance imaging device for diagnosing injuries makes it one of only 16 such equine medical centers in the world with this advanced aid.

Dr. Robert Magnus,the hospital’s co-owner (with doctors Doug Langer and Rachel Bourne), founded the company in 1992. It now serves hundreds of clients in Wisconsin’s horse country, as well as "patients" from out-of-state. A client appreciation day to celebrate the firm’s 20th anniversary is set for Oct. 20 at the sprawling site, with its extensive stables, operating rooms and pastures.

Not only does the staff of doctors and other trained specialists care for the animals onsite, but it also visits farms and stables, says Magnus. "We’re the Mayo Clinic for horses," he chuckles, explaining how the staff can treat just about everything that affects these noble beasts, from colic to lameness and fertility issues. Since many of the horses are used in shows, "sports medicine" treatments are similar to those for professional human athletes, Magnus explains.

He and wife Gina, also a veterinarian who helped start the clinic, have 40 acres of their own near Oconomowoc. There, Fred, a massive Belgian, and Illuminaries, a gelding Paso Fina, can graze alongside flocks of ducks and chickens, the family’s cats and several dogs in the menagerie. The couple met while in the first veterinary class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Magnus has always been a horse lover, growing up on a farm in Elkhart Lake. He fondly remembers his boyhood hero, Hoss Cartwright, the lovable brother on the "Bonanza" television show. Others on the clinic staff are just as devoted, such as Sheila Barnes, the clinic’s COO and a certified vet technician, who doubles as a barrel racer and breeder. Farrier Kelley House regularly visits to care for hoof challenges.

The clinic’s mission is the same as if dealing with people. A good bedside manner is appreciated, even by horses.

A grand idea

Navigating downtown Milwaukee just became a lot easier for visitors and residents alike.

Milwaukee Downtown BID No. 21, along with the West Wisconsin Avenue Workgroup and The Marcus Corp., recently turned part of the former Grand Theatre, 214 W. Wisconsin Ave., into a Visitor and Newcomer Information Center. The center will be staffed by public service ambassadors. Much like the Traveling Information Kiosk or Bicycle Information Kiosk, visitors will be able to seek out ambassadors for all things Milwaukee in a year-round location.

"The goal of the information center is to build community downtown, and have people that are knowledgeable about the downtown area accessible to our visitors and residents," says Beth Nicols, Milwaukee Downtown executive director. "It can be compared to a concierge service, whether you are a day visitor or a new resident, it will provide you with information on where to eat lunch, trolley rides and times, concerts taking place, special events and show times, ticket information, and brochures and maps," says Nicols.

The West Wisconsin Avenue Workgroup — which was created by Mayor Tom Barrett to revitalize and bring activity to West Wisconsin Avenue — is also seeking local business partnerships that will promote downtown businesses through complimentary event tickets, product sampling and more. "Our goal is to develop weekly programming all summer long, mid-May through September," Nicols says. 

The Milwaukee Downtown Visitor and Newcomer Information Center will be open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 1-7:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday.

— Emily Shippee