To the editor:
I am writing to express my disappointment in the Gloucester Daily Times over the May 3 story about Seaview Farm and the equine coronavirus outbreak there in April.
You missed sharing with your readers the real story of the outbreak — namely, the wonderful collaboration among barn owners Ken and Regina Lane, Dr. Kelly Butterworth (SRH Veterinary Services), Dr. Leah Limone (Parrott Equine), Drs. Jacqueline Bartol and Katy Raynor (New England Equine Surgical and Medical Center, Dover, N.H.), UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, and the entire Seaview barn community, to both contain the outbreak and determine its cause.
My horse was one of two horses that were hospitalized as a result of the virus. At the time, no one knew why they were so sick, as multiple tests had all come back negative.
Then, Dr. Butterworth posted our horse's symptoms on a global veterinary internal medicine board. Researchers at University of California at Davis, who recognized the symptoms from similar outbreaks they had handled in California, replied with a preliminary diagnosis of equine coronavirus. They offered to test all the horses at Seaview at no charge and were able to confirm their diagnosis.
My understanding is that the outbreak at Seaview versus another barn was a random tragedy in much the same way a tornado touching down in one town versus another is random. But how the tragedy was handled was far from random.
Members of the Seaview Farm community, supported by the veterinarians from SRH and Parrott Equine, joined Ken and Regina in taking the temperatures of every horse on the farm (about 30) twice a day for more than 2 weeks, tracking the course of the illness, and immediately managing the symptoms of any horse showing signs of being sick.
Wendy Prendergast, whose beautiful horse, Aesop, died from complications from the virus, sent his body to Tufts for an autopsy in hopes of saving other horses from a similar fate. Just about every member of the Seaview community attended a meeting hosted by Ken and Regina at which Drs. Butterworth and Limone answered our questions and gave us guidance. Ken personally, and at no charge, trailered the two very sick horses to the hospital in New Hampshire and picked them up a week later when they were released.
I invite the Times to do another story, this time on the caring barn community that Ken and Regina have created at Seaview Farm.
We are fortunate to have such a lovely farm in our midst in Rockport. And if you're in the neighborhood of Lane's Farm Way, I hope you'll walk by and see all the healthy, happy horses there, including mine.
LESLIE J. KAGAN