In July 2013, WSU said good-bye to a beloved and long-time member of the College of Veterinary Medicine. Shamal, a twenty-one year old Shagya Arabian gelding was originally presented in 2003 to the WSU-VTH for exercise intolerance and was treated for bacterial endocarditis involving his aortic and mitral valves. The gelding was used as an endurance horse but with the diagnosed heart condition, his owner made the decision to retire and donate him to WSU knowing that Shamal could provide a rich teaching experience for the veterinary program. Shamal not only fulfilled his owner’s intention with the hundreds of veterinary students and clinicians, who have listened to his heart, but the gelding also quickly became a favorite of the teaching herd horses for his kind demeanor. Some of his biggest fans were amongst the first year veterinary students of which there were many who until then had never worked around horses. A patient teacher, Shamal, helped these students learn about equine anatomy as a palpation horse.
After nearly a decade of being part of the WSU-VTH, in the past year Shamal began to show more progressive signs of heart failure despite medical therapy. Though a difficult decision it was decided that humane euthanasia was in his best interest. He went peacefully in his quiet and gentle way. Many students and clinicians came to pay their respects to Shamal, each with their own story to share of his impact on their lives. In the words of one instructor, “he has taught hundreds of students to become veterinarians…more than I could ever hope to do…”
Shamal will long be remembered in the hearts of the many.