Gustavo Zanotto joined the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) on January 10 as a clinical assistant professor of equine sports medicine and lameness.

The EMC is a Leesburg, Virginia-based teaching hospital of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, which is on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The EMC is a full-service equine hospital and 24-hour emergency treatment center that recently bolstered its sports medicine capability with the dedication of the Jane and Stephen Hale Equine Performance Evaluation Center.   

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Zanotto moved at an early age to Curitiba, the capital and largest city in the state of Paraná in southern Brazil. There he grew up riding horses on a family farm, focusing his attention on show jumping and a little dressage. Zanotto always believed that he would work with horses and as he progressed through his veterinary education, he found his calling in the field of equine sports medicine. 

In 2008, Zanotto completed his veterinary degree at Federal University of Paraná in Brazil followed by an internship at University of Sao Paulo (USP), also in Brazil, in 2009. He stayed on at USP to complete a research fellowship before completing his master's degree in veterinary surgery in 2012. 

Moving to the United States in 2013, he joined Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, completing an internship in equine musculoskeletal radiology in 2015, before staying on for an equine sports medicine and rehabilitation residency, which he completed in 2019. During this residency Zanotto also successfully completed a Ph.D. in Clinical Science. 

 “Moving to Colorado from Brazil was exciting and was a great experience for the seven years that I was there,” Zanotto said.  Learning to snowboard and enjoying the mountains was a bonus.” 

In 2020 Zanotto joined Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, as a clinical assistant professor of equine sports medicine and imaging, moving into the position of service chief for the department in 2022. 

Veterinary professional examining a horse.
Gustavo Zanotto evaluating a horse at the Equine Medical Center. Photo by Sharon Peart for Virginia Tech.

Zanotto’s interest in the Mid-Atlantic region began after he spent time with Kent Allen, a veterinarian who owns Virginia Equine Imaging in Middleburg, Virginia. 

Zanotto came to love the location, and due to his desire to continue to work in academia, the EMC looked like a good fit. Staying in academia would allow Zanotto to continue to focus on clinical work while also being able to teach and work on research projects that particularly interested him. This coupled with the high level of competition venues and athletic horses in the Mid-Atlantic region, and the suite of imaging modalities and comprehensive evaluation facilities for equine athletes at the EMC were driving factors to Zanotto accepting his new position. 

Fresh in Zanotto’s memory are the struggles that he experienced during his learning journey which drives him to pay particular attention to students, interns and residents that rely on clear and precise direction. 

 “One of the challenges of teaching as a specialist in a particular field is to ensure that confidence is supported and students are encouraged to broaden their knowledge by reading academic papers, understanding the science behind the treatment and how to apply that science during the evaluation process,”  Zanotto said. 

Competing at equine events from an early age has provided Zanotto with a unique perspective on the work that an athletic horse is expected to do and how best to approach the treatment of sometimes complex performance-limiting issues in the equine athlete. As part of the faculty team at the EMC, Zanotto will focus his attention on the evaluation and treatment of equine athletic injuries. 

Zanotto plans to focus his research efforts on the diagnosis and treatment of sport horses with particular attention to joints, tendons and orthobiologic visionary medicine (regenerative medicine).

Written by Sharon Peart for the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.


Andrew Mann
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