07/08/2014 5:18PM

Equine veterinarian Byars dies at age 70


Noted equine veterinarian T. Douglas Byars, D.V.M., died Monday at his home in Georgetown, Ky. He was 70.

Byars, a native of San Francisco, Calif., received his undergraduate degree in biology from California Polytechnic University, and later earned his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of California at Davis. He authored more than 75 articles in professional publications and trade journals.

Byars was a tenured professor in the University of Georgia‘s college of Veterinary Medicine before joining the Lexington, Ky., equine practice of Hagyard, Davidson, and McGee, later renamed Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, in 1983, becoming head of equine medicine.

In addition to his work at Hagyard, Byars served on the Kentucky Governor’s Task Force on mare reproductive loss syndrome when MRLS struck a blow to Kentucky’s horse population in the early 2000s. Byars also helped start the Equine Health and Welfare Alliance, served on the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council, and was the lead veterinarian at Old Friends Equine retirement facility.

Byars was the first private equine veterinarian to receive the Robert W. Kirk Award for professional excellence from the American College of Veterinary and Internal Medicine, earning that honor in 2007.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 19, at First Presbyterian Church in Georgetown, Ky., beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern.

Byars is survived by his wife of 46 years, Susan Byars, daughter Carrie Byars Kilfoil, son Jeremy Byars, and grandson Rowan Kilfoil, among other family members. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hospice of the Bluegrass or Old Friends.