Irish Sports Horse
Equine Internal Medicine and Critical Care Specialists
Diagnostic Imaging Specialists
Clinical Pathology Specialists
Willow, a 12-year old Irish Sports Horse gelding was found lying down and unable to stand. Read how specialists got him back on his feet.
Before visiting the Specialist
Willow was found down in a stable and unable to stand. The primary care vet was called to see him first thing in the morning and on this occasion, the surgery specialist went out to see him. He was assisted to stand with the aid of a sling and a tractor and was transported to a local referral centre.
On arrival, it was imperative to work out why Willow had become recumbent and certain diseases that would have been very painful needed to be ruled out such as fractures. No fractures were found, but due to the recumbency it became clear that Willow’s muscles were severely damaged from him having been lying on them for so long and cutting off the blood supply. The main concern when the muscles of horses are damaged is that they release a product called myoglobin that can then go on and damage the kidneys. Because Willow was weak and we were concerned he would lie down and not get up again, he was maintained in a sling. Initially Willow was treated with intravenous fluids to help provide fluids to the muscles and the kidneys and pain relief. A lot of his care involved the amazing team of nurses that we work with who ensured his cuts and grazes were dressed, that he had water and food that was easy to reach and that he didn’t develop further sores from the sling that he was in. He remained quite weak for 7 days and stayed in a special padded stable for that time, but only remained in the sling for 48 hours. After this time he started to gradually walk short distances and spend time in a small paddock to help re-build the muscles that had wasted whilst he had been still in the sling and the box.
Willow required specialist care for 10 days that involved medicine and emergency and critical care specialists, surgery, imaging and clinical pathology specialists.
He remained quite weak for 7 days and stayed in a special padded stable for that time, but only remained in the sling for 48 hours. After this time, he started to gradually walk short distances and spend time in a small paddock to help re-build the muscles that had wasted whilst he had been still in the sling and the box. He is now turned out in a paddock still re-gaining muscle, but can lie down and canter and buck again. He is due to return to work in a few months.
Article provided by Gayle Hallowell RCVS and American Specialist in Large Animal and Equine Internal Medicine and Emergency and Critical Care
University of Nottingham