Blue Jean Baby’s Extremely Rare Diagnosis: A CEH Success Story

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   Have you ever witnessed something considered rare or unusually unique? Blue Jean Baby’s owner witnessed a rarity firsthand when her pony was diagnosed with a disease that was only ever documented once in the veterinary medical literature! Keep reading to see what has made Blue Jean Baby famous in the veterinary world!

Get to Know Blue Jean Baby!

Blue Jean Baby is a sweet, feisty, and wonderful 20-year-old pony who takes great care of her young rider.

Blue Jean Baby is ridden regularly by her young rider and up to date on her respiratory virus vaccines (equine influenza and equine herpes 1 and 4) and got them every 6 months. Before that time, Blue Jean Baby had never dealt with any respiratory problems. There was no history of cough or exercise intolerance, and there was no evidence of disease in other horses on the premises. Her owner noticed some bloody mucous coming from her nose and some slight breathing noises.

Clinical Findings

When Blue Jean Baby arrived at Carolina Equine Hospital, she was bright and alert, and her vitals were all within normal limits. Her body condition scored a 6/9, she had a respiratory rate of 16 breaths per minute, and she was breathing with normal effort while at rest. She had blood tinged mucus coming out of one nostril. Dr. Mark Wallace was on the case and quickly set out to see what was causing her symptoms.


Dr. Wallace did an upper airway endoscopy (scope), and when the scope entered the throat, there was a complete collapse of the airway accompanied by severe anxiety. Dr. Wallace immediately performed an emergency tracheotomy.

After he rescoped the pony’s trachea, Dr. Wallace found severe thickening, ulcerations, and hemorrhaging of the tracheal lining. He took some samples to send to the lab.

The test returned a diagnosis of a fungal infection of the trachea, caused by a fungus that is typically only seen in sub-tropical climates.

Post Treatment Care

Blue Jean Baby was treated with several antifungal medications and her tracheostomy was maintained until she could safely breathe on her own.  She was hospitalized at Carolina Equine Hospital for several weeks.

After multiple follow up scopings, Blue Jean Baby’s condition improved, and she was able to go back home to be with her little girl. Within a few months she had made a complete recovery and was back to being ridden.

Blue Jean Baby’s diagnosis was so rare that it had only been described once previously in the veterinary literature! Dr. Wallace has had this unusual case published in the prestigious journal, Equine Veterinary Education.

Carolina Equine Hospital

If your horse is showing signs of discomfort or isn’t behaving like himself, do not hesitate to contact your vet. It is always better to have your vet out sooner than later. Give us a call at the office or make an appointment!