A Near Fatal Injury Gets a Happy Ending: A CEH Success Story

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Meet Sasquatch, a lively miniature horse gelding that has the face of an angel and a forelock that just won’t quit! Keep reading to find out how the team at Carolina Equine Hospital helped Sasquatch come recover from his accident and back to his former glory!

Finding Sasquatch 

When his owners found him, Sasquatch’s right hind leg was caught in a fence. Even though he wasn’t caught in the fence for very long, it was obvious that he had struggled greatly to free himself. Poor Sasquatch seemed exhausted, and he was covered in sweat. 

Once he was sedated, Dr. Mielnicki and Dr. Sheppard used wire cutters to free his leg from the fence. Afterward, the doctors performed a full assessment of his injuries. He had a puncture wound on the leg that had been caught in the fence, and the left side of his face was dramatically swollen. Dr. Mielnicki and Dr. Sheppard did some x-rays of the limb and revealed no fractures but x-rays of Sasquatch’s skull were far less straightforward! He had a non-displaced fracture of a bone at the base of his skull – the basisphenoid bone! Sasquatch’s owners and the CEH vets made the decision to take him to Carolina Equine Hospital to receive more advanced care.

The basisphenoid bone is located at the base of the skull. Fracture of this bone can result in life-threatening hemorrhage and severe neurologic signs due to its proximity to the brainstem. Horses may bleed from the nostrils, or they may bleed internally. Accumulation of blood within the head and throatlatch area may be severe enough to obstruct the airway, causing difficulty breathing or sudden death. Care of this type of fracture involves supportive care and stall rest. Ultimately, the fracture will heal with tincture of time (several weeks), if life-threatening complications do not arise. The prognosis for full recovery, however, is quite guarded. A committed owner, a dedicated medical team, and a willing patient are vital components for survival.


Hospital Stay

Once he arrived at CEH, his face and throat latch area continued to swell. He began to snore quietly with each breath and blood began to trickle from his left nostril. A tracheostomy kit sat outside of his stall in the event Sasquatch ever stopped breathing. While at the hospital, his treatment was focused on slowing and then decreasing the swelling. Because of the location of the fracture, keeping him still was vital. He was not allowed to eat or drink anything on his own, so he was supplemented with IV fluids until he was more stable. Sasquatch’s medical team was concerned – the next 24 hours were going to be critical.

The Road To Recovery

With round-the-clock care provided by his Carolina Equine Hospital support team, Sasquatch’s swelling stopped and slowly resolved. While he still had weeks of healing ahead of him, the immediate concerns of Sasquatch’s supporters began to diminish. Much to Sasquatch’s enjoyment, he was finally allowed to eat on his own! After several worry-filled days, Sasquatch’s medical team deemed him stable enough to be sent home to be cared for by his dedicated owners.

Current Sasquatch Status

Approximately 2 weeks after he was discharged from the hospital, Dr. Boyer and Dr. Sheppard went to visit Sasquatch and to take some follow-up-rays. The fracture was healing and his leg wound had scabbed over, with no residual lameness! Sasquatch is now several weeks out from the initial incident. He continues to do well at home and will cautiously, gradually return to a more normal lifestyle. 

Carolina Equine Hospital   

Is your horse in trouble? Does something seem a bit off? If you ever have any questions about horse care or an emergency equine situation, please do not hesitate to call us! We are available for emergencies 24/7 and the veterinarian on call can be reached by calling the office (336-349-4080) and then one at the answering machine, choose option one. We are also available for non-emergencies from 8-5, M-F. Give us a call!