South Shore Equine Clinic & Diagnostic Center
Equine Veterinary Services South Shore Boston Massachusetts

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What is one of the biggest fears when owning and caring for a horse?

What is one of the biggest fears when owning and caring for a horse?   A lot of people would probably answer, “An emergency in the middle of the night”.  Surely, Leo M. was feeling that way when he and his family were woken up at 4 am on the morning of September 4th by their dogs barking after hearing a noise in the barn behind their house.  What  Leo found was their wonderful barrel horse, Smoke, who had just won Champion that day in New York, was now at home standing with half of his upper left eyelid torn off, having sustained some type of trauma while in his stall early that morning.  Leo began calling veterinarians in the area and was able to get a hold of Dr. Stratton, who quickly returned his emergency page.  The owner’s wrapped a bandage around Smoke’s head, covering the left eye to prevent further trauma, and got him on their trailer to bring him straight to the clinic for evaluation and hopefully to repair the lacerated eyelid.

 On arrival, Smoke’s upper left eyelid was torn (similar to what is shown in the picture here-this patient was not Smoke).  After a general physical examination, Smoke was sedated and a full examination of the eye was performed.  Smoke received anti-inflammatory medications to help with the swelling that had begun to occur.  The examination found that he had remarkably not sustained any injury to his eyeball.  Given the location of the laceration, repair would require very careful suturing to appose the edges correctly and give Smoke the best functional and cosmetic outcome.  After suturing, Smoke was placed on broad spectrum oral antibiotics, a topical antibiotic to the left eye and anti-inflammatories.  Rechecks were scheduled every 3-4 days for evaluation of the repair.  The owner’s had to be very careful to monitor Smoke for any rubbing or discomfort, as this may potentially cause trauma to the globe itself, as well as damage the sutures placed.  At each recheck, the initial swelling was decreasing and Smoke’s sutures were holding well.   Finally, eleven days later, Smoke’s sutures were removed (picture 2, Smoke) and his eye was almost completely back to normal.

At suture removal
Photo taken at suture removal

The success in this case can be attributed to a variety of factors including:  immediate action by the owner recognizing their horse has suffered a potentially very serious injury which could threaten his athletic career, an immediate veterinary response and thorough evaluation, appropriate monitoring and recheck examinations, as well as excellent care and monitoring at home by his owners.  Leo and his wife are very appreciative of Dr. Stratton taking the time to explain everything that she was doing and why, and also liked the personal follow up by the doctor. They are very thankful to have their barrel horse back, and Smoke is happy to be able to compete once again.

Dr. Stratton and the other doctors and staff at South Shore Equine Clinic are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year for you and your horse.  We can come to your farm (if we have been there before), or utilize our fully equipped state of the art hospital on Route 58 in Plymouth is ready and available for any emergency, any time of day.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for you and your horse. Give us a call at 781.585.2611 we can help.

Click here for more information about emergencies.