Impaled Horse Nears Release from Hospital

A horse that has gained a worldwide following for his recovery from a freak accident could be cleared to go home by the week of April 5, according to his veterinarians at the University of Tennessee Equine Hospital.

Since January, Amigo, a 10-year-old endurance horse, has been fighting for his life after a three-foot-long tree branch somehow pierced his side. The branch broke two ribs and collapsed a lung. In the last several weeks, Amigo has battled infection in the large wound.

One of his attending veterinarians, Nicholas Frank DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, said the biggest concern now is managing the tissue in the wound that is breaking down as it heals from the inside out. Frank adds that as long as the infection is contained and continues to drain, Amigo's toxin levels will stay low, reducing his risk for laminitis.

Impalements are nothing new to Frank, but he says what makes Amigo's case unique is the way the horse has battled through several life threatening situations. "His ability to work through these situations is just remarkable," Frank said.

Amigo's fight has touched thousands who have followed daily postings from owner Gary Sanderson in a Facebook group. And donors have helped cover most of the $25,000 veterinary bill. One anonymous donor sent in $11,600, according to Sanderson.

That generosity has prompted Sanderson to help establish the Amigo Legacy of Hope Fund at the University of Tennessee. Donations will be set aside in a fund to help cover the large veterinary bill of another critically injured horse.

"I hope this saves someone else from the financial burden while they're going through this emotional experience, it just gives me a good feeling to do this," Sanderson said. "This is just something that really has become bigger than me."

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Liz Brown

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