Hospitalized Saddlebred Continues to Heal

The one sabotaged Saddlebred still under treatment is recovering well, according to two veterinarians who have been treating the horse at Hagyard-Davidson-McGee (HDM) Associates in Lexington, Ky. However, they cannot say the gelding is completely out of the woods yet. Six-year-old Cats Don't Dance is currently sound and slowly responding to a combination of cutting-edge treatments including hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and growth factor treatments. His left front pastern, along with those of four of his stablemates, was injected with a necrotizing substance at the end of June. This gelding and only one other horse have survived the injuries resulting from the attack.

The other surviving horse, Sassational, has recovered well and is reportedly back in training. Cats Don't Dance's owner, Sally Jackson, had said that the filly probably received less of a dose of the substance than the horses which succumbed to the injuries.

Doug Byars, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, Dipl. ACVECC, head of the internal medicine unit at HDM, treated Cats Don't Dance for several days while the horse's usual attending veterinarian, Nathan Slovis, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, was out of town. Byars said about the horse, "He's doing well."

Those who have seen the horse in the last several days said he seems bright and interested in the goings-on of the clinic, dancing around his stall at times during the day.

Slovis said that the injured area on the horse's pastern is "granulating and contracting in nicely," and that he might discontinue HBOT by next week if the horse continues to improve. "Right now things are doing well. The wound is about a third of the size of when you last saw it (July 21, click here to see pictures of the injury).

"Every day he gets new Lacerum (A) placed on him," said Slovis, referring to the growth factor treatment being used that was made from Cats Don't Dance's own platelets (see article #4542).

Byars said, "He remains sound; the tissue is filling in response to what Dr. Slovis has worked up with the Lacerum product; so he's either responding to that, or all the other (treatments) that are going on.

"But I don't think anyone would be 100% comfortable (to say he's definitely in the clear) for another five to maybe seven days. The tendon is a slow thing to heal. Soft tissue can fill in (the hole in the pastern) pretty well, but tendons are a different ball game, because of the (reduced) blood supply." Byars said that with the other horses, the tendon slowly gave way or the horses foundered, requiring euthanasia.

Byars added, "Clincially we're pleased, but we don't want to get cavalier just yet."


About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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