Brentina on the Mend After Colic Surgery

Olympian Debbie McDonald reported Feb. 12 that her equine partner Brentina had downed her first four meals, consisting of soaked timothy pellets, following surgery Feb. 10 to remove an impaction from her small intestine.

McDonald, of Hailey, Id., and the 18-year-old Hanoverian mare were in California for the winter when Brentina colicked. The mare was shipped to Humphrey, Giacopuzzi & Associates Equine Hospital in Somis, Calif., where staff veterinarian Nicole Johnson, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, performed the surgery and is supervising Brentina's recovery.

Brentina's bowel did not have to be resected, indicating a greater likelihood of a positive outcome. Still, colic surgery is major surgery, and the mare will remain hospitalized for at least 10 more days, according to reports.

McDonald, who can't be with Brentina the entire time because of competition commitments, released a photo postcard that hospital staff sent to her. The photo is of an IV-wearing Brentina in her stall, head turned quizzically toward the camera and one ear cocked. The caption reads "HI MOM!!!" and concludes with "wish they would feed me more!!!" (Brentina, a notoriously easy keeper who fights the battle of the bulge, was reportedly pinning her ears in annoyance because she wasn't happy with the lack of rations.)

Citing patient confidentiality, a hospital spokeswoman declined to comment on Brentina's condition.

About the Author

Jennifer O. Bryant

Jennifer O. Bryant is editor-at-large of the U.S. Dressage Federation's magazine, USDF Connection. An independent writer and editor, Bryant contributes to many equestrian publications, has edited numerous books, and authored Olympic Equestrian. More information about Jennifer can be found on her site,

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