Second Surgery Possible for Shot Massachusetts Horse

"Picaro," the horse from Spencer, Mass., brought last week to the Cummings School's Hospital for Large Animals at Tufts University with gunshot wounds, will undergo additional testing and a possible second surgery today.

A surgery on Friday to remove bullets from Picaro's head revealed that the horse had sustained several hairline fractures to his jaw that were not apparent upon initial examination. Picaro spent the weekend recovering from that procedure, in which surgeons also removed his severely injured right eye and bullet fragments.

A surgical procedure might be required to fix his lower jawbone and allow it to heal.

Picaro's team of veterinary surgeons, anesthesiologists, interns, residents, technicians, and fourth-year students will examine the extent of the mandibular fractures tomorrow using the Cummings School's new 16-slice computerized tomography (CT) scanner. Pending the outcome of the CT scan, the team will then recommend the best course of action for the horse.

"Our hope is that Picaro proves to be a good surgical candidate, but it remains to be determined whether surgery can fix his jaw," said Carl A. Kirker-Head, MA, Vet MB, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, the associate professor of surgery in charge of the horse's care at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. "He deserves the best quality of life, and we don't know yet whether the surgery would be able to provide him with this outcome. The CT scan will go a long way towards telling us."

The horse is a gray Paso Fino stallion. Picaro was brought to the Hospital for Large Animals Thursday by Carol Gaucher of Spencer Animal Control and walked in under his own power.

Nearly $1,000 in donations in Picaro's honor came in over the weekend. Estimated costs of the horse's care will approach $10,000 if tomorrow's surgery goes ahead.

The Hospital for Large Animals is still not allowing visitors, given the critical nature of Picaro's wounds.

Members of the community interested in making donations to the Cumming School's Hospital for Large Animals in honor of Picaro can send checks made out to "Trustees of Tufts College" and mail them to: Office of Development & Alumni Relations, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, 200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA, 01536. Links to online giving.

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