Tornado-Tossed Horse Under Kentucky Veterinarian's Care

A 6-year-old Kentucky Mountain Horse gelding is enjoying lots of attention since being swept up from his pasture and deposited into his owners' home by a tornado that swept through West Liberty, Ky., earlier this month.

On March 2 more than 40 confirmed tornadoes tore through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio. The storms packed winds as high as 180 mph, knocking out utilities and flattening homes and barns. David Fugate, DVM, of the West Liberty Vet Clinic, said the town of West Liberty was among the hardest hit by the storm.

But the day proved extremely lucky for one West Liberty horse. Fugate said that during the storm, EF3 tornado-force winds ripped the roof off the horse's owners' home. Fugate said the horse--now named Twister--was then lifted out of his pasture and dropped into the house.

"They said they were walking down the hall and found the horse in the kitchen," Fugate said.

Twister sustained a puncture wound to his hind leg and an assortment of scrapes during the incident and is under care at Fugate's clinic, he said. The horse will remain at the clinic while his owners cope with storm-related property damage, Fugate said.

"They lost everything," Fugate said.

Twister was one of five injured horses that Fugate treated in the hours after the storm. Of those, four were later transported from storm-ravaged West Liberty to Lexington, Ky., for treatment,

"We had a lot of scrapes and cuts and we had to suture one horse whose ear was almost ripped off in the storm," Fugate said.

Fugate said horse owners are receiving hay and feed donations to help them care for their animals. Building materials are most needed now, he said.

"Right now what people need most is fencing material," he said.

Meanwhile, Twister is getting lots of attention from the media, Fugate said: "He's becoming quite a ham. I think he's enjoying it."

Anyone with fencing or building materials to contribute can contact the West Liberty Vet Clinic at 606/743-3776.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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