All is well with Bonnie, but today I want to tell you a story about another red racehorse. A 5-year-old gelding with lots of chrome. His name is Lion.
I work at an equine hospital in central Florida. We are a surgical center and often get referral cases from other vets. On Monday, Lion arrived in the hospital. He still wore racing plates on all four feet and he was oh-so fit, but quiet and sweet in spite of it. A subpalpebral lavage had been put into his right eye to treat a very bad eye ulcer. Complications from the eye ulcer and infection had resulted in a temporary paralysis of the whole right side of his face. I work the grueling overnight shift, and every two hours I medicated his eye through the catheter. On Tuesday, though, the vets discovered that his eye had actually ruptured. He no longer had sight and the eye would need to be removed. His owners were not on board for such a procedure and opted for euthanasia.
We had 24 hours to find him a home. For a 5 year old absolutely fit thoroughbred, fresh from the track and recently raced, Lion was sweet, calm, and seemed to be an ideal candidate for retraining. Without a full lameness workup, he seemed sound. It would have been a shame to put him down. I contacted everyone I knew who might be able to help. I had no luck. Other technicians did the same. At the end of the day, I was sad that my efforts had not produced an adopter, and I went to work expecting the gelding’s stall to be empty.
It wasn’t. There he was, munching hay. Very much alive.
As it turns out, one of my fellow technicians adopted him. She worked it out with her family and arranged for an ophthalmology resident to do the enucleation procedure. It is expected that his facial paralysis will resolve when the infection is cleared up and the eye is out. We all believe that he will be easy to retrain and will make an excellent riding horse. His new family has dreams of turning him into a barrel horse. Whatever he ends up doing, though, he will have a happy home.
I feel all warm and fuzzy.