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A horse with a rare sleep disorder has been rescued from a “muddy ordeal” by firefighters.

Mare Molly, 27, has narcolepsy, a condition causing her to fall asleep unexpectedly.

On Wednesday evening (14 December), the veteran fell asleep and tumbled into a ditch.

When she woke up she found herself trapped in four feet of mud.

Firefighters were called to her field in Willington Road, Chester, at 9.38pm to help free her.

Two fire engines from Chester and animal rescue team from Bollington attended.

“A vet came to sedate her so the crew could attach specialist equipment to help her out, while a farmer used a digger to create a ramp in the bankside for her to walk up,” said a spokesman from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“The rescue teams guided Molly out and after around 10 minutes lying down to gather her strength she was able to get back up.

“We have spoken to Molly’s owner today who has assured us she is safe and well after her muddy ordeal.”

molly-rescued

What is narcolepsy in horses?

Narcolepsy is a rare and incurable sleep disorder of the central nervous system.


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It is characterised by spontaneous “sleep attacks” at inappropriate times – usually accompanied by an uncontrollable loss of muscle tone.

Much of what is known about the condition in equines is extrapolated from human sleep studies or based on behavioural observations.

One of the reasons for the lack of scientific research into equine sleep patterns is the difficulty in conducting the necessary recording of the electrical activity of the brain, muscle and heart without disturbing the horse’s normal behaviour – and therefore his sleep pattern.