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Four-star event horse recovering from life-threatening infection

Nicky Roncoroni’s four-star horse Trig Point is back home recovering after complications from a tooth extraction left him “almost at death’s door”.

The 13-year-old by Ghareeb had an upper 11 tooth (the last molar up under the eye) taken out on 18 November as he had a slab fracture.

“The vets said there could be possible complications, but that there were normally less problems with this tooth than with the nine or 10 tooth. We weren’t expecting anything drastic, but the issues have been ongoing since then,” Nicky told H&H.

The trauma of the extraction caused some bleeding in the sinus. This then became infected, although the original tooth site was healing well and X-rays and a CT scan showed no direct correspondence from the tooth area to the sinuses.

Repeated courses of antibiotics followed and treatment including having a catheter inserted. It seemed like Trig Point was on the mend and he was back in jumping and galloping work, but then the infection reappeared.

Trig-Point

Trig Point getting a hug from Nicky upon his return home

“He ended up going to B&W Equine Hospital for three and a half weeks and they found he’d been affected by a strain of the pseudomonas bacteria,” said Nicky. “I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of why it happened, but he’s just been very unlucky. It’s rare to get a bilateral sinus infection [both sinuses], rare to get this particular bacteria and rare for it to get so bad.

“He’s had a pretty rough time. Without wanting to sound dramatic, he was very sick — there was a point where the vets were saying if this antibiotic didn’t work they weren’t sure where to go next.

“The vets [Jo Suthers and Ollie Crowe at B&W and Henry Tremaine from Bristol vet school, who operated on Trig Point] have been as thorough as they can be, but you just feel so helpless not knowing if he’s going to be alright.”

Trig Point returned home to Nicky’s Gloucestershire yard on 11 February.

“The guys at the clinic did a great job, but he was very happy to be home,” said Nicky. “We’re not out of the woods yet as it could re-infect, but we’ll be monitoring him every second of the day and fingers crossed he is on the way to recovery.

“He is meant to have light exercise straight away — to stimulate the sinuses and as the bacteria don’t like oxygen — so I had him out for 20min this morning (Thursday 12 February) and he was bursting out of himself. It amazes me what horses can fight off, bearing in mind three weeks ago he was almost at death’s door.”

Trig Point was 14th at Pau CCI4* in 2012 and completed Badminton the following year with a cross-country jumping clear.

He has won two CIC3*s, at Ballindenisk in 2012 and Montelibretti in 2013, when he led the British Nations Cup team to victory. He incurred a minor leg injury at Montelibretti, so had last season off, but was back on form and aimed at Badminton in May before this latest drama.

“We may aim him at Luhmühlen [in June] if there are no more setbacks, but he will let us know [what’s right],” said Nicky. “He doesn’t owe us anything and you do have to be very careful when a horse has this been ill, especially a horse as generous as him – he’d never say he’s in pain, he just keeps going.”

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