Horse back in work after losing more than half her lower jaw

  • Star the appaloosa-cob cross is back to normal despite losing more than half of her lower jaw to cancer, owner Paul Newby told H&H.

    She is one of just five horses in the world to have undergone the surgery.

    The tumour was the size of a melon.

    Paul, of Humbledon, Sunderland, thought he had lost Star when a rare ameloblastoma tumour was diagnosed in her lower jaw last summer.

    “It was obvious something had to be done. She was struggling to eat, her teeth were out of line and when they took the biopsy all this pus came out – her jaw was rotting away, said Paul. “I really thought her days were numbered.”

    However Star was referred to soft tissue specialist Patrick Pollock at Glasgow University, one of just a handful of vets specialising in these type of cases.

    He and his team spent four hours, last September, removing the growth and Star’s lower jaw, back to 2cm in front of her cheek teeth.

    And within two hours of the op she was trying to eat, Patrick told H&H.

    “She has recovered exceedingly well,” he said. “Horses are very adaptable and can use their lips and tongue to rip grass and hay.

    “We had to remove a big flap of skin from her lower lip as there was no bone to support it, and at first she had trouble controlling her tongue, but she is managing extremely well.”

    “I wanted to give her a chance,” said Paul. “She was just six and I’d had her since she was six months.”

    And Paul’s optimism has paid off. She is now clipped and back in full work – but is ridden in a hackamore.

    “She picked up exactly where we left off. She was just starting to do little show jumping classes last summer and we took her cross-country schooling last week,” he added.

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