A horse found uncomfortable and unable to eat had a strand of wire embedded in his tongue, a vet discovered.

The owner of Basil, a 15.2hh nine-year-old Dales, called the vet out on 17 June after she noticed he was unable to eat his hay.

“I had bought him into ride and gave him a haynet. He was very quiet and every time he took a mouthful he kept gagging so I called the vet,” said Lisa Bridle, who has had Basil for two years, and hunts him with local draghounds.

Vicky Jux from Winchester-based Stable Close Equine Practice, took Basil’s temperature and listened to his heart but noticed he appeared to be chewing something.

But all she could see was that the roof of his mouth was bleeding and there were several lacerations on the throat.

The horse was then sedated and when Vicky put her hand in she could feel something embedded in his tongue.

“There was 1.5cms of wire poking out of his tongue. Every time he moved his tongue it scraped the roof of his mouth. I grabbed it and a piece 4.5cm long came out,” she said.

Basil remained calm when he came round from the sedation and was given antibiotics and painkillers.

Lisa made him a bucket of very sloppy feed, and Basil took huge mouthfuls.

But by Monday he was “feeling very sorry for himself”, and refusing his feed, so the vet prescribed syringes of medication.

“He’s a bit brighter today but still not the bombastic Basil he was, although he is now grazing and eating his mushed-up Fast Fibre” said Lisa on Thursday (21 June). “A big thank you to Vicky Jux and Stable Close who were absolutely marvellous.”

Basil has been very lucky, the vet said, adding that had he swallowed the wire, it could well have perforated his oesophagus or intestines. “Either he would have been dead, or in hospital having colic surgery,” Vicky added.

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Her colleague Malcolm Morley had a similar experience with Monty, a 22 year-old pony who had managed to swallow a piece of hawthorn.

When Mr Morley tried to remove it part of it fell down his windpipe and became stuck. “The only solution was a tracheostomy. It was successful and the horse made a compete recovery,” Mr Morley said.

“We’re for ever removing brambles, roses, hawthorns and wire from horses’ mouths,” he added. “It must be so painful for a horse to have a foreign object inside, but it’s so satisfying to be able to fix the problem so quickly.”

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