Horse has massive stake removed from chest *warning: graphic images*

  • A cob in Staffordshire has had a lucky escape after impaling himself on a fence.

    Debbie McLoughlin’s nine-year-old gelding Ronaldo was found on 9 June in the field with the rail from a post and rail fence sticking out of his chest.

    “I checked him at 3pm and he was fine. Then at 5pm he was just wandering around the paddock with the stake in his chest,” Debbie told H&H.

    “He must have been going at a considerable pace to have it wedged so deeply. I imagine he was gallivanting around in the field with the others.”

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    Robin Densem of Agnew Vets, who treated Ronaldo, told H&H the horse was “extremely lucky”.

    “It’s not often that a stake injury to the chest is not catastrophic,” he said.

    Robin added that it seems Ronaldo ran into the blunt end of the rail.

    He must have hit it with some force to go through his skin and muscle,” he said.

    “The rail had moved down under his armpit — it must have been in nearly 3ft deep. You could see it just behind the level of his elbow.”


    The vets worked to stabilise the horse and gave Ronaldo a low dose sedative.

    They assessed the amount of blood lost, which was a “reasonable amount but not life threatening”, and checked what the stake might have avoided in the body when going in.

    “There are some big blood vessels and nerves in that area,” added Robin.

    “We then had to pull it out, which was a bit of a heart in the mouth moment. We fitted him with a catheter in case the stake was blocking a lot of blood and there was the concern he could haemorrhage.

    Fortunately for Ronaldo the process was quite simple and the vets pulled the stake out “fairly easily”.

    “This is an unusual case as usually injuries like this are fatal. I’ve seen a few where the horse rears onto the stake and it goes through their armpit as well.

    “Horses do a very good job of damaging themselves.”


    Debbie added that it was “bit tense at the time the vets removed it” but the post came out fine, “like a knife through butter”.

    Three weeks later, the horse is back to his usual self.

    “He’s on box rest now and we’re nursing him back to health. It’s a miracle he is fine — he so lucky it missed the artery and nerves. It’s amazing really,” she said.


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