Horse’s life saved by vet after ‘incredibly long’ bramble got stuck in his throat

A horse who was found to have a foot-long bramble stuck in his throat would have died had it not been discovered and removed, his vet believes.

Farrier Luke Blomfield called the vet when his six-year-old Irish sport horse Dougal stopped eating and drinking on 6 January.

“He’s always loved his food; at times he can be a real pig and that’s what I noticed initially,” Luke said. “I tried to hand-feed him but he was resistant and coughed and after a few hours, I decided that there must be something more seriously wrong.”

Vet Laura Trigg, of Hampshire-based Seadown Veterinary Services, examined Dylan and referred him to the practice hospital.

“A scope revealed this incredibly long bramble had unbelievably got stuck in Dougal’s throat,” Luke said.

“It wasn’t easy to reach but Laura thought out of the box, thinking of implements she might use to retrieve it and even considered whether it might even be best to push it into the stomach. In the end, she managed to retrieve it and no one could believe it was so long and intact – it seemed Dougal hadn’t even bothered to chew it.”

Laura said the 30cm bramble was lodged just past Dougal’s larynx, so there was no way of removing it easily.

“Not only was the location extremely hard to reach, it was almost impossible to remove anything from that area,” she said. “I had never seen such a large foreign body stuck in a horse’s oesophagus, and the thorns sticking into the side of the oesophagus made things even more tricky.

“After many hours of stomach tubing and inventing new instruments, we finally managed to get the end of the bramble into the larynx and successfully managed to remove it by mouth.

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“There is no doubt in my mind that had this bramble not have been removed, or if the condition hadn’t been noticed, poor Dougal would have died.”

But Dylan, who Luke plans to event this year, was discharged after a night in hospital on IV fluids, and was “eating happily” the next day. A scope a week later showed no damage from the bramble.

Luke praised Laura and the Seadown vets for their “amazing” work, adding that Dylan is competing again and “enjoying his food”.

“It’s definitely worth other horse owners knowing that this can happen,” he added.

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