A pony who was impaled by a 70cm fence post in her chest as she jumped a fence “in panic” is expected to make a full recovery following major surgery.
Jasmine Price was taking part in a cross-country lesson at Poplar Park Equestrian Centre with her pony Penny before Christmas when a jump flag caught by wind caused the pony to spook and unseat Jasmine.
Juliet Price, Jasmine’s mother, said: “Penny was clearly in a panic and she was heading towards her own field. In order to get there, she jumped a post and rail fence.”
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A spokesman for Newmarket Equine Hospital said when Juliet caught Penny she saw blood “trickling down her back legs” which didn’t appear to be serious but then found a large wound on her chest.
“It was huge and at that stage I didn’t know what had caused it. I assumed she had caught it on something when she jumped the fence,” said Juliet.
Staff from Poplar Park came to help and it was noticed Penny had a swelling on her right side.
“A call had been made to the local veterinary practice, Ryder Davies, and by the time the vet arrived the swelling was quite pronounced,” said the Newmarket spokesman.
“The shape was unusual, almost square, and led them to wonder whether a piece of the fence post had caused the chest wound and was now protruding beside the rib cage.”
Penny was transferred to Newmarket Equine Hospital and admitted immediately for emergency surgery by a team led by consultant surgeon Matt Smith.
“It was obvious that the protrusion in her side was indeed a section of post which presumably had broken off as she jumped the fence,” said the spokesman. “Matt knew that his first task was to locate the exact position of the piece of wood and remove it, while doing as little internal damage as possible.
“What he had not anticipated however was that although it was not visible at the wound site, the section was 70cm in length.”
Mr Smith said while he had seen a “wide range of traumatic injuries” and removed “a multitude of foreign bodies”, this was a first.
“When I started to extract it via the chest wound it just kept coming. It is quite remarkable it didn’t damage any vital structures and avoided penetrating the thoracic cavity,” said Mr Smith.
Penny survived the surgery but required round-the-clock care in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
“One of the main concerns following an injury of this nature is development of a pneumothorax – when air gets into the chest cavity causing collapse of the lungs. Penny was monitored closely for any indication of this. Thankfully she started to show early signs of recovery and proved to be a model patient,” said the spokesman.
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Three weeks after the incident Penny was allowed to go home.
“I just can’t thank Matt and his team enough,” said Juliet. “From the time we arrived with Penny to the time we picked her up they have been incredibly kind and supportive.
“We were so worried about Penny but we knew she was in the best possible hands and I was confident that if anybody could have save her it would be Newmarket Equine Hospital.”
Penny “still has a long way to go” but Mr Smith is “optimistic” she will make a full recovery.
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