Severely injured horse put down after ‘traumatic’ wasp attack

  • The owner of a horse who had to be put down owing to injuries she sustained after she disturbed a wasps’ nest has urged others to check their stables and field shelters.

    Jules Scotland’s mare Savannah panicked after she was stung “up to 100 times” early last Saturday morning (18 August).

    The 13-year-old, who had been living out, had had to spend the previous night in a field shelter (as pictured above), after receiving treatment for kissing spines at the veterinary hospital.

    Jules told H&H: “I received a text from a neighbour that lives next to the field at 6am to say they could hear Savannah banging in the field shelter. They said it went quiet and then the banging started again. I thought she had maybe run out of food so I dashed up there.

    “It was carnage when I arrived. All I could see was Savannah’s face was covered in black lumps and her eyes were swollen shut. She had broken the emergency bar of the field shelter but she couldn’t see, she was flailing around and kicking out. ”

    Vets Lucy Grieve and Katy Groome from Rossdales Veterinary Surgeons attended but were unable to sedate Savannah.

    “She was literally in a blind panic. I tried to put her headcollar on but because she couldn’t see, she was in fight mode. It was every worst case scenario you could think of,” Jules said.

    The vets couldn’t get near her to sedate her. We tried a sedative in a feed but her mouth was bleeding so she wasn’t interested in food – she was just in panic mode. We eventually had to call for a vet from another practice who is licensed to use a tranquiliser gun but they were an hour away – in the mean time all we could do was try and stop her causing any more injury to herself.

    “We ran through all the options of getting her to the vet hospital. We couldn’t travel her in a trailer as it could have been catastrophic. We spoke to the team at Newmarket who do the horse ambulance for the gallops, but they said to get her on the ambulance she would need to be sedated enough that she was lying down but they wouldn’t have been able to maintain her airways and she would have required to be intubated. We tried to think of every solution but every method was just too high risk and traumatic for her.”

    Savannah had to be put to down due to the severity of her injures.

    “The vets think she may have broken her jaw and eye socket when she was flailing around. Even after she was tranquilised twice with the gun, she had so much adrenaline and histamine running through her keeping her in survival mode, she just wouldn’t lie down,” she said. “We sadly had to have her shot.”

    “You just can’t imagine this happening. The vets hadn’t seen anything like it – it was just so traumatic. The night before everything was so quiet and peaceful, we checked her at 9.30pm the evening before and everything was fine.

    “We found the wasps’ nest in the partition of the field shelter, you just wouldn’t have known it was there. ”

    Jules said she wants to make other people aware of the incident, warning that if wasps are seen busy around a particular area “they could be building a nest somewhere”.

    “I want to take this opportunity to thank Lucy and Katy for everything they did for me and Savannah. I could not have got through it without them,” she added.

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