A Veterinarian Keeps Track Of The Types Of Animals Treated A Race Never Won – The Very Short Career of Witch’s Trail

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A Race Never Won – The Very Short Career of Witch’s Trail

Belmont is over; we have a new winner; Summer Bird followed by Dunkird and Mine that Bird. It was a good race; all the horses were safe. Only Dunkirk was tied after the race but was said to be doing well in the barn. These are the horses that make the headlines and these are the horses that glorify the sport, but what about some of the ones that never make it to the starting gate; never listened to the roar of the crowd and will never wear a blanket of flowers to celebrate their victory in the “Winner’s Circle”. These are much more in number and not so talented and not so lucky.

One such horse Witch’s Trail, a tall, gray 2004 model was bred to race, but he never made it that far. A local horse rescue team responded to a call a few weeks ago from a man identifying himself as the horse’s trainer. It is said that the trainer did not know what was wrong with the horse and was unable or unwilling to spend the money to diagnose the horse, but it was clear that this horse would no longer be a contender in any future races. The woman who was supposed to be rehabilitating the horse had lost her farm due to the economy and this man was having “a rough date at Tampa Bay Downs” and asked if this horse could be saved. When the truck arrived, no one was there; apparently the owners had moved and left the horse in a field. The witch’s trail was out in the pasture alone, with no one to feed her, not even to say goodbye.

The witch trail came to the rescue and it was clear that he had not received any kind of rehabilitation; he could barely walk on the road, and this was a 3 year old horse in training to race. Physically, the Witch’s Trail seemed to need some weight and his feet needed to be done, so the services of a porter were immediately dispensed with, and a new set of shoes initially seemed to add support and comfort, but it was clearly this beautiful creature had a lot more going on medically.

A few days later a vet came out to examine the Witch’s Footprint and from there the afternoon took a turn for the worse. He was initially diagnosed with compressive disease of the cervical vertebral spinal cord. In addition, he was affected by a left posterior tarsal deformity with clinical bony spavin swelling. He was more likely born with the latter and most likely lived with the swing for a while. What makes this even more interesting is another opinion from another vet. After neurological exam, Witch’s Foot presented with a grade 3/4 asymmetric paraparesis. The left rear was worse than the right rear. There was also decreased neck flexion on the right, which is inconsistent with tremors. It was also suspected that there might be spinal cord compression with possible cervical vertebral instability due to a previous fracture as the right sacrum was higher than the left. X-rays of the left sternum now show a severe injury at some time in the past. Second opinion from Dr. Dean Richardson, who was Barbaro’s vet, thought that a traumatic rupture or tear of the cruciate ligament may have occurred resulting in the highly abnormal radiographic appearance of the joint. Wobbles’ original diagnosis has now been ruled out. What makes it so hard to understand is the pain this horse was in – in training to race, left in a pasture, no feed, no hoof care, lame on all four legs, but a true thoroughbred – stoic and brave and more than willing to give heart to the people who betrayed him.

The witch trail could very well lose the most important race of his career – the race for his life. Options include arthroscopic examination and debridement. Injections of hyaluronic acid, IRAP, platelets and steroids are also recommended. His prognosis is poor and guarded at best. Regardless of the outcome, he will be kept out of pain and treated to his favorite treats like carrots, apples, and groomed, bathed, and fed by legions of loving volunteers for as long as he wants. . He’s a horse that needs a miracle, but it’s not something I haven’t seen time and time again, as thousands of horses go on to productive and healthy new lives after their racing days are over. The trail of witches is not ready to die – he complains to the foals; he is excited to see the horses passing by; he is curious and loving; he is still full of life. Perhaps there really is a miracle to this beautiful horse.

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