A former military horse whose eye had to be removed following an accident is recovering well at her retirement home at The Horse Trust.

Staff believe 24-year-old bay Abigale perforated her cornea with a thorn while out in the field late last year, and as a result her eye was leaking fluid. Josie Parker, a lecturer in Veterinary Ophthalmology at the charity’s hospital, was visiting the sanctuary at the time as part of her research project, and was able to help Abigale.

Abigale was given heavy sedation, strong pain relief and local anaesthestic nerve blocks to numb all sensation to her eye and relax her eye muscles. Using loupes to help magnify the eye area, Josie cleaned the eye and sutured the cornea back together. Abigale was then fitted with a SPL (subpalpebral lavage system) to deliver her eye drops and a contact lens to protect the wound while it heals.

Unfortunately, despite this prompt and intensive treatment, Abigale suffered complications in the New Year and her eye became painful and staff had no option but to remove it. Staff said the veteran mare is adjusting to life with one eye.

“Abigale has recovered really well from this surgery and although we were unable to save her eye she is very well in herself and no longer in pain and is enjoying being back out in the field with her friends,” said a spokesman for The Horse Trust.

Abigale retired to the charity from from the DATR (Defence Animal Training Regiment) last year. The DATR are a military unit responsible for training military veterinary staff, farriers, working horses and dogs.

She served 19 years and went from training riding instructors for showjumping and dressage, to teaching officer cadets to ride. Later in her career  some of she worked at key ceremonial events and parades, before retiring to the charity for a well-earned rest.

Lead image by The Horse Trust

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