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Conversation with a horse saves a life!

Dr. Laura & Cassie

One evening I received an unexpected call. It was Dr. Laura from California. She shared with me the devastating news her gorgeous mare Cassie had just shattered her front leg. This was an unusual accident which occurred while Laura was exercising Cassie on a long rope. Cassie was playing but then all of a sudden she was holding up her leg and in obvious pain. Laura called her veterinarian immediately and did what she could to make Cassie comfortable until the vet arrived. Cassie's leg was x-rayed showing 17 breaks in a small area of the fetlock joint. The veterinarians strongly recommended euthanasia right there on the spot as horses carry most of their weight on their front legs. They said even with a successful surgery (which would be difficult in this case) Cassie would never walk normally again and would likely have a painful life going forward.

There on the phone with Laura, I expressed my upset over what had happened (I had been a part of Cassie coming into Laura's life, a dream come true, from a conversation with her dog). I wanted to be supportive of Laura so I quickly said hello to Cassie who in those moments was actually being carefully transported to an emergency medical facility for either euthanasia or surgery. The decision was Laura's. Laura wanted to know what Cassie wanted. When I said hello to Cassie, as crazy as it sounded under the circumstances, the horse let me know she was OK, and that she would be OK. She wanted to reassure me and Laura. However, Cassie was ADAMANT that she be given a chance. She wanted to have the emergency surgery required to piece her leg back together. She let me know she thought the clinic she was on the way to was perfect and the surgeon there was perfect as well. She was very thorough and specific in all she shared with me.

One of the challenges with a broken leg is that horses need to be on their feet most of the time. After coming out of surgery and in the months of recovery following surgery horses will sometimes move in powerful and sudden ways which can in an instant ruin the careful work done in hours of surgery. Cassie promised she would cooperate 100%+ throughout the entire treatment and healing process and she promised she would show us many miracles along the way. That was about 13 years ago.

Cassie was a total champion, she did not fight the process at all. She cooperated 100%+ just as she said she would and she even worked with Laura to help her manage all the stress involved in the accident and Cassie's recovery. When Cassie was finally allowed to carefully walk on a lead rope she cooperated and contained and controlled herself even though she wanted to take off running and kick up her heels. I remember many conversations with Cassie including one where the veterinarian who performed the surgery had suggested doing the surgery probably did the mare no favors. He thought she was developing arthritis in the joint. Basically he was saying even though the surgery went well it probably wasn't a good idea. Understandably Laura was very upset to hear this and of course she was concerned. Cassie said it wasn't true and not to worry about it. She was very pleased with how everything was going with her healing process. Little did we know what she had in store!