Horse recovering after training accident

Ryan Ross
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A horse that was injured during a training exercise last week (July 6) is improving as it recovers at the Atlantic Veterinary College (in Prince Edward Island).

Participants in a large animal rescue course at the Atlantic Veterinary College In Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island July 6 were surprised when the practice went awry.

Anna MacDonald, a spokeswoman for the AVC, said the horse, whose name is Torque, saw his condition improve over the weekend.

"His attitude and appetite are normal," she said.

On Friday (July 6), Torque was part of a course South Carolina-based Technical Large Animal Rescue Inc. (TLAER) was offering at the vet college.

The course was meant to teach people how to safely rescue large animals in situations like trailer accidents or barn fires, but Torque needed rescuing after he got tangled up in harness gear.

TLAER owns the specially trained horse, which was one of two brought in for the training.

The company said it was the first accidental injury during training in the company's 17 years in business.

MacDonald said Torque will stay at the AVC's teaching hospital where he will be monitored until his release.

The Guardian


Horse injured during mock rescue demonstration



By Staff ~ The Guardian  


 What was supposed to be a mock exercise Friday (July 6) showing the proper rescue techniques to perform on live horses quickly turned into much more than a demonstration at the Atlantic Veterinary College.

A specially trained horse for the demonstrations is in stable condition and being treated on at the AVC's Large Animal Hospital after becoming injured in the mock exercise yesterday afternoon.

The horse was one of two specially-trained horses brought to Prince Edward Island by instructors with the Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Inc. (TLAER), based in South Carolina.

The group was delivering the seminar on practical rescue techniques in Canada for the first time. The aim was to teach local veterinarians, horse and cattle owners and emergency personnel how to safely rescue live large animals from entrapment situations like trailer wrecks, ditches, mud pits and barn fires.

However, the seminar on rescue situations became a rescue situation in itself when the horse was injured after becoming entangled in harness gear.

Don Reynolds, dean of the AVC, expressed deep concern for the well-being of the course after the incident unfolded.

"The health and well-being of animals is our top priority. The horse is receiving expert care from veterinarians at AVC."

No people were injured in the accident. The horse will remain carefully monitored by veterinarians with an update on its condition being provided to The Guardian when available.

TLAER is an international authority in education and training in the area of heavy animal rescue. A press release stated the incident was the first accidental injury during training in the company's 17 years of operation.

Two of the potential scenarios being shown were a trailer loaded with livestock being overturned on the highway, or a horse getting out of its paddock and wandering around traffic.

In an interview with The Guardian Thursday Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, one of the instructors with TLAER, said the message is simple - get help right away.

"We emphasize the early presence of calling 911," Gimenez said. "Get the emergency responders out there (to) block the road and warn other drivers."

The first priority once the veterinarian is on the scene is to assess the animal's health before any sort of rescue is attempted.

But there are times when the vet can't get out quick enough so the course also teaches euthanasia so the animal doesn't lie there suffering.

Dr. Erica Koch, a veterinarian with the Ambulatory Equine Service at the AVC, was the driving force behind bringing the course to Charlottetown, having taken it herself in 2008 when she was doing a large animal residency at the University of Pennsylvania.

"I found it extremely beneficial," Koch said. "I've used the techniques I've learned from the course to help out some rescue situations I've had since then."

Koch said the most challenging part isn't keeping the animal calm, it's co-ordinating people.

"You have 10 different people with 10 different suggestions. In a situation like that emotions just get out of control. Nothing gets done or accomplished."

Giminez said large animal owners should have a plan in case of an emergency.

"It is incumbent on an owner to take responsibility for their animals. It is your job to come up with a plan for your horse if there is (for example) a fire, if there is a blizzard."

The Guardian


Organizations: Atlantic Veterinary College, Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, Technical Large Animal Rescue Large Animal Hospital Ambulatory Equine Service University of Pennsylvania

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, South Carolina, Canada Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Dr. Rebecca Gimenez
    July 11, 2012 - 20:56

    Thank you for the excellent coverage on this situation. It was very scary to watch it occur despite many controls in place for safety, and excellent training of the horse. We are thrilled that "TORQUE" was so capably treated and continues to be under the care of the veterinarians and their staff at the AVC in PEI. Live animals are considered to be a crucial part of training events such as this because many firefighters, police officers and even humane officers may not have any prior experience with handling large animals. Although the accident is the first that we have ever endured, and we will make some changes to the protocols - we still believe that with a 17 year long safety record, hundreds of demonstration lifts, and thousands of students in the emergency services and veterinary industry that it remains an important part of training. Thank you again for the excellent coverage and we appreciate all the good wishes, positive energy and prayers that have been shared with us and the AVC in support of Torque's recovery. Donations in support of "Torque" are greatly appreciated and I know many of you have been asking. Funds will NOT be going towards his medical care (Tomas and I will cover that.) Instead - they will allow the AVC at PEI to purchase some of the TLAER type equipment that they want to build their cache so that they can help MORE horses. Primary on their list is a Rescue Glide. Donations can be made to: Atlantic Veterinary College Care of Dr. Erica Koch address: 550 University Ave, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3 CANADA