Two weeks after undergoing a pioneering medical procedure aimed at curing Kissing Spine with a minimally invasive, novel surgery, the beautiful gray mare Heartly Smart began her rehabilitation with her first turnout.
Susan Swart, president of the New York ReRun, Inc. chapter, says that when she turned Heartly Smartly out to pasture Wednesday morning after two weeks of stall rest, she exhibited no signs of feeling uncomfortable.
Frisky after being cooped up, but remembering her manners, she allowed Swart to unclip her halter before eagerly stepped out for some fresh air, and a very satisfying roll.
“Today, we had a really good start to her rehabilitation,” say Swart, who is partnering with New York veterinarian Dr. Christy Cable, DVM, DACVS, who performed the novel surgery on Heartly Smart Feb. 18.
In an earlier interview with OffTrackThoroughbreds.com, Cable said the novel procedure appears to have reversed the effects of Kissing Spine in 35 horses in the United Kingdom, and it was her goal to help pioneer a similar effort in the United States.
“English veterinarian Richard Coomer, the lead author of a paper on the surgery, reports that 95 percent of the equines who underwent the procedure recovered,” Cable says in the earlier interview.
“The study intrigued me because (surgeons) had done a number of horses, 35 to be exact, and by making minimally invasive keyhole incisions … removed the pain and increased the horse’s mobility,” Cable adds.
Heartly Smart, whose barn name is Olivia, underwent the surgery after her previous owner, small animal veterinarian Julianne Ragone had tried numerous treatments, but failed to alleviate the mare’s pain. Ragone contacted Cable about her mare’s situation, and after ReRun, Inc. agreed to house and rehabilitate the mare, the procedure was tried.
So far, so good, Swart reports.
After an unremarkable turnout with a quiet companion horse to keep Olivia company, the next weeks will bring a farrier visit, to fit her with four new shoes, and a chiropractor to help incorporate physical therapy exercises into strength-building exercises for her back, Swart says.
OffTrackThoroughbreds.com will continue to follow Olivia’s progress with a new report each week.