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UC Davis Equine Surgeons Help Return Barrel Racer to Winning Ways

Filed under: Health & Training |     

UC Davis press release

Caddy (Spook DeVille), ridden by Caitlyn Wood, has returned to championship form and captured several titles since his accident. Image courtesy of UC Davis.

Caddy (Spook DeVille), ridden by Caitlyn Wood, has returned to championship form and captured several titles since his accident. Image courtesy of UC Davis.

Caddy (Spook DeVille), an 11-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, was at the top of his game in 2012. He captured several racing titles, including the Western Classic Grand Champion barrel race title, and set a new Western Classic arena record for the fastest time. A tragic accident befell Caddy, though, in the spring of 2013. He escaped from his box stall during the night, and when his owner found him in the morning, she noticed extensive injuries to his chest, head and legs. An inspection of the property revealed a large amount of blood in the arena and on a tractor drag. Caddy must have fallen on the drag during the night.

His owner brought Caddy to the Equine Surgical Emergency & Critical Care Service at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital’s Large Animal Clinic, where he was immediately evaluated and treated for multiple lacerations on his face, chest and legs. Because the injuries to his chest were extensive, the primary concern initially was that he may develop respiratory difficulty. UC Davis veterinarians performed a thoracic ultrasound to determine if he had a pneumothorax—more commonly referred to as a collapsed lung—which is caused by air leaking into the space between the lungs and the chest wall. Luckily for Caddy, there was no internal damage, but the level of his lacerations would take a great deal of care and time to heal.

Further examination of the lacerations on his face revealed a frontal facial bone fracture and exposed right frontal sinuses. A deep vertical laceration on his chest measured about six inches, opening a massive gaping wound and a severe axillary wound. Multiple smaller lacerations covered his front legs.

VMTH equine surgeons Drs. Jorge Nieto and Sarah Gray thoroughly cleaned, debrided and closed all of Caddy’s wounds with multiple sutures, dressings and bandages. Three drainage tubes were placed in his chest wall, axilla and foreleg to help remove fluid from the injured areas.

Caddy remained hospitalized at the VMTH for 12 days to properly manage the healing of his injuries. After release, he recovered at a layup facility, and later at home, with stall rest, medications, and regular dressing changes, before later moving on to therapeutic laser and ultrasound treatments and working out on an underwater treadmill.

Caddy’s three- and five-month re-check examinations at the VMTH showed that the lacerations had healed remarkably well, and he was gradually returning to normal activity. Six months after the accident, Caddy returned to competition, and much to his owner’s surprise, ran faster than ever, breaking new records and continuing his winning ways.

About the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
The William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis—a unit of the School of Veterinary Medicine—provides state-of-the-art clinical care while serving as the primary clinical teaching experience for DVM students and post graduate veterinarian residents. The VMTH treats more than 45,000 animals a year, ranging from cats and dogs to horses, cows and exotic species. To learn more about the VMTH, please go to Timely news updates can be received on its Facebook ( and Twitter ( pages.

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