May 07, 2021 12:00 PM

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Posted November 15, 2016
Radiograph 2 Crop Levi
showing the shape of the lung with air filling the space above the lung.

When Tim Beaubien’s 10-year-old horse named Levi got his foot stuck in a fence, it lead to a life-threatening injury. As Levi struggled to get free, one of the T-posts broke off from the fence. Levi reared up and landed on the T-post, which pushed through his ribs and into his lungs. Beaubien’s mother was the first to discover Levi’s injury.

“She walked out and noticed that Levi was acting funny, and then she saw that the fence was down,” said Beaubien. “She instantly went to Levi to see if he was okay. When she found him, he had a hole in his chest cavity. She started washing it out and called our vet to come and see what we could do to help him.”

Their veterinarian arrived about ten minutes later and sedated Levi to evaluate the wound. The veterinarian placed an air-tight stint bandage on Levi’s chest to prevent more air from entering his chest cavity. Then he referred Levi to the MSU Veterinary Medical Center.

“Our veterinarian assured us that Levi would survive the ride to MSU and that there was a pretty good chance he would survive treatment,” Beaubien said. “We knew there would be a decent price tag, but Levi was worth it.”

Levi At Hospital
Levi, recovering at the MSU Veterinary Medical Center with chest tubes.

At MSU, Drs. Kinsley and Troy placed chest tubes to suction the air out of Levi’s chest cavity, which was preventing Levi from breathing normally. The wound was then debrided, cleaned, packed, and wrapped. The team placed Levi on continuous suction to combat clinical signs of respiratory dysfunction, antibiotic therapy to prevent infection, and anti-inflammatory therapy to reduce swelling and manage pain. 

Levi responded well to the treatment and remained stable. Three days later, he was taken off continuous suction while being closely monitored. He developed very few signs of respiratory dysfunction, so his chest tubes were removed after two more days. However, after 24 hours and increased breathing effort from Levi, an ultrasound confirmed a collapsed lung, meaning that air had escaped from the lung. Drs. Kinsley and Troy packed the wound again and Levi continued on his path to recovery over the next seven days, after which he was discharged.

“Drs. Kinsley and Troy were the best we could’ve asked for,” said Beaubien. “They called me daily to let me know how things were going with Levi and let me know what the daily plan was for helping him and if there were any changes. I would highly recommend them. I would gladly bring all my animals there if needed.”

Now back at home, Levi is continuing to recover and enjoy normal life.

“Levi is doing great nowadays,” said Beaubien. “He has made a full recovery and is back to his normal self. We are giving him the rest of the year off without riding him so he can heal properly. He is with his herd and a very happy horse that is being treated like a king.”

Categories: Happy Tails