Veterinarians from Louisiana State University (LSU) responded to an emergency call the evening of May 30 after learning that two horses were trapped in an overturned horse trailer as a result of a single vehicle accident.

LSU veterinarians, including Drs. Mustajab Mirza, Petrisor Baia, and Amy Cangelosi, attended to the two Thoroughbred geldings. Upon assessing the situation, the veterinary team implemented a plan for extracting the two horses from the wreckage. The two-horse trailer, with a middle divider, lay on its left side, leaving one horse lying on his side and the other lying on top of him. The top horse also had been thrown forward so that he was wedged tightly into the front of the trailer. After administering a mild sedative to relax the animals, the team of veterinarians began the extraction process, which involved cutting away the back portion of the steel trailer and utilizing fire hoses from the Baton Rouge Fire Department to sling around the horses’ midsections to pull them to freedom.

This was not the first time the Baton Rouge Fire Department and the LSU Equine Veterinary Team have worked together. The two organizations have participated in a number of training operations over the past two years to expand on and deepen the understanding of large animal rescue. Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina served as a springboard to enhancing the skills and logistical knowledge of rescue methods that served the teams well in this successful recovery of the horses involved in Sunday’s accident.

Both horses suffered cuts, wounds, and abrasions, but no serious health issues were incurred as a result of the accident. The horses were transferred to the LSU Large Animal Clinic at the School of Veterinary Medicine for further evaluation and are recovering well.