Soon after an 1,800-pound Irish Sport Horse named Cody arrived at the University of Florida Large Animal Hospital around midnight August 30, a UF team of equine veterinarians, anesthesiologists and technical support staff found themselves conducting emergency colic surgery, just as the worst of Hurricane Idalia was passing overhead.
Thankfully, Cody recovered well from his procedure, and was able to return home with his owner, Melissa Gibson, on Sept. 4.
“A lot of people here worked really hard on this case, and luckily we had a great team in the hospital overnight,” said Dr. Anje Bauck, a clinical assistant professor and large animal surgery specialist at UF, who performed Cody’s procedure. “We were able to get Cody induced and into surgery as soon as possible.”
Cody had a history of acute colic, and had been referred to UF by Dr. Kaycie Miller after he didn’t respond to medical therapy. Bauck and Dr. Elizabeth Moyer, a large animal surgery resident, decided that emergency surgery was needed to save his life.
“Cody is a pretty big horse, and anytime a horse that size is put under anesthesia, time is of the essence,” Bauck said, adding that the anesthesia service, led by Dr. Laura Aguilar, did “a fantastic job” in providing Cody with the support he needed while under anesthesia.
During surgery, Cody was diagnosed with a right dorsal displacement of the large colon, which was corrected.
“We are very happy with how well he’s done postoperatively,” Bauck said. “This experience and Cody’s positive outcome were uplifting to all who participated in Cody’s surgery. We were completely prepared for any and all emergencies that might come in during the storm, and when Cody arrived, we were ready.”
Gibson said she had no doubt that Cody wouldn’t have survived without the UF team’s efforts.
“Receiving a prognosis of ‘fatal without surgery’ is never a good scenario but dealing with it in the face of hurricane is extremely intimidating,” she said. “Dr. Miller and the team at UF gave me the confidence to get on the road and get him to where he needed to be. I am beyond grateful to everyone for pulling together to get Cody through this situation and save his life.”