Last week, a tornado ripped through Windsor, Colorado, not far from the campus of Colorado State University and the vet school’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. As you mght expect, the hospital staff was busy with trauma cases for the next few days.
But one of the vets there would have stories to tell of his own horses and how a tornado can threaten your equine friends.
Dr. Bruce Connally, a veterinarian on the hospital’s Equine Field Service, hit the road and treated five horses in the Windsor area who were injured in the tornado — three client horses and, yes, two of his own.
Most of the horses injured in the tornado suffered from multiple lacerations caused by flying debris. These are intensive injuries with considerable trauma for the patients and grave concern for the owner. But Connally’s worries would be magnified by the danger to his own animals.
While treating a client’s horse in Windsor with the help of senior veterinary students, Connally received word that his own property in Wellington, Colorado was damaged and three of his seven horses could not be found. The tornado had lifted one of his foals right out of the corral, and deposited him unharmed on a nearby county road. By the time the vet arrived arrived at his home, his neighbors had found all of his horses and returned them safely to him. Other than minor lacerations and bruising, all were fine.
“The most amazing thing about the experience has been how the community has pulled together,” Connally, also a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said. “I’ve seen neighbors reaching out to neighbors and that’s one of the only ways to survive this kind of event. I certainly appreciated my neighbors helping out with my animals while I was treating others.”