Horse rescued from frigid waters recovering

Dixie, a 30-year-old pony, was rescued after falling into a swimming pool in West Greenwich on Feb. 24, 2014.

WEST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) –Veterinarians are monitoring the condition of a horse who fell into a backyard swimming pool in West Greenwich Monday morning, saying the animal won’t be out of the woods for another 24 to 48 hours.

When rescue crews arrived to the home on Hudson Pond Rd. just after 10:30 a.m. they found Dixie, a 30-year-old horse, in the pool keeping her head above water.

According to crews on scene, Dixie and some other horses escaped from a neighbor’s house. The rescue team believes the animals were trying to get to a nearby pond when Dixie fell into the pool deep end. The owner of the home spotted the horse and called 911.

“My sister called me, saying that there’s a horse in our mom’s pool and my mom was freaking out,” said Anita Gill of West Greenwich. “It was stuck in the pool. I’m sure the water is freezing. I’m sure that was definitely not a good thing and when I got here the horse was still shivering.

Crews used ropes to try and coax the horse to the shallow end of the pool. Deputy Fire Chief Ray Kelley said Dixie seemed to help in her own rescue.

“The horse was doing the best that she could. Obviously because she was in the water so long, she was a bit fatigued. But, she was trying to get herself out and without her help, we wouldn’t have gotten her out,” Kelley said.

Once crews were able to get Dixie out of the water, they covered the scared and shivering horse with blankets. An equine veterinarian was called to the scene and treated Dixie for hypothermia, fluid in her lungs and a cut foot.

“She’s stable. She’s having some trouble breathing because she did inhale a lot of water, which can eventually lead to another life-threatening condition,” said Dr. Elizabeth Xavier Lawrence. “I would say the next 24 to 48 hours to one week, we have to monitor for her to potentially develop pneumonia.”

While the water temperature was unknown, Dixie’s temperature did drop during her 30 minutes in the pool. Lawrence told Eyewitness News the normal temperature for a horse is 98.9 to 101.5. Dixie’s temperature had plummeted to 92.1

Dixie will be returned to her owner and veterinarians will continue to monitor her, though they’re hopeful she’ll make a full recovery.

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