Lightning. It’s been happening a lot here lately in the Midwest, where it seems thunder storms are rolling through almost every other day where I am. It was these storms that started a conversation about horses being struck by lightning. I asked one of the practitioners I have been working with about the signs a horse exhibits when it is struck by lightning. His response was a collection of stories and cases that he has seen over the past 30 years of working as an equine-only practitioner at a practice that treats everything form race horses to pleasure horses to even horses in a large Amish community. There might be only some mild neurologic signs, but he once saw a horse that had its spine shattered by lightning (obviously observed on a postmortem exam, as the horse did not survive). It was interesting to talk about the topic, and it gave me some clues as to what to look for in the future should I see a possible similar case.
People think when you go to vet school that you learn everything there is to know, but in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth. A lot of learning goes on outside the classroom both before and after graduation from life’s real teachers. Those teachers are the practitioners who have been working in the field for years. The chance of actually seeing a horse in vet school that was hit by lightning is slim, and it’s a topic that hasn’t been addressed so far in my education. Some say learning from experience is the best way, and I’d be inclined to agree in many cases. However, I think it’s important to remember that it doesn’t always have to be your own experience that you learn from.