GUTHRIE, Okla. – Big Tex, one of the top bucking broncs in ProRodeo, had surgery Saturday night after suffering with a bout of colic. He is recovering at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
The Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo horse, which was scheduled to perform during the final round at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, had been treated for several days at the Lazy E by Dr. Grace Richter of Oakridge Equine Hospital in Edmond, Okla.
“He had displacement of the colon between the spleen and the kidney,” Richter said Monday afternoon.
She and the staff performed a rolling maneuver in which Big Tex as lifted off the ground by his hind legs with a tractor; the purpose was to help get the colon off his spleen and kidney. When that failed to ease Big Tex’s discomfort, she decided it was time for surgeons at OSU to be called in. Travis Adams, the Pete Carr Pro Rodeo operations manager, was with the animal through much of the treatment and took Big Tex the 45 miles to Stillwater, Okla.
“I know he’s tough, but I didn’t know how much he wasn’t showing us,” Richter said of the 14-year-old bay bucking horse, which was named the 2010 Bareback Horse of the Year. “I thought this was pretty mild when I first saw him. I wasn’t too worried until the third day when we hadn’t had a lot of production. I was worried that there could be a whole lot more going on in there that I couldn’t see in the ultrasound.”
Dr. Chase Whitfield at OSU performed the surgery and found blockage in the colon not allowing things to continue to pass. It can be quite dangerous for horses. Fortunately when Whitfield opened Big Tex’s abdomen, he found no need to go into the colon. Instead, the surgeon injected fluid directly into the colon and allowed it to move the blockage.
“When I talked to Dr. Whitfield, he said the horse was doing great,” Richter said.
Adams, who has been around Big Tex for the last several years, praised Richter.
“She did all the work that kept him in such great shape, and when it was time for the final decision for surgery, she made it,” Adams said. “She was up all night with him keeping fluids in him and doctoring him. She sent him to OSU because her clinic didn’t have the facility to handle a bucking horse. She spent her time at the arena working on him.
“In my opinion, she is the single reason he is alive. She was the one who kept him strong enough to make it through surgery.”
Doctors expect Big Tex to recover completely but say he will be sidelined from action for about four to six months.