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Andrea Leatherman Update

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  • #21
    I just saw the article. SO sad! Poor horse. Sounds like a freak accident.

    (Just with the article's author had not called the mare "it" when talking about how she fell. She, was a she.)
    "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

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    • #22
      EN now has an update. Mare's death attributed to heart failure. I hope that helps Andrea some, to know the accident was out of her hands. Godspeed to a lovely mare.
      www.ncsporthorse.com

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      • #23
        Buck Davidson updated us this afternoon on Andrea Leatherman, who is currently recovering in Ocala Regional Hospital after a rotational fall Friday at the Ocala Horse Trials left her with serious injuries and claimed the life of her 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare Neveah. The post-accident necropsy identified a heart attack as Neveah’s cause of death. Buck said Andrea — who suffered punctured lungs, cracked ribs and a concussion — is up and walking around today with assistance, which is very painful and tiring for her. Our hearts go out to Andrea, as we can only imagine the kind of physical and emotional pain she is experiencing right now.
        “She is very sad about Neveah,” Buck said. “She loved that little mare — what a nice horse. Andrea is a great rider and will be back soon. Neveah will be in our thoughts forever.” As Buck said, this tragedy is heartbreaking, but, thankfully, Andrea will make a full recovery. As Eventing Nation reported Friday, Neveah and Andrea suffered a rotational fall on the intermediate cross-country course when the mare left both legs at the fourth jump, an oxer table. She landed with her head and neck on Andrea, who lost consciousness. Neveah expired shortly thereafter. Andrea regained consciousness at the scene before being transported to Ocala Regional Hospital.
        I do hope we can do better than the garbage-can term "heart attack" when more facts are known.

        This thread has had nearly 2,000 views, probably from several hundred individuals. If each of us (I did last night) could go make a small donation to the USEA's Horse Safety or CV Research fund (shameless plug!) perhaps we could do better next time than speculate and send condolences.
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        • #24
          Heartbroken for Andrea and all of Neveah's connections.

          DW, I promise I'll add a little to one or both when I renew.
          Amanda

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          • #25
            WOW. Just terrible, the mare was so young. I guess I always thought of this as a middle aged horse problem. Something else to worry about I suppose.

            I hope though that this news gives Andrea some consolation, and some peace. Still Jingling!

            ETA: DW do you know if the USEA is doing pedigree research as well? I wonder if there is a hereditary component.
            Unrepentant carb eater

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            • #26
              I guess I always thought of this as a middle aged horse problem
              We don't even know what "this" is. The term (heart attack) is used so broadly as to be virtually meaningless. The specific entity does not even exist in equines, but the colloquial use of the term is used indiscriminately by the media. Drives me batsh*t.
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              • #27
                "Heart attack" has been the finding in a few other accidents. Is that implying that some sort of cardiac issue caused the crash? Or could that have been the reaction to the crash/injuries? Was it necessarily a reaction to exertion?

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                • #28
                  A cardiovascular cause has been confirmed or strongly suspected in a number of fatalities, but that encompasses a half dozen entirely different entities that I can think of right off the top of my head.

                  As to whether the cardiac "event" was a cause of, or caused by, the crash cannot be known from the information available yet. But AFAIK there have been no reports of horses suffering a secondary fatal cardiac event (other than lacerations of great vessels) with the proximate cause being a crash caused by other things. That is, however, speculation on my part.

                  I have no desire to see it for myself, but I'd imagine an expert analysis of any video that was taken might yield clues as to whether the horse seemed to struggle in the final stride(s) or not and whether there was a bad distance or the horse found itself unable to lift its legs inexplicably.

                  But the "heart attack" thing--it's kind of like saying "Joe has cancer". It is a broad, general term and no real accuracy WRT cause, treatment, prevention or prognosis can be made without knowing what KIND. I'm sure more details will eventually come clear. The mandate for immediate necropsies and the funding and infrastructure to make them happen (imagine if you will the logistics involved, never mind the heartbreak!) is the direct result of USEA's commitment to finding answers, and those donations really help!
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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                    A cardiovascular cause has been confirmed or strongly suspected in a number of fatalities, but that encompasses a half dozen entirely different entities that I can think of right off the top of my head.

                    As to whether the cardiac "event" was a cause of, or caused by, the crash cannot be known from the information available yet. But AFAIK there have been no reports of horses suffering a secondary fatal cardiac event (other than lacerations of great vessels) with the proximate cause being a crash caused by other things. That is, however, speculation on my part.

                    I have no desire to see it for myself, but I'd imagine an expert analysis of any video that was taken might yield clues as to whether the horse seemed to struggle in the final stride(s) or not and whether there was a bad distance or the horse found itself unable to lift its legs inexplicably.

                    But the "heart attack" thing--it's kind of like saying "Joe has cancer". It is a broad, general term and no real accuracy WRT cause, treatment, prevention or prognosis can be made without knowing what KIND. I'm sure more details will eventually come clear. The mandate for immediate necropsies and the funding and infrastructure to make them happen (imagine if you will the logistics involved, never mind the heartbreak!) is the direct result of USEA's commitment to finding answers, and those donations really help!
                    I agree ... Saying that the mare died of a "heart attack" is not very enlightening, and does nothing to tell us whether the accident was caused by some sort of cardiovascular event, or whether said cardiovascular event was caused by trauma from the fall.

                    Not to mention, what is usually referred to as a "heart attack" in humans is relatively unheard of in horses, to my knowledge.

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                    • #30
                      Hi all! Jenni Autry with EN checking in to say that "heart attack" was the most detail Buck Davidson could give us about Neveah's cause of death at this time. We are working on getting more details and will continue to post updates as we know more. Thanks for your patience as information continues to be clarified and made public. Go eventing.
                      Jenni Autry
                      www.eventingnation.com

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                      • #31
                        JMHO, but a good horse that left both front legs at the 4th jump was probably already under some kind of distress. When those things happen, they happen very fast, unfortunately. I'm sure there was nothing to be done. I will comfort myself, until more is known, by assuming the caridac event--whatever it was--was the cause, not an effect, of the fall.

                        So very sorry for Andrea and all of the mare's connections.

                        (The use of "it" in referring to a horse is a Brittish thing, no? In no way any kind of insult, just a mannerism that we're less familiar with here, I think)
                        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                        Spay and neuter. Please.

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                        • #32
                          I've argued for this before: What can't those more knowledgeable for the lay person come up with a term to cover this type of medical situation that makes more sense (Deltawave and others: I'm talking to you).

                          These types of articles are trying to quickly state that there was some sort of cardiac condition involved in the accident. If you don't like the term "Heart Attack" (which is fair), can you suggest something else?

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                          • #33
                            I would be more than happy to translate an actual diagnosis into English, and pride myself on being able to do so fairly fluently. Heart attack is a fairly specific and precise diagnosis, actually, in the "human world" but is used (incorrectly) too loosely in many situations.

                            But as of yet in this case, there IS no diagnosis that can be clarified, other than some sort of fatal cardiac event. To broadly generalize, this could include an arrhythmia, the rupture of a blood vessel in, around, near, or far away from the heart, hemorrhage in the lungs, rupture of part of a heart valve, tearing of an artery causing bleeding in the pericardium (sac around the heart), for starters. NONE of these would be called, strictly speaking, a "heart attack" but again you have that odd disconnect between the conventional use of the term and the medical definition.

                            I'm at a loss to come up with one phrase that would cover all of that in a meaningful way. Perhaps "heart problem"? We use "cardiac event" as a catch-all. Yes, heart attack works for a lot of people, but it is (IMO) needlessly confusing because that term is already taken in a way by being something very specific in humans (a sudden blockage of an artery with a clot, conspicuously absent from the above as it is virtually unheard of in equines) and common enough and tragic enough to have very powerful emotional resonance with anyone who's lost a loved one to a heart attack.

                            I know it's tedious and I apologize for it being a pet peeve. I realize the use of the term is not going anywhere. If the actual necropsy information is made public, I'd be ever so happy to translate, as I said.
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                            • #34
                              I agree with Deltawave that I would really encourage everyone to donate to the USEA cardiovascular study. The pain that this sudden, inexplicable loss causes is immeasurable and if it could be prevented in the future, that would be an incredible hope for the future. PLEASE donate so that someone in the future will not have to experience this needless, currently unforseeable loss.

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                              • #35
                                "Heart attack" is a layman's description based on human experiences - don't be too hard on Buck, that's probably his interpretation of what he was told because it makes sense to him. I'm surprised the necropsy results were available this rapidly; is it possible the information was preliminary?

                                Deltawave - the Pine Top vet told me that "heart failure" was the #1 cause of sudden death on the race track. No cause, no reason, the heart just stops. And for the poster that asked, no it's not age related (that IS "heart attack" in human terms, artherioschlerosis generally). There is (presently) no predictor nor reliable measure for its risk.

                                As our vet reminded me, "Just think of all the anecdotal stories of the humans who have a stress test and physical, pass with flying colors, and drop dead the following week." IMO, extreme exertion is its own risk, but also IMO it's a hell of a lot better than dying in bed (except for one circumstance).

                                I agree that support of research into all types of sudden death syndromes is highly recommended.

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                                • #36
                                  I know, I had no intention of making this sound like a criticism of Buck or anyone who was trying to share information.

                                  And oy, "heart failure" is another catch-all term that doesn't fit. "Cardiac arrest" is the proper term for a sudden death due to arrhythmia, which is often the diagnosis of exclusion when everything else is ruled out, because an arrhythmia typically leaves no "smoking gun" like a torn or bleeding spot.

                                  And "passing a stress test with flying colors and dropping dead a week later" is its own, ENTIRELY different topic. That has everything to do with the nature of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteres) and "real" heart attacks and virtually NOTHING to do with exertion being dangerous. A stress test is not "extreme exertion". And it is a perfectly TERRIBLE screening test for heart disease. Don't get me started!
                                  Click here before you buy.

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                                  • #37
                                    I hope Jenni Autry from Eventing Nation can get some more info for us on the cause of death.

                                    I also cringed when I heard it described as a "heart attack." I have no idea if horses are like children who can get viruses that cause cardiomyopathy and sudden cardiac death or if these deaths are genetic problems or infection related. It is time to fund the research.

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                                    • #38
                                      Most horses that die suddenly of a "heart attack" are actually dying of an acute aortic rupture (aneurysm). Like when you hear of horses dying in mid-stride on the track, it is almost always due to aortic rupture.

                                      Also, if the horse had a previously undiagnosed arrhythmia like atrial fibrillation, that could have caused acute death during exercise. However, the mare would have likely been exercise intolerant and showed signs of disease beforehand.

                                      In light of what we know, it seems like whatever cardiac event took place happened because of the fall; whether it was traumatic or otherwise. Just seems like too much of a coincidence for her to have an aortic rupture right at the take off point of a jump. Certainly the stress of the fall could have caused this or some other form of acute heart failure.

                                      It was a terrible accident for sure.

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                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                        But AFAIK there have been no reports of horses suffering a secondary fatal cardiac event (other than lacerations of great vessels) with the proximate cause being a crash caused by other things. That is, however, speculation on my part.
                                        It would be hard to know if this was happening, even if you went looking for it.

                                        However, we do know that it happens with humans -- trauma followed by cardiac arrest (due to any number of factors) -- so there's no reason to think it couldn't happen with horses.

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                                        • #40
                                          Most horses that die suddenly of a "heart attack" are actually dying of an acute aortic rupture (aneurysm
                                          That's what we used to think, and it is still a cause of SOME sudden deaths, but not, if I'm recalling correctly, "most". And rupture is not necessarily the same thing as an aneurysm--an artery of normal size can rupture, too. The entity of aortic dissection (also not the same as aneurysm, although the two can coexist) is what I always thought we'd find on all these necropsies, but it doesn't appear to be all that common. Aortic rupture certainly does happen in older horses and breeding stallions, though, with some frequency. Hickstead of course being the most obvious example in recent memory, and High Scope as well.

                                          What I find very frustrating is the lack (thus far) of any really compelling common cause, both in terms of tissue pathology and in terms of demographic (if one can use that term for a horse) common ground. This was a 7 year old mare at fence FOUR, hardly an exhausted horse with too many miles on coursre under its belt, etc. etc.

                                          More data and more data, and I hope the kind gained by necropsy comes in SLOWLY.

                                          It would be hard to know if this was happening, even if you went looking for it.
                                          Perhaps, but maybe not impossible. It is not too difficult, for example, to tell (under a microscope) if tissue was transected by sudden deceleration (pointing towards the crash causing a vessel to rupture) or if it was an area of bad/abnormal collagen that had stretched little by little and then given way, such as in the case of most aortic dissections and ruptures (pointing towards the rupture causing the crash). Another reason to scrutinize any video, too--often a horse can be seen quite obviously to be losing power a stride or two before a collapse.
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