Have you ever wondered where police horses end up when they retire? Most are adopted out to private sanctuaries or rescue organizations, often times being visited by their former partners. The T.S. & K.D. Glide Foundation on the outskirts of Davis houses eight of them. Operative for more than 20 years, the Glide Foundation has 200 acres of pasture for the horses. Recently, a team from the UC Davis veterinary hospital treated one that has quite a past.
AAA Andy, a 26-year-old American Quarter Horse gelding, had a right eye which was swollen and so painful that he held it completely shut. Dr. Esther Millares Ramirez, a fellow with the Equine Field Service, performed an ocular examination on AAA Andy, and noticed a cloudy spot in the cornea, leading her to diagnose him with a corneal stromal abscess. She consulted with Dr. Mary Lassaline of the Equine Ophthalmology Service on how best to proceed, and the two agreed that treatment with eye medications using a subpalpebral lavage system (SPL) would allow AAA Andy to recover at home.
An SPL has small tubing inserted through the eyelid and temporarily stitched into place. Medication inserted through the opposite end of the tube—generally secured on the horse’s neck—allows veterinarians to treat eye disorders without continually touching the eye and bothering the horse. The system makes it easy for horse owners, who may not be as comfortable performing the task, to easily medicate the eye if treatment calls for a prolonged period of application.
After a month of treatment using the SPL, AAA Andy’s eye was 90 percent open, with only mild swelling in his eyelid. He was able to discontinue all medications and Dr. Millares Ramirez expects the remainder of his recovery to happen quickly.
AAA Andy—named so because he was given to the San Francisco Police Department by the insurance company—served with the department for many years. In 2003, he made headlines after being attacked by an unleashed dog, bitten on his belly and legs and chased by the dog for a half mile after throwing his mounted partner. AAA Andy recovered from severe wounds and returned to the mounted division to once again serve the people of San Francisco.
“People sure love these animals,” Officer Bill Simms of the San Francisco police mounted division told the San Francisco Chronicle at a 2007 retirement event for AAA Andy and two other horses. “Folks want to know everything they can about them. They ask you everything. I never had anyone ask me about my patrol car.”