Paint-ball victim Lily: Surgeon explains her eye operation

Dr Nikki Scherrer, ophthalmology resident at the New Bolton Center, with Lily after the eye surgery. Photos: Penn Vet New Bolton Center/Facebook
Dr Nikki Scherrer, ophthalmology resident at the New Bolton Center, with Lily after the eye surgery. Photos: Penn Vet New Bolton Center/Facebook

The mare shot up to 130 times with a paint-ball gun is recovering following her eye operaton, with her surgeon confident she will bounce back well.

Lily, who is believed to be aged about 20 and with Arabian and Appaloosa bloodlines, has been under the care of veterinarians after being found in poorly condition at the New Holland Sales Stables in Pennsylvania this week.

Lily was not part of the day’s sale and it is surmised she was abandoned there by her owners. She was found to be underweight and suffering from eye issues which required surgery.

However, it was the sight of her grey coat, stained from the impact of up to 130 paint-ball pellets, that has shocked the wider horse community.

Dr Nikki Scherrer during surgery to remove Lily's right eye.
Dr Nikki Scherrer during surgery to remove Lily’s right eye.

Lily, now under the wing of the Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, was stabilized by the saleyard veterinarian, which enabled her to be transported to the New Bolton Center, the large animal hospital which is part of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

She was assessed and underwent an hour of surgery on Thursday to remove her right eye and treat her left eye.

The eye conditions were chronic and were not caused by the paint-balls.

Lily is now resting comfortably in her stall in the Moran Critical Care Center, part of the New Bolton Center. She remains in quarantine in the isolation wing.

Dr Nikki Scherrer operates on Lily. The surgery took about an hour.
Dr Nikki Scherrer operates on Lily. The surgery took about an hour.

Her surgeon, Dr Nikki Scherrer, an ophthalmology resident at the New Bolton Center, says her prognosis is excellent.

“Removing the eye doesn’t change anything for her at all except she will be a more comfortable horse. She is already adjusted to not having vision in that eye.

“The ulcer in the left eye we expect to heal in two weeks. She does have vision in her left eye. It’s not normal because of a positioning abnormality. She has limited vision.

“We did a cytology of the ulcer in her left eye, which means we looked at the cells where the ulcer was and they did not show any signs of infection. So we did a debridement procedure to help stimulate healing, which means we removed the cells that were no longer healthy.

“We ended up removing almost the entire top layer of the cornea. So because the ulcer was so big we decided to place a catheter to help medicate her, which will be a more comfortable way for us to give her medication.

Dr. Nikki Scherrer, Ophthalmology Resident at Penn Vet's New Bolton Center, performs a procedure on the ulcer in Lily's left eye.
Dr. Nikki Scherrer, Ophthalmology Resident at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center, performs a procedure on the ulcer in Lily’s left eye.

“We removed the right eye and she has a head bandage covering that site to make sure it doesn’t swell and that the incision stays clean.

“We will look at the incision tomorrow to make sure it is healing appropriately. We will put on another bandage for two to three days, and then we will remove it and she’ll just look like she has skin there instead of an eye. We took the two eyelids and sutured them together so there is just skin there now.”

Scherrer said it was decided to remove her right eye because it was going to be a chronic long-term problem for Lily. “The eye was permanently blind and no use to her. This way we make sure that she won’t be in pain.”

Those with with information about this case can contact the Lancaster County SPCA on 717-917-6979 or can email [email protected].

Details about donating toward Lily’s care can be found at Omegahorserescue.com. There is a link on the left of Omega’s front page enabling people to donate via Paypal.

Megan Cassidy, patient care technician, with Lily just before the eye surgery, in Lily's stall at New Bolton Center's Moran Critical Care Center.
Megan Cassidy, patient care technician, with Lily just before the eye surgery, in Lily’s stall at New Bolton Center’s Moran Critical Care Center.

4 thoughts on “Paint-ball victim Lily: Surgeon explains her eye operation

  • March 21, 2016 at 10:40 am
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    I disagree regarding her eye removal, should have left the eye be and treated the infection, ulcer, allow time for natural healing, may have even saved her vision some or not, but would have left her eye where it belongs! Now she will have an ugly hole in her head! Our body is designed to heal itself, just needs some immune support these days on account of human lack of common sense, failure, tainted feed and drugs.. https://www.mcdowellsherbal.com/…/1026-corneal-ulcer-miracl… There are other remedies, Purishield Eye Wash, Vetericyn Eye Wash! They didn’t allow any time for natural healing! Just my opinion!

    Reply
  • March 22, 2016 at 4:00 am
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    Sad. This is close to me. Thank God she was saved. I’m hope she has some good years. Who did this to her?

    Reply
  • March 22, 2016 at 7:07 am
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    Removing the eye was most likely unpreventable as it had gone to the point of no return and the eye like they said would be useless and even long term they may have had to remove it regardless. Why put her thru more pain and being uncomfortable when now it will be all up hill. She still has a ulcerated eye that will take time but that should heal fine. I cannot imagine someone so heartless would hurt an animal that is already in distress and needing help so badly. Paint ball people if you know who did this step up to the plate. The sport was not meant to hurt but you have turned it into that and are getting a bad rap for one or two people being stupid. Who ever you are put your head down in shame.

    Reply
  • March 24, 2016 at 2:49 pm
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    Thank you so much for helping this poor pitiful innocent animal

    Reply

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