Necropsy shows police horse died of liver torsion

Police horse Ian with a young fan.
Police horse Ian.

An Oregon police horse who died late last month had suffered a liver lobe torsion, it has been revealed.

Ian, a Belgium draft horse who had served with the police mounted division in Portland, Oregon, since 2005, had been rushed to Oregon State University’s Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Corvallis with a serious medical condition, but could not be saved.

It was originally reported that Ian, whose formal name was Southwind Ian, had died of a ruptured stomach – his initial diagnosis.

But a necropsy revealed that he actually died from a liver lobe torsion which causes abdominal pain and colic.

The Portland Mounted Patrol said it wanted to shared Ian’s story in the hope it would lead to further study and insight into the rare condition, which can affect many kinds of animals, including dogs.

Ian, 19, was Portland’s oldest police horse and was a favorite of children visiting the stables. He was easily recognizable with his docked tail.

The mounted unit said Ian’s gentle disposition made him the perfect horse to train new officers assigned to the horse division.

He trained many officers during his seven years of service and most recently helped graduate a new rider just two weeks ago.


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