Final necropsy results confirm horse’s tongue severed in mysterious accident

YELM, Wash. --  The final determination of a forensic Necropsy on a horse named Annie found with it's tongue missing shows it appears to have been an accident.

However, forensic veterinarian Victoria Smith of the Steamboat Animal Hospital told Thurston County Sheriff's deputies she has never seen an injury like it before and cannot speculate how it happened.

Thurston Countys sheriff's deputies say Annie was found by her owner in the backyard in the 9500 block of Bridge Road in Yelm. “She saw what she thought was originally a dog KONG toy.  She realized it was actually a horse tongue.  It was about 6 inches long so she went and immediately went and checked on her horse and the horse was bleeding from the mouth," said Deputy Nastanksy.

Smith first thought the injury appeared intentional but as she got deeper into the mouth, she found more of a tear. There were no other lacerations in the mouth.  She was able to manipulate the remaining part of the tongue and found bruising.


The 28-year-old horse had to be euthanized Wednesday night because she wouldn't have been able to eat or drink without its tongue.

Annie the horse.

The first Thurston County Sheriff's deputy on the scene after the horse's problem was discovered Tuesday thought it was an intentional act, but then questions were raised by a veterinarian as to whether the horse might have severed its own tongue in an accident.

She said Annie's teeth were so degraded at the back of her mouth due to age that there is no way she could have bitten it off.

Thurston Countys sheriff's deputies say Annie was found by her owner in the backyard in the 9500 block of Bridge Road in Yelm. “She saw what she thought was originally a dog KONG toy.  She realized it was actually a horse tongue.  It was about 6 inches long so she went and immediately went and checked on her horse and the horse was bleeding from the mouth," said Deputy Nastanksy.

She immediately remembered another recent case of animal abuse nearby. Deputies say it's possible they may be connected.

"There was a situation a couple months ago with a sheep that was found maybe half a mile from this location that was found alive, emaciated, which is extremely skinny, in two garbage bags. It was found by two girls riding their horses and we, unfortunately, weren’t able to find that person," said Deputy Nastansky.