Monday, August 12, 2019

Week old foal attacked by cougar, saved by Equine WellBeing Rescue

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Lary carrying the injured foal 7-7-19
Late in the day on Sunday, July 7th, we got a call from a family in Lakeside, AZ, 30+ miles south of us explaining that an injured foal was in their yard and they didn't know what to do with it. They didn't think it would live through the night. They had called the sheriff's department because the foal walked off the Apache reservation where the fencing was down, had crossed a gravel road (Rim road) and into their yard. After speaking with the authorities they contacted us for help.
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Upon arrival we realized he was a new born foal, perhaps a week old. They told us a cougar had attacked the small herd of wild horses and chased them away. The colt was miraculously alive and left behind, no one saw what his mother looked like. Twice he was standing in the road and others put his inured little body back on the tribal side yet he found the strength to walk across the road and into their yard. He was carried into our trailer and when we got to the rescue Lary carried him into a stall. En-route we contacted Dr. Helzer and determined he would die if hauled hours away to an equine hospital so we bottle fed him mares milk-replacer, gently cared for his deep wounds and let him rest, keeping a close eye on him till the Dr. Helzer, Tammy, arrived.
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From what we were told it had been 24 hours prior to our picking him up since he had been attacked by the cougar. Then he wandered around without any way to nurse because the herd did not return to the area.
He was so weak that during the surgery to clean and repair his wounds no sedative was needed, just lidocaine to numb the wounds. He had a very deep wound over the jugular area of his neck and it was a miracle the cougar missed his veins and arteries. In addition to all the neck wounds, he had some scratches on his body and a very deep puncture on his right hind leg in the thigh area.
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Lary assisting with IV fluids
Repairs were made, a catheter placed and IV fluids administered. Detailed instructions were given to us as I continued his round the clock care. We were relieved to find out he could drink the milk replacer out of a bucket and with IV fluids we administered 4 times a day he quickly started to perk up. He was also getting pain meds, 2 kinds of antibiotics, probiotics and ulcer meds for his stomach and several supplements in addition to cleaning and dressing his wounds several times throughout the day and night.
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His neck wounds made drinking difficult even while healing.
We immediately posted his needs on Facebook and I have tried so hard to get an email and blog post done, but the few hours I have had not caring for him or the other equine I really needed to just catch my breath.
Much of the time at first it was eat, get his treatments and sleep, needed rest to heal. David and Ruth, having a colt of their own, sent our foal a large teddy bear to keep him company. As he got stronger his wounds started to heal, he gained weight and grew taller. So many neck wounds he had trouble swallowing for quite a while.
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Thank you David & Ruth for the big teddy bear.
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Thanks to our friend Raymond Patterson at, (long time supporter of the rescue) we were send a set of Silver Whinnys that were modified to fit his neck and with the silver woven throughout help with the healing process and help protect his wounds from any flies.
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Getting bigger and stronger
Steadily each week he has gained weight and gotten stronger. With the use of Dr. Helzer's dog scale we were able to measure his weight gain every other day till we were sure his gain was stable. By August 5th, he was 101.9 pounds. He had gained over 50 pounds since his arrival and had grown 2 inches in height. The only big issue was the puncture in his right hind leg was causing him to not be able to carry his weight for long periods of time. We kept watching closely for issues related to the puncture.
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Abscess site post surgery
Last week he was running and bucking on one of our daily walks and was truly full of piss and vinegar but by night time his leg was swollen and the next morning I contacted the vet because it felt like a large abscess directly in front of the puncture site. That was on Friday, August 9th and sure enough when aspirated it was an abscess, probably brewing for many weeks and broken to the surface by his bucking. More surgery. We lanced it, flushed the incision site, treated and installed a drain tube to help any residual infection come out.
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Learning to walk with a halter and lead line
We continue our walks 2-3 times a day and dress the surgery site and neck wounds at the same time and they all seem to be healing. He is on antibiotics again but no more pain meds or other medicines. He has been getting great supplements, probiotics, colloidal silver and is now eating hay, foal feed and we can see his growth continue. In the past week he has gained 14 pounds and grown another inch and he can put weight on his hind leg. Thankfully we can now feed every six hours and that seems to work well....I can get a little sleep.
We have named him Rimson because he crossed Rim Road to Dennis and Gail's house and this is considered Rim Country. Meet Rimson, "Son of the Rim Country".
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Photo by Leslie Brucker Photography
People have been sending well wishes from all over the world, France, England, Australia, Canada and across America. If you would like to send Rimson a card the address is: Rimson c/o Equine WellBeing Rescue, 8369 Buckskin Trail, Snowflake, AZ 85937.
He has quite a few followers with our daily posts on Facebook and he wants to tell everyone how much he appreciates your prayers, all the volunteers and practitioners stepping in to help, donations, the wonderful gifts and cards. Many have come to visit, some from out of state.
In fact, so many have wanted to visit that there is no time remaining in the day so we have decided to host an open house on Saturday, August 31st, from 10am - 2pm. Just a short and simple event so you can have the opportunity to see the rescue, meet Rimson and the other 24 horses and donkeys, and learn a little more about our mission to help equine in need. More details to come on that very soon.
Rimson is not out of the woods yet. He has another week of meds and a few weeks for his latest surgery to heal, but we can now say we anticipate a full recovery. We keep a constant eye on him and he is up to it he meets the horses and donkeys over the fence and knows he is not alone. He has sure touched many hearts, especially ours.
If you would like to help Rimson and the others here at the rescue with a donation there is a button below to click. With 24 horses and donkeys in our care every dollar is appreciated so very much and you know they are put to very good use.
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Photo by Leslie Brucker Photography
I would like to give a huge thank you to my friend Leslie Brucker for the beautiful and charming pictures of Rimson which tell his story so well.

Many, many thanks to all of you for all you do to help the rescue! Christine