On July 13, 2023 we were contacted to help with four horses. We provided food, hay, hay nets, supplements, even buckets to soak their feed in and measured scoops to be sure they were feeding the correct amount. We also spent time explaining how to read the feeding instructions on the feed bag and proper way to measure the feed. With our plans to be out of town, they took everything home and started the refeeding program at their house. Based on pictures taken on the 13th, two of the horses were body condition scores 2 (emaciated) and the other two were body condition score 3 (thin).
We received daily text updates and on 7/31/23 we were able to go to their place to assess how they were doing after two weeks in our refeeding program. The horses had started to lose their winter fur and their coats starting to shine and had gained weight, but we saw other issues the people did not tell us about. The pictures to the left are (top to bottom) Coco, Layla, Kashmier and Amy.
Coco and Layla had great difficulty walking, Coco due to prior founder and inability to put weight on her right front foot, and Layla severe arthritis causing her to walk unbalanced and draggin her toes. The owners never considered they were in pain, said they had always been that way. We gave them much needed pain medication and made arrangements to pick them up the next day and bring them to the rescue for vet examination.
Shortly after the horses arrived, both Dr Secor and Dr Laird arrived. Even with pain medication the horses had difficulty walking, putting any more weight on would cause further pain and Coco's founder was so bad she was probably walking on the tip of her coffin bone. With their age (both over 25yrs old), arthritis in many locations and obvious pain, the very difficult decsion to let Coco and Layla go was made. Tears were shed as they were released from their pain. It has taken me all this time to even be able to speak about it, trying to deal with my anger and heartbreak for these sweet mares.
We picked up Amy and Kashmire the following day and brought them to the rescue. Amy is 24 and Kashmier is 25. We adjusted their diet to senior feed and continued the free feed bermuda and have seen slow weight gain. All their winter fur is gone and new, shiny hair is coming in.
Yesterday, Dr Laird gave Kashmier and Amy each a through exam. Both have effusion of their left stiffles (fluid around the hind knee) and arthritis. Amy's worst arthritis is along her spine (seen in the picture to the left the bumps along her spine), coupled with the bad stiffle she drags her left hind foot toe when she walks. As she builds her muscle back on her hind end that may change.
While Kashmier has had slow, steady weight gain, Amy has not. Blood was pulled on both mares to run a series of tests to determine if there is organ damage related to the long-term malnutrition.
Dr Laird also noticed Kashmier can't see as well as Amy. Her left eye has what she called a "Star Cataract", which you can visibly see as the white spot on the center of her left eye. She also has cloudiness in her right eye making focusing on anything difficult but she can see a bit, just blurry objects.
Amy also has a significant dental issue, called an underjet. Her lower jaw and teeth stick out further than her upper jaw and teeth. This may make dentistry difficult as we may not be able to get a speculum in her mouth. Dr Laird felt they were both healthy enought to be sedated for a complete dental.
Since they have had access to free feed bermuda, which does a great job of flushing any sand in their system through, they had very little sand in their manure, so one round of sand treatment should remove that.
We will continue our refeeding program, do a round of psyllium to treat any sand, schedule their dentistry and further hoof care. Once the blood work comes back we will have a better idea of what additonal needs they each will have.
The rescue of these four mares came at a time when we brought two other horses into the rescue, Hank and Jazzy, whose owners took awesome care of them, but can no longer ride and wanted us to find new, loving homes for them. Two of our volunteers will make that perfect home.
We also had two ranger horses donated to the rescue from the National Forest Service, both of which we found homes for too.
We were so saddened by the loss of Coco and Layla, but knowing they are no longer in such pain eases their loss a little bit and we know though it was a very hard decision, it was the right one for them.
Your generosity to help the girls and all of the horses, donkeys and minis at the rescue is such a blessing and appreciated more than you could imagine.
Your friendship, prayers and financial support allow us to help so many in need and this year it seems the need is so great!!!!