Loving Care For all Equine In Need!
Equine WellBeing Rescue, Inc.
Shala arrived at EqWBR on 9-24-11 after spending several weeks at a slaughter plant feed lot. She was injured with an open wound on her right front leg and listed as a 2 year old. Part of a group of horses who were being given an opportunity to be "bailed out" before shipping to the slaughter plant in Canada, no one had shown any interest in helping her. We bailed her out and arrangements were made for her to come to us with a load already coming this direction.
She haltered easily and let me lead her with no problem. Our initial intake exam showed not only the wound to her leg, but a huge bulge on her left cheek that appeared to be food she was packing in that cheek so she could eat. Additionally both her eyes were infected causing her to be sensitive to movement and a little uncoordinated. She was underweight, bony, total loss of her topline and muscle tone was weak. Her coat was dull, dirty and had many spots of alopecia (hair loss). I also noticed gray hairs on her muzzle and instantly knew she was a mature horse. We started treatment right away.
By examining her teeth, I determined her age to be approximately 12-14 years old. She was packing food in her left cheek because she had a loose tooth that was rubbing and bruising her cheek every time she chewed. It was necessary to extract the tooth which took very little time since there was so little attachment to her gum, that it was barely hanging in her mouth. She has another tooth that has a fracture, but that can remain until she is healthy enough for the removal of that tooth.
Through veterinary examination and blood tests we found that she could see out of both eyes so once the infection was gone, full sight would be probable. Blood test showed that her parasite level was so high (highest Eosinophil level the vet had ever seen with a horse) that the worms were not being sustained by the food she was eating, but had now started to take stored nutrients from her muscles causing weakness and severe anemia. We suspect that the itching from the parasite load caused her to rub her face and injure each eye leading to their infection since bi-lateral (both sides) melting cornea ulcers are uncommon.
Bottom line is Shala is one sick horse. With the loose tooth gone she immediately started eating better and had the ability to chew her food properly. We added Purina Nature's Essential 32 (Enrich 32) which is a standalone supplement of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and probiotics that works with any grain or hay and will eliminate the anemia and help to rebuild her muscle strength.
With a parasite level so high, standard de-worming protocol can actually be toxic to a horse. A normal dose of ivermectin would cause so many worms to dye off that the decomposition of the worms would become toxic and a large dye off could actually cause an impaction in her intestines causing her to colic. So slow and steady deworming is needed to gently eliminate the parasites in her system. Half the normal dose, every other week, for several weeks. Quick disposal of her manure is also essential to keep the worms from spreading to other horses as it dries out and blows away.
The initial round of antibiotic ointment for her eyes just wasn't enough to reduce the infection and we recently had a few cold, rainy days, that with her weakened health, caused the infection in her eyes to increase. We have now started a regiment of two types of eye drops, each given four times a day. The purulent drainage needs to be cleaned regularly too. While cleaning her eyes, I have removed two large hay stems that have been in her eye lid for some time. Her right eye is worse than the left and when she has her eye closed and I put a cool cloth over it, her eye is very hot. She loves the cool cloth and rests her head into it.
She has been seen twice now by vets, both Christi Garfinkel and Dawn Brown (one of our board members) and they both say her recovery will take many weeks. It could be 4-6 weeks for the infection in her eyes to stop and the anemia will go away as the parasite load is eliminated. We are planning on doing a second blood draw in 2-4 weeks to see how her recovery is doing.
This is an extraordinary mare. I know her eyes are painful, yet she lets us doing the cleaning and drops several times a day. She did nip me once, but that was after needing several injections (sedatives for cleaning her eyes and pain meds) and she was just tired of being poked. It was much like the horses nip each other when one is irritating the other - more of a herd reaction than intent to hurt me. I understand that and felt so sorry that these needed treatments are causing her more pain. She is stoic and we sense that she knows we are trying to help her and just endures the discomfort of the cleaning and eye drops.
He leg is healing fine and should heal without much of a scar if any. Her hair coat has already stated to thicken and has a shine to it. The second day she was here she let me give her a bath to get rid of the filth from the feed lot that was mired in her coat. She enjoys the brushing she gets and still exhibits some dandruff which will go a way as her health gets better.
I strongly suspect she is fully trained. When I trailered her to see Dr. Brown yesterday, she followed me right into the trailer no fuss, no muss and was content to just hang in the trailer while we waited for her exam. She unloaded just as easy. She stands tied, lets me pick up her feet and has a very, very sweet nature. She stands at the edge of her quarantine enclosure and looks on at the other horses and I know she is lonely. But she doesn't pace or whinny or show signs of her loneliness. She is a doll.
Thanks to everyone who has donated to help pay her bail and to help cover her veterinary expenses and medications. I also got her a soft halter and a fly mask to protect and shade her eyes. Donations allow us to get her everything she needs to recover her health and are appreciated more than you will know.
Additional donations are needed for her upcoming blood test, supplements and medicine and de-wormers that will be needed. She also needs her feet trimmed, vaccinations and eventually complete dentistry including the removal of the other fractured tooth. Donations also can help cover the food and care of the rest of the rescued horses here too...
I will keep everyone updated on Shala and hope to have an adoptive family step forward that wants a beautiful and excellent natured pony mare to be part of their family. She will need a good, loving home once she has recovered her health....
If you have any questions you can call me at (760) 703-4860 or email to Christine@EquineWellBeing.com