On Sunday, June 4, 2017, we received a message from a friend about a horse that was injured and unable to walk well because of wire tangled around his legs. We were already busy that day moving horses to pasture but agreed we'd do what we could to help! We'd like to thank Kerry and Marcie for their concern and compassion - to Kerry for making the initial call and to Marcie for reaching out to us and then driving all the way out there to locate the horse and waiting until we could arrive to help us assess the situation, corral and load him.
We arrived at the location to find a young grulla colt with barbed wire wrapped around his right hind leg above the hock. In addition to the injury to that leg, the wire was also tangled in his tail, effectively hobbling him. It was apparent that at some point his left hind leg had also been wrapped in wire as it was swollen and covered in cuts and pus too. The horse was also quite thin and with an unusual posture due to the way he had to walk and stand with the wire restricting his movement. He was very quiet and did not seem too afraid of us, though this may have been because he'd resigned himself to fate already, knowing he couldn't get away. The biggest problem with helping horses that you have no history on is that they are usually completely unhandled, as this boy was, and catching and treating them can be very difficult or even impossible!
Though it was obvious that his injuries were not new, we worked quickly to help. While Mike set up the panels alongside the truck (we ALWAYS have panels, it's the only way to go), Marcie and I slowly pushed the colt down the hill toward the truck. He walked right down into the corral we'd made with the panels. We had three horses on our truck already as we'd been moving the horses before we diverted to help this boy, and the colt seemed interested in them. Once we had him corralled, we had to unload the other horses, push the injured horse onto the trailer, and then reload the three we'd taken off. This all went SO smoothly, and after dismantling the panels and putting them back on the trailer, we were on our way, with a quick stop en-route to drop the three horses at their summer foster.
Our concern at this point was - how severe was the injury, was there compromised blood flow to the lower leg, and most of all, would we even be able to sedate the horse to treat him. If not, our only other option would be euthanasia to end his suffering. I'd already called our fabulous vet to let her know the situation and she said she'd be out as soon as we got home. We arrived home and Mike backed the trailer up to the gate beside the barn. We opened the trailer door and the colt slowly stepped out. We guided him over to the barn door that leads to the clinic. We were very pleasantly surprised when he walked quietly into the barn without any hesitation at all! We slowly closed up the stock panels. The horse stood there, quietly, not moving, not upset. It was almost weird! We slipped a halter onto his head. No problem! While I went to the house to call the vet to let her know we were home, Mike said he'd try to cut the wire off the leg. I told him I thought maybe he should wait until the vet sedated the horse but when I returned, it was already done! The wire had been wrapped twice around the leg, down to the bone. It was a disgusting matted mess of hair and maggots, lots and lots and lots of maggots!! (Unfortunately none of my maggot pictures turned out well.)
At this point our vet arrived. I warned her about the maggots (she's not a fan lol) but I told her I was sure it would be easy to sedate the colt, he was being so quiet. The sedation went well, and then the consensus was that we would just wash the wounds, cleaning them as best we could, leave them open to air and re-evaluate the following day. This sounded pretty straightforward but took over an hour because the maggots just kept coming out of the wound. Every time we thought we got them all we'd see more movement. When we'd done the best we could, we applied creams and spray. He also got an IV dose of bute and and IM shot of antibiotic, and sulfa for at least a week. Our vet left at 11 pm and we still had to do the evening feed for the other horses so it was a long day.
This boy was an amazing patient. He was SO good and didn't make any aggressive or mean movements. His prognosis is guarded but good. He is about 2 years old and if all goes well will be gelded once he's mended. Marcie had named him Chief, but since we already have a Chief, Mike named him Haida. Haida will need ongoing vet care and we hope that he recovers fully. If you'd like to donate toward his care it would be very much appreciated! Donations can be made through our website - http://bearvalleyab.org/index.html - or by etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org or through the donate button on our facebook page (which takes you to our website).
All monetary donations are eligible for a charitable tax receipt.
*Please note, some graphic photos follow!*