Rescued at the Roadside: Young Foal Saved By WVS India

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Rescued at the Roadside: Young Foal Saved By WVS India

Wed 11th Jul 2018

Dr Ilona from ITC India recently got a call about a pony and her foal in trouble…

The mare was lying down by the side of the road in Ooty and had already been there overnight with a small foal running around his mother. After some driving around Dr Ilona finally located them and the scene she saw was very sad indeed. The recumbent mare had been covered with a plastic sheet by the residents in the area with an attempt to keep her warm and protect her from dogs and birds that had already begun to bite and peck her. One of her eyes was gone but it was unclear if she had lost it already or if a bird had come and pecked it during the night. The little foal, less than two months old, was nervously running around and was very hungry. 

Dr Ilona lifted up the hind leg of the mother to give the little foal access to his mother’s udder for some milk. He drank and drank! The team then assessed the mother and gave pain medication and, with the help of several men from a nearby construction site, tried to lift and support her to stand. Her hind legs would not work and she was just sitting like a dog. They moved her to her other side and started IV fluids to treat dehydration. The team tried to locate the owner by asking some of the local horse owners that the team are in contact with. However, there was no response from the owner and he seemed to have lost interest in the pony’s case. 

Every five minutes or so the foal wanted to have a drink and so one of the team was constantly lifting the hind leg of the mare to let the baby come and suckle. After many litres of IV fluid therapy they attempted again to lift up the mare, but still she was not able to put any weight on her hind legs. Our vets don’t know what had caused this paralysis as there did not seem to be any fractures on her hind legs but she did have an injury across her spine. 

Finally, the team made the hard decision to put the mare to sleep and arranged for transport to take the foal to the IPAN Hill View Farm Animal Refuge to be cared for. Taking care of an orphan foal is a lot of work with the foal requiring up to seven litres of milk every day.

The team are initially feeding him with a plain Lactogen and then later with a mixture of Lactogen and cow’s milk before being fully weaned to plain cow’s milk. He is already eating a little roughage (hay and green grass) which is a promising start, but he will need a lot of care and milk feeds for a few more months. 

Without our veterinary team working in this area, there would have been no help available for this pony and her foal. This young animal has had a difficult start to life but thanks to the team his future is looking brighter!