In September 2016, rescue charity, HorseWorld was called out to an industrial area of Avonmouth, Bristol to collect three abandoned horses. We believe they were abandoned simply because they were not a desirable colour to breed from.
Safely back at HorseWorld, all three horses were examined by the vet. The elderly mare is probably in her late twenties. She had obviously been well handled and had once been someone’s much loved horse. She now had very few teeth left and was underweight but with regular feeds and long grass, she soon picked up.
The young filly was believed to be about 18 months old. Unhandled and very wary of humans, she was in fairly good health.
The 4-month-old colt foal did not appear to be suckling from either mare. He was emaciated and in extremely poor condition. We named him ‘Peeta’ and he needed a lot of care to bring him up to a good condition.
“Peeta was such a frail, delicate and emaciated little foal when we found him.” Said HorseWorld’s Yard Manager, Sarah Hollister. “We prepared ourselves that we may not be able to save him, he just looked so awful. He has always had such a sweet nature and is so willing to let us help him; we just had to fight our hardest for him.”
Peeta had a dangerously high worm burden but if he had been wormed with a normal dose straight away, it would have killed him. He had to be treated with steroids before the vet could administer wormer in small doses to kill the parasites and bring the worm burden down gradually. This worm burden had badly damaged his gut, he also had a respiratory infection and an umbilical hernia which wouldn’t heal due to his poor immune system.
By July 2017, after almost a year of treatment and a lot of loving care, Peeta had reached a healthy weight and his future was looking bright. But now he has gone downhill again. After a routine wormer early in the New Year Peeta developed colic, a very dangerous and potentially fatal condition. The emergency vet was called and HorseWorld Grooms nursed him through the night.
By the morning, Peeta was comfortable but refusing to eat or drink, so he very quickly lost weight. Grooms stayed at his side day and night for the next few days. Blood tests were taken, a steroid injection administered and the vet stomach-tubed electrolytes and medication into him. It was touch and go whether he would survive.
Peeta is not out of the woods by a long way. He is still receiving round the clock care. Assistant Welfare Yard Manager, Vicky Greenslade, explains “We want to give him every possible chance to live. He is so young; it would be tragic to lose him now. Horses can live around thirty years; he isn’t even two years old yet. We really need the support of the public to do this as we rely entirely on donations. If anyone can donate towards his vet bills, whatever the amount, you could make a big difference to the life of a young horse that was born with all the odds stacked against him.”
To find out more about HorseWorld and to make a donation, please visit www.horseworld.org.uk or call 01275 893020.