The first monthOn 16 February 2013 two ex-racehorses were rescued fromChatsworth in the Western Cape. Racehorse 911 found them neglected, starving and with infected wounds. This is their progress in the first month of rehabilitation.
Turando’s TeaseOnce the fillies had been removed tosafety, their condition was assessed byan equine veterinarian.Turando’s Tease was clearly thin butcarried more weight than the other filly.Her left hind leg was badly swollen fromthe fetlock to her groin, cellulitis froman infected wound on her fetlock.She was immediately given strongantibiotics and anti-inflammatories.The horse’s passport indicated she wasa three year old, by Lake Conniston outof Rose Ispahan (by Jallad).16 February 2013
Silver SocksThe thinner filly was Silver Socks, athree year old by Lake Conniston out ofPetticoat Lane by Dominion Royale.According to the fillies’ owner inChatsworth, Socksie was very fast andhad won many races in the area. Bushracing, an underground and illicit formof racing, is rife in KwaZulu-Natal andthe Eastern Cape but little is knownabout it in the Western Cape. Theowner’s statement that the horses hadbeen used for bush racing raised animmediate alarm.Aside from being obviously severelyunderfed and near starvation, SilverSocks was lame from an abcess on thecoronary band of her left hind foot.16 February 2013
First stepsRacehorse 911 used the fillies’passports to trace their history. Theyhad been in racing training until earlyDecember 2012 before going to a dealerwho passed them on to the Chatsworthowner. In just two months the fillieswent from being highly conditionedathletes to this shocking condition.Dr Peggram surmised that they hadbeen given little if any feed and were leftto their own devices to find whatgrazing they could in the veld.19 February 2013
Feeding rightThe trouble with emaciated animals isthat their digestive systems are not ableto cope with large amounts of food. DrPeggram predicted the fillies wouldshow signs of protein overload via puffylegs as they were simply not used togetting any protein. To avoid this, thehorses were fed teff (which is mild onthe digestive system) and oat hay aswell as small amounts of concentrates.19 February 2013
Kind donationsRehabilitating emaciated and mistreatedhorses is a long-term process. DrPeggram estimated it would take atleast 6 months before the fillies wouldreach two thirds of the condition theycarried in racing.This process is also very costly and if itweren’t for the enormous kindness ofmany people who have read about thefillies and followed their story onwww.racehorse911.co.za and onFacebook at Racehorse 911, anddonated money for oat hay and teff, theproject would not be possible. Inaddition, local feed company, EquusHorse Feeds offered to sponsor thefillies’ concentrates.19 February 2013
TreatmentsA fairly small but infected wound onTurando’s Tease’s hind leg was thecause of cellulitis, a very painfulinflammation which extended from herhoof to her groin. Initially it was toopainful to touch and she would lift herleg so high to get away she would fallover.Anti-inflammatories, pain killers andantibiotics were administered and soongave her relief. The leg was hosed andbathed in cool water to soothe it andprovide additional comfort.19 February 2013
Hoof careThe farrier work has also beensponsored by two very kind people whohave adopted the feet of a filly each.The first visit from the farrier revealedthat their hooves were riddled withabcesses. He cut them out as best aspossible, being careful not to cause toomuch distress.We poulticed the worst of the abcessesand continue to do so, which seems togive them some relief. Without theirlittle red booties (made from a nappy,shade cloth and red duct tape), thefillies can hardly walk.4 March 2013
A spark at lastWhen the fillies were rescued fromChatsworth they were in such a state ofdepression, both physical and mental,that they had no interest in anything.They didn’t prick their ears or behavelike normal horses. They ate and drankand their bodily functions were normal,but it was as though they had no spirit.After two and a half weeks, we finallysaw signs of interest coming from thehorses. This picture shows themwaiting at the gate for dinner. SilverSocks is on the left, Turando’s Tease ison the right.4 March 2013
Feeding regimeTo start with, the fillies were placed onEquus Nice & Easy cubes. This is a lowprotein (9%) hay replacer. It was gentlefor their stomachs and helped preventdigestive problems associated with thesudden feeding change. This wassupplemented with ad-lib oat hay andteff.After 3 weeks the feed was altered tostart introducing Equus All-TimeBalancer supplement and a higherprotein concentrate, Equus Cool &Perform (12%).6 March 2013
Gaining weightOne month after Silver Socks andTurando’s Tease were rescued fromstarvation and neglect, the fillies arestarting to show signs of picking upweight.They are still plagued by abcesses andDr Peggram has warned that this couldcontinue for many months as their feetsuffered a great deal of abuse. They hadbeen ridden without shoes on hard,stony uneven ground. Thin-walled andflat-soled hooves of racingThoroughbreds accustomed to beingshod, couldn’t cope with this trauma.12 March 2013
You can helpRehabilitating emaciated horses takes a lot of feed, care and money. We wish toexpress a heartfelt thank you to all those who have donated feed and sponsored farriery, veterinary care and donated blankets. If you would like to help, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this slideshow, follow the blog at www.racehorse911.co.za and like us on Facebook at Racehorse 911.