An All-Out Effort of Survival
Our team set out on an 18-hour round trip to save this beautiful starved gal, who ended up at an Oklahoma "last chance" horse lot. Horses in this last stage have a slim chance of survival, but it's exactly the kind of full time care we're set up to provide, so we didn't skip a beat!
Kyle, our Sanctuary Hand, left at 7:30 in the morning, drove to pick her up, and then continued north to Oklahoma State University Hospital where our team of vets could evaluate and tackle every potential issue in 1 fell swoop.
She's 20 years old, and starved to grade 1. In this condition, horse's bodies have stolen fat and protein from muscles and organs just to survive. Her muscles from hoof to jaw are wasted away - she does not even have the muscles in her face required to chew. Her awareness is very low. Standing here, as you see her, with head near the ground, unable to respond with her ears to noise -- is the "starved fog" that will be with her over the next many weeks, as we work a strict refeeding program to ensure she doesn't spontaneously die in what is called "refeeding syndrome" from her body receiving food.
She has pneumonia, fluid buildup on her lungs, and (the least of our concerns) crusty dermatitis on her legs, missing large swaths of hair, and terrible teeth.
We will never forget her first morning. In the photo above, she'd laid her head in our Sanctuary Manager's lap, and six of us gathered around. We were mostly crying - unsure if she was in deep sleep from exhaustion, or if she was passing away. We resolved as a team that EVEN IF she passed on, we would feel good knowing that she was not alone, not on a slaughter truck, not scared... we watched as her eyes twitched and her legs kicked sporadically. We were a sniffling, sobbing mess! And suddenly she woke, looked around wondering "How did I end up here in bed with all of YOU?" and stood up quickly! We clapped and hooped and hollered and cried even more. It was truly the scariest, saddest, and happiest moment combined in one that we've all ever had.
Round The Clock CareHer refeeding program is 1 pound of "alfalfa mash" 6 times a day and through the night. We set timers and feed and provide medicine like clockwork. She cannot eat anything other than alfalfa - not salt, not a single treat - (proven to give starved horses the best shot of survival).
We begin enrichment. This is important to us to bring her out of the fog. It includes petting and touching her from ear to belly to hoof. Singing to her. Playing soft music. Brushing her gently.
She cannot regulate her body temperature. So when it's 60 outside, her skin feels like 50. So we blanket her, and check her for sweat. Nothing. The blanket is working - she feels nice and snuggly under there.
Our amazing Veterinarian Dr. Metcalf (Three Oaks Equine) ultrasounds her frequently, and has adjusted her medicine schedule. He also scoped her to see if there is potentially a different and additional area of concern brewing - Strangles. We don't know yet. Even if she has Strangles she is in critical condition and couldn't weather any additional care for that. So for now, we're holding tight to the refeeding program and getting her past her pneumonia.
She is a sweet, sweet soul and is 100% giving her all. This is truly a joint effort. She whinny's when she sees us and looks out into the sunrise and sunset every day. This is the first step on the road to the rest of what should be an incredible life here at FarmHouse Fresh Sanctuary. And NONE of this is possible without you -- so thank you! By just buying the products you love, we're able to use profits to give deserving animals like this a second chance.