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Penny and Polly update

On a cold Friday in February, The Horse Trust received a call from their colleagues at the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare about three emaciated mares found abandoned in a corn field in Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire. One mare was so ill that she had to be put to sleep by vets immediately. The remaining two horses were taken to The Horse Trust, and were named Penny and Polly by staff.

Both horses arrived at The Horse Trust weighing only a little over 300kgs each; they should both weigh around 450kgs. They were emaciated with a body condition score of 0 to 0.5 on a 0-5 scale. They were suffering from rainscald, conjunctivitis and Penny was severely lame on one of her hind legs. As both horses were very sick, they have been monitored around the clock by both The Horse Trust’s staff and the charity’s vet.

X-rays later revealed no broken bones for Penny, and so her painful leg was thought to be down to a soft tissue injury, which potentially has a much better outcome compared to a broken leg.

Penny and Polly were put on a closely controlled diet, designed in conjunction with The Horse Trust’s veterinary surgeon, to prevent the potentially fatal occurrence of Re-feeding Syndrome. However, on Monday, Penny’s appetite began to wane, and she stopped eating on Tuesday morning. The Horse Trust’s vet was immediately called and she was diagnosed with a life threatening infection.

Over the rest of the day, the charity’s staff kept a very close watch on her, and initially she started to eat again. Round the clock monitoring and care for Penny continued, with regular input from The Horse Trust’s vet, but at midnight her condition had deteriorated significantly. Along with the charity’s vet, it was decided that it was in Penny’s best interests for her to be peacefully put to sleep to avoid her suffering.

This sadly just leaves Polly, the last survivor of the three horses from the corn field, and The Horse Trust must now focus on her to try to help her pull through. Although Polly has been eating well and has gained a very small amount of weight, it has now become necessary to treat her for intestinal parasites, as these may be seriously affecting her ability to absorb the important nutrients that she needs.

For now, each day must be taken as it comes, and the staff at The Horse Trust will keep doing everything they can to help Polly continue her fight for survival.

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