Horses Suffer More Hoof Problems, Injuries


The battle goes on to try to keep Abaco’s wild horses alive and healthy without a proper clinic.

In mid July the mare Bellatrix II suffered a deep puncture wound high in her right shoulder. She was given penicillin and healed quickly though the wound was about an inch deep. She probably either ran or was pushed into a sharp branch.

While the wound was still healing she stepped on a roofing nail, like the mare Dubhe several weeks before. A member of the farm staff pulled the nail from her left fore hoof. She received some penicillin a few days later and is under observation.

On the same day, Tues. July 25, our youngest filly, Alnitak, was seen limping badly. On Wednesday she was tranquilized and her left front hoof inspected. There was no sign of a puncture but infection was evident high in the back of the hoof and she was dosed with penicillin.

On Friday, July 28, as we were going to the horses that needed shots, we saw the pregnant mare Nunki lying in a field without her herd. Initial attempts to get her up failed, our helper diagnosed a “front end” problem. She had in her left fore hoof (all the foot problems have been mares, left fore hoof) an infection caused by extremely dry conditions suddenly becoming damp and humid. The hoof wall cracks and infection sets in. We got a shot of long lasting penicillin into her.

We then gave Bellatirx II another shot of penicillin. It will take her longer to heal because we could not do the procedure that Dr. Alan did on Dubhe, ie. opening, draining and packing because he is on vacation and there is no Ketamine (painkiller) available due to new restrictions placed by the U.S.

We had to dart the penicillin into the third filly, Alnitak, because by this time the herd was quite stirred up and we did not get to inspect her left fore hoof. I think the first mare, Dubhe, can be called cured, and we now have three mares under treatment. On our way off the farm, a friend and I waited with Nunki until her herd found her again, to preclude the sort of stallion rape situation that destroyed Deneb’s foal last January. If all goes well, we’ll have a total of 8 horses successfully treated and saved from severe and possibly terminal problems during the last two years.

Since the horses are spending less time in the forest because of the severe fires we had this winter, they are not wearing their hooves down enough. We hope by this winter to have stockpiled enough tranquilizer to work on each horse’s hooves.


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