Brave hearted Cupid on road to recovery
James Westgate, Vet Times

Brave hearted Cupid on road to recovery

A Shetland foal has been saved by a Hampshire veterinary practice after a suspected dog attack.

Cupid was born last June and had been living as part of a small herd of ponies in the New Forest, but disappeared three weeks ago despite still feeding from her mother, Starlight.

After a three-day search by owner Christine McEvoy, Cupid was finally discovered staggering along a road in a terrible state and close to death.

Mrs McEvoy was shocked to discover both of the young foal’s ears had been chewed off, she had puncture wounds on her jaw and neck, scars on her body, and was missing the bottom portion of her tongue.

Mrs McEvoy called the equine team at Seadown Veterinary Services to see what could be done and vet Elaine Horan immediately attended to Cupid.

Dr Horan said: “I brought mare’s milk replacer because her damaged tongue wouldn’t let her drink from Starlight.

“I tried hard to help her drink from a bucket, but it took two days. Initially Cupid just played with the milk, but eventually she drank then, of course, couldn’t get enough. I fed her every two hours and was so grateful she had such a will to live.”

Peter Tunney, Seadown director and vet, explained Cupid’s diagnosis and further treatment: “On this first visit, Elaine was shocked by the foal’s injuries, having never seen so many maggots in a wound in her life and she wasn’t sure Cupid would survive the ordeal at that point in time.

“However, the foal was really well behaved while her wounds were debrided and flushed, which took about an hour and no sedation was required. There were also a lot of maggots embedded in the foal’s coat, so we had to clip off a lot of her mane, forelock and hair all around the trauma area.”

When Seadown Vets attended a second time, the foal had drunk well from a bucket, however, the wounds were again alive with maggots from further blowfly eggs hatching.

Dr Tunney added: “We managed to get this under control with an insecticidal product called F10, which was invaluable. Further treatment comprised broad spectrum antibiosis, tetanus antitoxin, painkillers and anti-ulcer medication as foals are prone to developing stomach ulcers when on painkilling drugs.

“Careful guidance was given to the owner on nursing care and cleaning the wounds daily. We have all been quite amazed and thankful just how well Cupid has progressed with the wounds healing within six weeks.”

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