Staff at the Kamloops Large Animal Clinic faced the sad task of euthanizing another starved horse Wednesday, after spending almost two weeks trying to nurse her back to health.
Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Jackson said Thursday that “Lisa,” as staff nicknamed the young horse, probably developed complications that she just couldn’t overcome.
“She just got weaker and weaker,” she said. “I’m quite certain her kidney function decreased. Which is a common complication with these guys.”
The SPCA has seized 14 horses from four properties or owners, with three being euthanized early on to relieve their suffering. In addition, three others have been put down, including Lisa.
Two of the other starved horses were treated at the clinic and are now recovering in foster care. It can take several months for a horse to fully recuperate from being starved to the brink of death.
“Lisa” and “Spunky” were also being treated at the clinic, but never got well enough to go into foster care. Spunky had pneumonia and developed colitis.
Lisa had lost so much muscle mass, she needed help standing up, even after two weeks of medical attention.
“Two of them died after we had them for 10 days. We tried as hard as we can try,” said Jackson.
“They were loved and well loved by lots of different people the whole time they were here.”
Trying to find a bright spot in the sadness of the horses’ deaths, Jackson said lots of awareness has been created in the community about horses and starvation.
“We have lots of resources we didn’t know we had. So if someone’s in trouble, we have people willing to foster, we have hay, any kind of feed you’d want, volunteers, blankets, halters. . . . The outpouring of support has been tremendous.”
One of the four owners surrendered another horse, temporarily named “Fluffy,” who is severely underfed but not as far gone as some of the others treated at the clinic, Jackson said.
The little black horse is showing no signs of complications and someone has already come forward to foster her, she said.
The SPCA is still investigating the cases. The horses were taken from properties within a two-hour radius of Kamloops, but the agency is not disclosing exactly where while the investigation is ongoing.