Sick Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-27-2012, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
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Sick Horse


I don't keep horses, but we have been seeing a horse that doesn't look well and my wife reported it to the RSPCA yesterday.

My question is though, the RSPCA said they can't get out there for at least 4 days, so as this animal looked like it was starving I bought a bag of carrots and I couldn't get close to them but I found a gap between some trees and through the carrots into the paddock and there was actually two horses there and they both started eating the carrots.

This horse we saw about 3-4 wks ago and we remarked out sick it looked, and then we saw it again yesterday and it looked heaps worse. You can see it's ribs the bones on the rump of the horse, it basically looks like bones with skin just covering it, so that is why I got the carrots, but now I am thinking maybe I shouldn't of fed it in case there was a reason it was so sick?

It has been really hot for quite a while now and I was afraid they had no water so at least the carrots would contain some water.

The other horse didn't look as bad, but there was still issues with it that I wasn't sure about. It looked like it had all these vains popping out in it's face. I had never seen anything like it, and it's back bowed further that I have seen. I was told some people who put too much weight on horses can cause this, but it looked like more than that.

At least the RSPCA will take a look, and if they are sick or neglected they will sort it out, but I am wondering if I should be feeding it carrots in the meantime. I don't want to go onto the property, can see any water source for them, so I figured a bag of carrots would have some water.

Horse's are still standing, but one in particular looks like it won't be for much longer.

Did I do the wrong thing? I don't keep horses so I am not sure.
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-27-2012, 01:36 AM
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You've done all you could. I would not feed them anything as not only are they not yours but they may have chewing problems or other things wrong with them & you wouldn't want them to get sicker but keep after the RSPCA so they actually do something.
Many horses will get a swayed back as they age & some younger ones will look that way too, especially when they are under weight.
If they are sick due to illness the owners will have to prove that to the RSPCA usually via vet records. Sadly though, you are probably correct in that they are not being fed right but that's for the RSPCA to find out.
Thank you for your concern about these horses.
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-27-2012, 02:10 AM
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Not sure where you live, but could local animal control or law enforcement do anything faster? It's probably technically illegal to feed other people's horses, but if they truly are in that bad of shape, and have nothing at all to eat, a bale of grass hay would do them more good than anything else, and is extremely unlikely to hurt them, no matter their problems. Of course the other most vital need is semi-clean water.
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-27-2012, 02:36 PM
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Horses will go down hill very very fast if they do not have sufficient water. Carrots likely won't hurt them.. but really if they need water then that is what they need.

Be interested to find out if anything comes of your complaint.

I used to buy up young horses suffering neglect and feed them, train them and sell them to good homes. I had one that you could count the bones in her neck she was so thin. A wonder she lived actually.. but she did and grew 8 inches in height when she was 3 years old (she had been starved since weaning).

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #5 of 11 Old 01-27-2012, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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The biggest concern is the heat. It is hot again in melbourne today, and I guess they would be like us, you can go weeks without food but only days without water.

If it is neglect I am reluctant to go onto the property as that will create other issues. But I was thinking of taking a big plastic tub and some water and just dropping it over the fence and filling it up, that way I am not going onto the property.

We called on thursday which was a public holiday, most people take the friday off as well. So I doubt that they will be seen by the RSPCA before monday being that it is now the weekend. We still have another 3-4 days of hot weather.
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-27-2012, 10:16 PM
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I would def call your local law enforcement agency.

I am an E911 Dispatcher and we get these kind of calls every once in a while, our officer will go out and check on the animal then talk with the owner. If the situation is as bad as you say, my officer would call animal control him self and have the animals seized immediately, the owner would then be charged with some kind of animal cruelty.

I have to applaud you for doing one thing most people do not do and that is trying to help. A lot of people, even horse lovers, look the other way and ignore the situation.

We received a call back in 2009 from a subj who said he was driving down a dirt road when he spotted a horse that looked injured and hungry, he said he was able to walk up to him and that he put his belt around his neck and lead him to a gate that he opened and put him in.
Sadly this subj was not familiar with the area he was in and he did not realize (because of it being dark when he spotted the horse) that he opened a gate that was only blocking the entrance to another dirt road and it was not a fenced in area, it is all hunting land.
The next day (6/19/09) me and a few friends hooked up the horse trailer and went to search for this horse. After looking for hours we were about ready to give up. We had spotted loads of tracks, we even came up on an area that had tire tracks that was near a little pile of shavings and horse droppings (like what gets knocked out of a trailer when you unload a horse) and a little pile of hay. So we knew this horse was out there somewhere in need of help, some of his tracks looked like he was dragging one of his hooves.

When we were about to give up when one of the ladies I was with wanted to check another trail, so we all started to make our way over. I was in the lead with a bucket and I was calling for him when I stumbled upon what you would call a horse, I guess. He was laying down and I would have kept walking by him if he had not lifted his head. He was nothing but a skeleton with skin on it.
The officers on scene wanted to put him down right then but a 13 year old girl, whom I will claim as my sister, begged for them to let her take him and try and nurse him back to health. I told her if he made it the ride home then we would try, so we loaded him up and she named him Harley.
She and I road in the back of the trailer with him the whole way home, helping him support himself. He loaded and unloaded like a dream and he was so sweet.
The next few days that 13 year old spoiled that horse and tried everything she could but he was already to far, he was peeing maggots and only pooped one turd and it was hard as a rock.
He had some kind of head injury that she nursed and we were slowly introducing him back to feed, but 3 days latter he went down and could not get back up. We believe he may have went down due to him starting to colic and then started having seizures and his heart just could not take it, we ended his misery and laid him to rest. (6/22/09)

I will never forget that horse, his story will always lay heavy on my heart.

After, we found out who owned him and they were dealt with. What was sad about it all is how many people past by him every day and did nothing while he just wasted away.

So thank you for what you have done. Sorry, I am not trying to steal the thread.
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Last edited by sierrams1123; 01-27-2012 at 10:25 PM.
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-27-2012, 10:24 PM
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OMG OMG OMG I'm crying just looking at those photos ='(
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-28-2012, 06:54 AM
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I have seen them that thin. They reach a point where you cannot save them because the dgestive system stops working.. the kidneys shut down and so forth. If he had been gotten to earlier.. maybe a week.. Maybe could have fixed him.

It is very likely he had more wrong with him though.. unless you found him in the middle of a boreal forest where there is no natural food. Good that you tried.

I believe that if the OP were to put water in the pen, the authorities would say (here in NY anyway) the horses had water under the Ag and Mkts law and not be able to touch them. However, there reaches a point when you have to set aside punishing the people who are neglecting the animals in favor of saving the animals themselves.

I do not know a thing about Australian Law other than it is illegal to train dogs for the protection phase of Schutzhund in some, if not all, of that country!

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-28-2012, 08:09 AM
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Oh Gosh, I have rescued, and kept, three bags-of-bones horses in my life. None of them looked as bad as these pictures.

One of which was so sick the auction vet said "if he makes thru the night, he's got a good chance". He was starved so bad, I got the surprise of my life one day when I saw ALL of his family jewels in tact. I sure didn't see them when I brought him home because I checked. He still didn't look as bad as these pictures:(

One of those three is my Arab who is now coming 26. He's always been a hard keeper but reached another hard-keeping plateau last year.

I can see his ribs thru his winter coat when he turns a certain way. Yet his eyes are bright, his coat and hooves glisten and he's still second-in-command. The vet gives him bi-annual physicals and keeps telling me "not to worry".

I worry anyway and I also worry that someone not from my neighborhood might unwittingly get the wrong idea about his condition and call our Animal Control. That would be a joke because we have interacted for over 8 years regarding stray dogs but, they'd still have to waste taxpayer money and come out.

Who knows what the real story is behind the "OP's horse"; hopefully we'll find out. I just wanted to post the other side of that coin as I'm sure there are many others in my situation:)

Last edited by walkinthewalk; 01-28-2012 at 08:11 AM.
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post #10 of 11 Old 01-28-2012, 08:28 AM
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YES!!! There was someone near here that had an older horse that always looked thin.. she got visited a lot by the local SPCA but she had records to prove the vet has said the horse had an issue (age related) and he was not unhealthy.

One thing you could try with your boy is to add 1/4 c. corn oil or canola oil to his grain ration to add calories. You will need to get some etra Vitamin A in him if you do this (mirra coat or something else like that) as the oil can interfere with the utilization of vitamin A. I have used corn oil to bring a horse up and add calories to the feed. It works well and will put a nice coat on them too.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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