INDUSTRY — Angel Marie, a young filly at the Double B Equine Rescue, has had a challenging start, but veterinarian Dr. Robert Patterson sees no reason that she can’t live a normal, pain-free life.

Angel Marie’s story began about two months ago, when Brenda and Linwood Green, owners of Double B Equine Rescue, took in three miniature horses because the previous owner couldn’t handle them. One was a stallion, another was a mare and the third was the mare’s grown daughter. The mare, called “Mom” by the Greens, was due to foal within a few weeks of arriving at the Double B.

On June 8, Angel Marie was born.

Brenda said the mother didn’t clean her up and her husband removed the membrane. The foal didn’t latch on well to nurse, so colostrum was milked from Mom and Angel Marie was bottle fed. 

Just about the time that Angel Marie started nursing at two days of age, Mom accidentally stepped on the foal and injured her right front leg. Patterson was called in to care for the injury and did what he could to try to save the leg.

On Monday of last week, Patterson amputated the leg after determining that it couldn’t be saved.

Advertisement

Angel Marie is “laid back,” according to Brenda. The foal sat in Linwood’s lap, looking all around her, on the trip to the veterinarian’s office. An hour after the surgery, Angel Marie was up and nursing.

Two days after the surgery, Angel Marie was stretched out, taking a nap in the warm sunshine. A large, bulky bandage encased what was left of her leg. Just a few minutes later, she stood up fairly easily and made her way to Mom’s side and nursed for a few minutes.

It doesn’t appear that the loss of the leg is having much of an impact on the filly. She tried to run about in a playful manner after she ate, lost her balance and fell down — but she was on her feet again very quickly. Angel Marie does find it a bit more challenging to lie down, but she’s getting the hang of it.

Mom is very protective of Angel Marie and even kicked at Linwood when he got too close on Wednesday afternoon. She stands quietly while the foal nurses and keeps her eye on Angel Marie when she is moving around.

Brenda said it is probably a good thing that the injury and amputation happened now rather than when Angel Marie was older.

“She got used to dragging that leg,” Brenda said.

Advertisement

A lady from Southern Maine who works with human prostheses has heard about the foal’s plight and plans to visit. Because Angel Marie will be doing a lot of growing in the next two years, Brenda said they will probably wait to fit her with an artificial limb. The foal weighed 40 pounds on Monday, and the average weight for a fully grown miniature horse is about 250 pounds.

“I’m bound and determined that something good is going to happen,” Brenda said. “We’ll hope for the best and let her heal real good.”  

If things go as she expects them to, Brenda will be doing some fundraising for a prosthetic.

In a telephone conversation Wednesday evening, Patterson said while this is the first time he has amputated a horse’s leg, he didn’t see any reason not to perform the operation. The filly was healthy and active and Patterson said she deserved a chance. If something happens later, he will reassess the situation. 

“I’ve amputated the front legs on many large and small dogs, and they got along fine afterwards,” he said.

Patterson also said that the filly is not that much less coordinated than any other newborn.

“As her muscles and joints get stronger, she will adapt,” he stated.

Anyone wishing to help with current expenses may send a donation to Double B Equine Rescue, 997 West Mills Road, Industry, ME 04938. For more information about the rescue facility, call 778-6479 or visit the website at www.mainehorserescue.com.

pharnden@sunmediagroup.net

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: