A foal has died, a week after being rescued from a muddy field on Christmas Day.
The RSPCA was called to the field in Cinderford, on the edge of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, on 25 December where officers found a skewbald colt, believed to be around eight months old, collapsed in the mud.
“He didn’t have the energy to lift his head; he looked in a very bad way,” said the RSPCA’s Rachel Hayward. “I was willing him to survive, telling him, ‘Come on it’s Christmas, don’t give up’.”
A combination of relentless rain and the timing made the operation more difficult than usual.
“As it was Christmas Day it was tricky to get the assistance we needed, but two local wildlife charities came on board, plus we had members of the public and the police involved,” said Inspector Hayward. “Everyone who was there pitched in.”
The foal, later nicknamed Chancer, was wrapped in a blanket and propped up with bales of hay while an equine vet and a horse ambulance were summoned.
He was treated with painkillers and given five litres of fluid through a drip to rehydrate him before he was placed in a hammock and transported to Three Counties Equine Hospital.
“He was in a very poor state and had a heavy worm burden, but he was given extensive treatment, including a plasma transfusion, antibiotics and round the clock care,” said Inspector Hayward. “On Wednesday he was able to stand on all four feet unaided for the for the first time since his rescue, but sadly his condition deteriorated late on New Year’s Day and the kindest thing to do was to put him to sleep.
“We would like to thank everyone who gave up their Christmas Day to try and save this little foal. It was an incredible effort,” she added.
The RSPCA is trying to trace Chancer’s owner and is appealing for anyone with information to call 0300 1238018.