‘A hoofprint on our hearts’: yearling dumped to die in filth loses her battle for survival

  • “This has to stop” is the message from a devastated charity as a yearling dumped in rubbish to die lost her fight to survive.

    Months-old filly Opal was found too weak to stand, on waste ground in Wales, surrounded by filth, last week. She was taken into hospital, where vets did everything in their power to save her, but died in the early hours of this morning (12 March).

    The Welsh Pony Rescue & Rehoming Charitable Trust, Ely & Roath Fire Service and Honddu Vets worked together to rescue Opal, and she was taken to the charity’s stables and treated, but her condition deteriorated.

    She was moved to B&W Equine Hospital, where initially she seemed to be responding to treatment.

    The hospital’s clinical director Chris Wright told H&H the pony was emaciated, with a “massive” worm burden, suffering from diarrhoea, loss of protein and anaemia, with severe muscle wastage and ulcerated sores from when she had been down for such a long time.

    “This one doesn’t have a happy ending,” he said. “She was very sweet. She was very weak, and didn’t have a lot of energy, but she still whinnied to say hello when you went in.

    “I’ve been a vet for a long time but this really hurts.”

    Mr Wright said Opal was put on a drip straight away and given fluids, and steroids to try to fight the parasite infestation. She had a plasma transfusion, to try to replace some of the protein she had lost.

    “We did everything we could but we couldn’t save her; she was just too far gone,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking. One of the nurses was going to take her in, if we could have saved her. We threw everything at her, and gave her lots of love and attention, but this time it wasn’t enough.”

    Mr Wright praised the efforts of the charity, which has taken in two other ponies in a very similar condition in the past week.

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    Trustee Tina Minister told H&H: “Something needs to change, this has to stop.

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    “The way forward has to be being more proactive. What’s the point in these passport and microchip laws if they’re not enforced? This pony was fly-grazing, on waste ground; the councils need to clamp down to stop that happening.

    “People are trying their best to save these ponies but they’re being allowed to suffer, it’s very sad.”

    Tina thanked all those who had contributed to the appeal to fund Opal’s vet bill, which Mr Wright said the practice would also “do something about”, as well as the care for Domino and Diamond, who are being cared for at the trust.

    “We couldn’t help any ponies without you,” she said. “We all hoped she would go on to live a long healthy life and enjoy the freedoms and luxuries other youngsters her age see. We can all be thankful that she received the best possible care and mountains of love in the last eight days. Gallop over the bridge, beautiful girl. She left a hoofprint on so many hearts.”

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