The heartbroken owner of two yearlings who died within hours from atypical myopathy says if she can help save one other horse, at least something good will have come from the tragedy.
Rosie Wilcox lost her two rescues Denzil and Alfie, whom she had owned since they were foals, on Monday (14 October) and yesterday, despite vets’ best efforts.
“It’s so hard to lose one but both together is absolutely heartbreaking,” she told H&H.
“I got them together and they were inseparable — then they went together, bless them.”
Rosie found Denzil standing in the field with his head down on Saturday. Thinking he might have caught a chill, she brought him in overnight, but when she turned him out the next morning, his thighs started trembling.
“I wondered if he’d been kicked but then he lay down, and Alfie came and lay down next to him,” she said. “I called the vet straight away.”
When the vet arrived, it took four people to persuade Denzil to his feet, but he collapsed again in the stable.
“The vet said it sounded like sycamore poisoning and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to put him down then but that we could try to take him into the clinic,” Rosie said. “My friend, who’s a transporter, came out and we got him on the lorry but he collapsed on the way there.”
The vets treated Denzil, and Alfie, who stood for the journey to the clinic but collapsed overnight.
“They tried so hard to put up a fight but it was too much for them,” Rosie said. “Denzil died on Monday morning and we had Alfie put to sleep on Tuesday as his kidneys were breaking down and there was nothing the vets could do.
“Alfie hadn’t even shown any signs — we thought he might be lying next to Denzil as they were so close — and we think we caught his sooner but it was still too late.”
Rosie said her two older horses are fine, and that the owner of the land, in Hampshire, had used it to graze equines for some 14 years without problems. There are no sycamores in the field but there is one on a footpath that runs behind it, and they believe the seeds may have been blown in.
“We’ve gone round the fields and can’t find anything,” Rosie said, adding that she has fenced off parts of the field, the trees are going to be cut back, and her vet is going to run blood tests to ensure her other horses have not been affected.
But she had never heard of atypical myopathy before and wants to raise awareness.
“I’ve posted about it on Facebook and have had so much support,” she said. “If spreading the word makes a few people have a look, or be aware of the symptoms, if I can do anything so no one else has to go through this, at least something good will have come from it.”
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