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Helping the helpless horses
Two New Jersey practitioners earn 2011 Good Works for Horses Award


DVM360 MAGAZINE


Caring for Mylestone animals


Photo 1: Dr. Christina Wilson changes a bandage on Holly, an 8-year-old Appaloosa mare that is not adoptable as a riding horse because of wobbler syndrome. (Photo courtesy of Rein Photography.)
Wilson makes weekly visits to Mylestone and sometimes comes more often to care for the horses. She examines the animals and goes over any issues that need treatment (Photos 1 and 2).


Photo 2: Dr. Christina Wilson vaccinates Jingle, a 15-year-old paint horse that was rescued during the 2009 Christmas season. Jingle has severe bilateral carpal arthritis as well as navicular syndrome. (Photo courtesy of Rein Photography.)
"Each horse is treated as an individual, on a case-by-case basis. We do whatever is necessary to provide for a good quality of life," Wilson says. "We try our best to rehab them—to find them homes. But, unfortunately, many of them are permanently lame or have serious medical issues that require a special person to adopt them. Most people are not looking to adopt an unhealthy horse, but one they can ride, so some of the horses remain on the farm."

Of the cases that Hamorski and Wilson have worked on recently, a fair amount have involved starvation, especially because of the poor economy. Many people are unable to afford to feed their horses, let alone provide them with medical care.

They also treat lameness issues. "Since such horses are not able to be ridden, other rescue groups may choose to euthanize them, but Thompson puts a fair amount of time, energy and money into improving their quality of life through medical treatment and keeping them at her farm," says Wilson. "They not only live well, but some serve as therapy animals for mentally handicapped children or adults. Thompson works with a local school that serves adults who are mentally handicapped who come once a week, working on the farm, spending a few hours brushing and working with the horses. Mylestone is, therefore, not only helping horses, but is helping people as well."

An example of good works

About 10 years ago, Hamorski got a call from Pam Shell, the local police chief, to meet her at headquarters one Friday night. The police chief said they would have to go out to euthanize three miniature horses because they were in deplorable condition. The owner of the animals had recently passed away, being in and out of the hospital with cancer. Her husband had dementia. Her son would drive to their home to feed these three miniature stallions that were locked in a tool shed in straight stalls, where they could not even turn around.

When Hamorski got there, she expected the worst—and found it. "Their feet were so overgrown that they were touching the ground for a second time," Hamorski notes. "They were skinny and covered with manure. One mini, named Linus—his mane was so long that it reached the ground. When they were brought outside, they were starving for grass, but they all had a sparkle in their eyes, so there was no way I was going to put them to sleep.

"I told the police chief we had to give them a chance," says Hamorski. "So I asked Thompson if we could take them in. We wanted to make sure they were not diseased or affected by parasites. We ended up putting them in a friend's goat shed. I called in a few favors for hoof trimming and food, and we gelded two of them. Linus had a very bad heart condition and was anemic, so we did not geld him. The police chief fell in love with two of them, Amos and Beaner, and adopted them. Linus lived out his years at Mylestone, though he was euthanized this past year well into his late 20s. That's one of my feel-good stories—it ended up good for everyone."

Hamorski emphasizes that as a charity, every penny that is received goes to help the horses at Mylestone. "All of our efforts are to try to make these horses as comfortable as possible," Hamorski says. "Everybody does a little part."

For more information about Mylestone Equine Rescue or to sponsor a horse, visit http://mylestone.org/.

Ed Kane, PhD, is a researcher and consultant in animal nutrition. He is an author and editor on nutrition, physiology and veterinary medicine with a background in horses, pets and livestock. Kane is based in Seattle.


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Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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