Abused pony needs help
Posted: January 29, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Cam, the paint pony, was rescued from an area farm in 2011 from an owner who neglected him and several other horses.
He was meant to be a horse, but a lack of food stunted his growth and, at 5 years old, he’s a 50-inch tall pony. Most horses are at least 58 inches tall.
“He was the worst of all,” Erin Brogan, who took him in after he was rescued, said of his condition.
He was so weak he could not be turned out with other animals and had to stay in his stall for 90 days.
Cam came to his foster home with lice and rain rot, thin and with broken teeth.
And a huge head, too big for his small body, which turned out to be his biggest problem.
Brogan, a deputy with the Winchester Sheriff’s Department, said Cam had teeth issues that led to an infection that had filled his head.
The bone structure had developed abnormal cavities in an attempt to contain all the infection, and his teeth grew strange “cement balls” that broke open to drain some of the pus.
The infection in his skull would be “like living with a migraine, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Brogan said.
The Shenandoah Horse Rescue, which fostered the horses from the seizure, spent more than $6,000 for Cam to have six bad teeth removed.
Brogan and her husband have kept him on antibiotics for a year, fighting the infection.
He had one bone tap, to open a way out for the infectious matter.
“Pus drained for a week,” Brogan said.
Cam has gained more than 500 pounds since the Brogans took him in, and they have vowed to give him a permanent home.
If they can keep him alive.
The problem is more bad teeth.
Two have broken off inside his jaw, Brogan said. They can’t be pulled because they fractured below the gum line, and the pieces are still there.
“If they don’t come out, the infection will go to the bone,” Brogan said, and Cam will have to be put down.
To have the broken teeth removed will take a surgical procedure that can only be done at a veterinary facility — and only a few in the multi-state region are capable of doing it, Brogan said.
She’s come up with five places in Virginia and North Carolina where he could be treated.
The surgery is tricky, because horses are not constructed for lying down for long periods. They have trouble breathing when prone.
Cam will have to have a general anesthetic, which can also cause problems for horses. Some become terrified as they begin to wake up, and thrash about until they injure themselves.
So special facilities are necessary.
Brogan said the surgery will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,800. But the Shenandoah Horse Rescue has dissolved and can no longer help with the animal’s bills.
So, Brogan is putting out a plea to animal lovers in the area for donations.
He’s come so far and endured so much, but he needs this last surgery or he will have to be euthanized, she said.
“Other than that, he’s healthy and happy.”
Although Cam has had little handling, and should have no love for people, Brogan said he has bonded with her and trusts her completely.
During his surgeries, he “relaxes at the sound of my voice. If I leave the room, he gets upset.”
Brogan has committed to giving Cam all the care he needs, if he can get his last two teeth successfully removed.
He will have to be on a special diet of pureed food for the rest of his life because with fewer teeth he is unable to chew properly.
Most horses must have their teeth “floated” annually, a procedure that files off sharp edges and keeps the surface of their teeth even.
Cam will have to have his done every six months, because he won’t have the normal grinding wear other horses get by chewing grain.
There are also the routine annual shots and worming several times a year.
The Brogans don’t have children. The animals are their babies, she said.
Brogan hopes successful surgery will allow Cam to have a regular life. With training, he might have a future giving pony rides, she said, perhaps for people who donated to his cause.
Brogan has started a Facebook page for Cam: facebook.com/CureforCarm, which tells his whole story. Brogan said she had to deliberately misspell his name, because Cure for Cam was already taken.
There is a link to cureforcam.chipin.com/surgery-for-rescue-horse, she said, and anyone who would like to help Cam have that normal life can also send a donation to P.O. Box 374, Front Royal, Va. 22630.
— Contact Val Van Meter at email@example.com