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Cinderella’s tale of horrific suffering has had a happy ending thanks to pet charity Blue Cross. The elderly, emaciated and pregnant mare was one of the worst welfare cases the charity had ever seen but unstinting care from devoted staff at Blue Cross has resulted in the remarkable mare producing a beautiful, healthy foal.
Cinderella, a Thoroughbred cross, was one of a group of abandoned horses found fly grazing. She was in such a terrible state that the attending vet advised the RSPCA to seize her immediately to try and save her life. With a body condition score of just 0.5, on a scale rating 1 as emaciated and 5 as obese, nearly every bone was protruding from Cinderella’s frail body. Her skin was dehydrated and covered with scabs and she was using the meagre nutrients she had to keep her unborn foal alive. She was rushed to Blue Cross Burford for emergency care.
Vicki Alford, Horse Manager at Blue Cross Burford recalls: “I have worked in welfare for more than 10 years and have witnessed so many tragic sights but I have never seen a horse in such a pitiful state as this. Thankfully her foal was wriggling and kicking so we knew we had a chance to save them both, albeit a slim one.”
Cinderella was given a big, comfortable isolation stable and immediately started tucking in to some hay. She was carefully introduced to small amounts of concentrated feed to help build her up and support her unborn foal. Over the weeks her condition slowly started to improve. She gained some flesh to cover her bones and her tummy continued to grow. As she became stronger she began to enjoy dragging her groom out to the field every day for some grass.
Two weeks prior to foaling, when her teats were full to bursting, Cinderella had a worrying setback when she developed plancentisis, a potentially life-threatening infection of the placenta. This put her and her foal at serious risk but prompt veterinary attention and a course of antibiotics cured the problem. In the week leading up to the foaling Cinderella was checked every two hours throughout the night. Then when she started to run milk 48 hours before foaling she was checked every hour. On the 14th May she produced a robust and healthy skewbald filly foal who staff named Princess.
“We were all ecstatic,’’ said Vicki. ‘I have helped with many foalings but I have never worried as much as on this occasion. We all willed her to get through it safely and thankfully she did. She is an incredibly resilient mare.”
Poor Cinderella had more pain to come when she retained the placenta but with more veterinary help she recovered quickly and is proving to be a wonderful mother. Princess is getting bigger and stronger every day, to the joy of all the Blue Cross staff who worked around the clock to ensure her survival. The charity will be looking for an experienced new home for the pair shortly.
To find out more about how you can give a Blue Cross horse or pony a home or make a donation to support the charity’s vital work please visit www.bluecross.org.uk