A 4-week-old filly is thriving under rehabilitative care after becoming the lone survivor of a massive drought-related horse die-off in Arizona.
Earlier this month, the remains of 200 horses were found mired in mud, dead of thirst around a stock pond in Gray Mountain, Arizona. As volunteers worked to clear the carcasses they discovered a then-2-week-old filly, now named Grace, alive and nestled near her mother.
“She was in critical condition—extremely dehydrated and malnourished when we found her,” said Michelle Ryan, executive director of the Coconino Humane Association, in Flagstaff, Arizona. “We weren’t sure she would make it.”
Grace was transferred to the Aspen Veterinary Clinic, also in Flagstaff, where veterinarians administered fluids to head off kidney failure and treat her hypoglycemia. Once she was stabilized, veterinarians attempted to bottle-feed the filly.
“But she wanted no part of it,” Ryan said. “We tried to introduce her to a nurse mare, but the mare was not interested. Finally, because she would drink out of a bucket, we were able to give her water and milk replacement pellets.”
After a week of treatment, Grace began to show signs of improvement. Now, Alison Forbes, DVM, MS, believes she will not have any long-term negative effects from of her ordeal.
“She is eating and drinking like a champ, and when we take her outside she’s playing,” she said. “We think she’ll make a full recovery.”
For the time being the filly will remain at the Coconino shelter, but eventually Grace join a herd at a nearby sanctuary.
“Right now, she is really imprinted to people, but she has to learn to be a horse from other horses,” Ryan said. “But first we want to make sure she is healthy and strong.”