Horse-lover's quest to help foal recover from vicious dog attack

Horse-lover's quest to help foal recover from vicious dog attack

Debbie McAffee with Mia, left, and Lola

Foal Mia with her mother Lola

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , news feature writer

POORLY foal Mia has had a difficult short life after suffering a horrific dog attack before being diagnosed with cartilage disease which could cause her to go lame.

But owner Debbie McAffee is determined to get the foal back to good health.

Welsh Section D Mia was born in September 2012 after horse lover Debbie rescued her mum Lola, a Welsh Section C, without being told she was pregnant.

She worked hard to bring Lola up to good health before the foal was born, but a dog attack last year — which almost resulted in Mia being put down — revealed that she suffered from cartilage disease, which is a primary reason for many horses’ athletic careers ending.

Ms McAffe, who is currently training to be an animal carer, and part-owner Lorraine Heaford, has already managed to find half of Mia’s £2,000 operation fee, which was carried out last month, but she hopes a fundraiser will help with remaining costs.

Ms McAffe said: “It was a big shock to find out that Lola was pregnant, especially because she was in such a bad state when I got her, but thankfully Mia was born and seemed okay.

“Then last year in September she was attached by dogs and left in a bad way. She was a millimetre away from being put to sleep because the injuries were so bad to her leg. I was devastated.

“As she was recovering we had the vet out who did x-rays which revealed that she had this cartilage disease, which is either caused by wrong breeding or the mum not being fed correctly, which made sense seeing as though she was so malnourished when we got her.

“Despite the expensive operation bill I couldn’t bear to have her suffer, so I have managed to find half the money and now I’m hoping that locals will help to give her a new start to her short life.”

Vet Simon Constable, who runs Simon Constable's Equine Practice in Outwood, said: “This disease is Osteochondrosis and it is a developmental orthopedic disease caused by several problems including genetic, malnutrition and injury.

“It causes defects in the joint cartilage in foals and young horses that if not treated can lead to permanent lameness.

"It is not an unusual disease especially with growing foals or yearlings with a lack of certain vitamins and minerals in the diet.

"The best and most usual way of treating this is by key hole surgery into the joint.

If this is done early enough will lead to a full athletic career for the horse.”

A fundraiser is taking place on Saturday, May 17, at Bolton Cricket Club between 11am and 4pm.

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