Veterinarians Trying to Save Malnourished Fillmore County Farm Animals

Posted at: 12/04/2012 10:53 PM
By: Laura Lee

(ABC 6 News) -- Last week we told you 55 malnourished horses, ponies and donkeys found at a farm in Fillmore County. Now there's an effort to save them as veterinarians are doing all they can to help the animals survive.

12 of the animals taken from the farm in Fillmore County are being treated at the University of Minnesota large animal hospital in St. Paul.

Dr. Christie Ward is one of the veterinarians working to save the severely malnourished horses, ponies, and a donkey. 4 had to be euthanized.

"In addition to being very thin, these animals had very little muscle mass, they have extensive skin disease consistent with rain rot, which is something that happens in wet conditions with inadequate care," said Ward a U of M assistant Clinical Professor.

Treating horses that are in such touch shape is difficult. Ward says you can't feed them too much too fast or that can kill them.

"Which is called re-feeding syndrome, so our approach has to be very cautiously and gradually increasing the amount of food the horses receive." said Ward.

It isn't clear how these horses ended up this way, hungry, unhealthy, near death. The goal will be to eventually get them out of the hospital, in the hands of new owners.

We're told investigators have been called to the property where the animals were taken several times before. The owner has not been charged or arrested. But that could change later this week or early next.