Updated: 12/05/2012 7:51 AM KSTP.com By: Chris Egert
Veterinarians in the Twin Cities are fighting to save dozens of animals taken from a farm in Southeast Minnesota.
Fifty-five malnourished horses, mules, and donkeys were found in Fillmore County last week.
Twelve of the animals taken from the farm are being treated at the University of Minnesota large animal hospital in St. Paul.
They are the worst of the worst.
Dr. Christie ward is one of the veterinarians working to save the severely malnourished horses, ponies, and a donkey.
Four had to be euthanized.
Dr. Ward told us, “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."
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.
The goal will be to eventually get them out of the hospital, in the hands of new owners.
It isn't clear how these horses ended up this way -- hungry, unhealthy, near death.
Fillmore County investigators tell us they have been called to the property where the animals were taken "several" times before.
The owner has not been charged or arrested - but we are told that could change late this week, or early next week.
Click here if you’d like to help the rescue organization that is helping the horses.