Though we did not have the intention of bringing another Grayson Highlands auction pony home, Cat was just too sick to leave on the mountain. After discussing her case with our vet, we decided it would be best to bring her straight to a fully equipped veterinary hospital. We immediately brought her to the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, VA. The staff got an IV line placed in case fluids need to be administered. An ultrasound revealed some worrying spots on her lungs, but that was not surprising considering how hard she was struggling to breathe.
Any sort of livestock auction is hard on all of the animals involved, but it can become deadly in seconds for a foal like Cat. A foal in any kind of auction faces numerous dangers, the most obvious of which includes communicable disease, stress induced illness, and possible injury (or death) from the melee of other animals. For Cat, the dangers might have been less obvious, but just as serious. She was taken away from her mother far too soon, leaving her without protection, in an unfamiliar round-pen with a dozen other ponies.
Being ripped from her mother’s teat deprived Cat of more than just protection, she found herself lost and hungry with very little knowledge of how to feed herself, despite being a “wild” pony. (This herd is not, in fact, wild, but feral.) When she tried to get a drink from the water trough, her neck was just long enough to reach the water’s surface if she stretched really far, pressing her throat against the rim. The pressure applied to her esophagus and windpipe when she reached for the water prevented her from actually swallowing any of the liquid.
This precious baby has barely been alive long enough to learn the taste of spring grass, and yet she was condemned without due process and without a true advocate. Until now. Thanks to the amazing effort of our volunteers, Cat has been given the gift of comfort.
Catalyst has been resting at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg and is starting on the path to recovery. In fact, she has been doing really well! She is eating on her own and getting routine IV fluids to prevent dehydration, IV antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine. The team at VT have been incredible, keeping us updated every step of the way. Although Cat has many hurdles still to overcome, she has cleared the first cavaletti. We will continue to keep you updated on her progress through this fairly uncertain time.