Lisa has been working with Raven and SAFE’s Herd Health team to care for Raven. Here is a a recap from Lisa about Raven’s journey so far here at SAFE:
Raven came to SAFE in January severely underweight, having come through two nasty bouts of colic while in the care of Snohomish County Animal Control. In cases of equine starvation, it is VERY important to introduce the proper amount and balance of food and nutrition slowly so as not to shock the horse’s system. Improperly handled re-feeding can result in colic and, in the worst cases, death. Because of these risks, we work very closely with our veterinarians when re-feeding new intakes at SAFE, constantly monitoring them throughout the day and night for signs of illness or discomfort. When Raven came to SAFE we were on high alert in case she had any more colic issues.
Under the guidance of Dr. Renner and Dr. Fleck of Rainland Farm Equine Clinic, we very slowly began to introduce Raven to a diet of a complete feed that would provide the necessary calories and nutrients and Alfalfa hay, which is gentle on a horse’s stomach and has high protein and calcium content with a good balance of fiber and caloric value.
Raven experienced mild bouts of colic several times early on in her re-feed program and, after 3 such episodes, the doctors at Rainland Farm decided to put her on a senior feed diet, completely eliminating any hay. There is some concern that her ability to digest forage (hay) has been compromised due to the fact that she was so severely neglected at such a young and developmentally critical age. We started with 5 small feedings each day, gradually increasing the amount of grain while decreasing the number of daily feedings. Under this routine over the past 6 weeks, Raven has not colicked again, is slowly gaining weight, and is definitely gaining spunk!
We have increased her daily feedings, nearly doubling the amount of food she can have, and are thrilled that, at 880lbs and 6 weeks without a colic episode, she is finally healthy enough to be vaccinated! We continue to monitor Raven closely and are hopeful that with a little weight gain and a balanced system, we will soon be able to slowly introduce hay back into her diet, eventually shifting her to a more natural, forage-based diet for good.
With said weight gain and balanced diet, we will also get to start saying “Sayonara! Adios! BUH-bye!!” to her thick, dull, unhealthy starvation coat and get to meet the sleek black beauty that is lurking underneath!