UT vets work to save malnourished horse seized from owner

UT vets work to save malnourished horse seized from owner

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Weighing just 500 pounds, Pugsley doesn't have enough strength to pull himself up from the ground. Weighing just 500 pounds, Pugsley doesn't have enough strength to pull himself up from the ground.
The team at UT will begin the long road to recovery, taking him on short walks and working to bring his weight up, a process that will take months. The team at UT will begin the long road to recovery, taking him on short walks and working to bring his weight up, a process that will take months.
"[Wounds] on his shoulders, elbow, hip, those are from being recumbent, that's basically bedsores," Dr. Karen McCormick of UT points out. "[Wounds] on his shoulders, elbow, hip, those are from being recumbent, that's basically bedsores," Dr. Karen McCormick of UT points out.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A horse seized during an abuse investigation last week is struggling to stay alive.

Pugsley is one of seven severely malnourished horses seized from a property in Blount County last Wednesday. The owner, James Ford Jr., 46, was arrested on charges of animal cruelty after an investigation by the Blount County SPCA.

The horses were treated at UT College of Veterinary Medicine Hospital last week and taken to Horse Haven but Sunday night Pugsley took a turn for the worst, unable to stand on his own two legs.

He was brought back to UT Sunday night where special equipment is available to help with Pugsley's condition.

"[Wounds] on his shoulders, elbow, hip, those are from being recumbent, that's basically bedsores," Dr. Karen McCormick explained.

If you can look past the jarring sight of Pugsley's ribs poking through his malnourished body, you can see he is covered with sores from lying on the ground.

"Horses aren't meant to lay down for real extended periods of time, they're meant to be up and around and eating continuously like they do in the wild," said Dr. McCormick.

Weighing just 500 pounds, Pugsley doesn't have enough strength to pull himself up from the ground. That's where UT's special sling comes in handy.

"It is difficult to pick up a horse of this size without a sling, and it's not safe either," she said.

The team at UT will begin the long road to recovery, taking him on short walks and working to bring his weight up, a process that will take months.

"We have him on a special diet, we have to start food slowly with these guys. They can have problems with electrolytes," Dr. McCormick explained.

At just a little over a year old, Pugsley should weigh close to 800 pounds

"He has absolutely no muscle through here," Dr. McCormick said, pointing out the ribs poking through his body.

He also has a skin disease and an ulcer in his eyes, more signs he's gone too long without adequate food.

"It's really sad to see a horse like this that's probably never had any kind of normal life," Dr. McCormick said.

The doctors believe he should make a full recovery, but it will take time. He will be at the hospital for at least a week, until he is able to stand up on his own several times. He will then be returned to Horse Haven for the rest of his rehabilitation.

"I think he knows we're trying to help him," McCormick said. "And he is really sweet for not having probably human interaction before."

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