Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Animal Cruelty Of A Different Sort

Have you ever known a kid that at one time or another during their childhood they didn't want a horse? Such is the case of a local young man who has worked and saved since he was thirteen to make that dream come true. With the help of his family he scrounged their property to find material for fencing and scoured Craig's List looking for bargains. He got a barn built, tack and enough money saved to buy his dream. All in two years. That's quite an accomplishment.

He found his horse through an ad in the local Nickel Saver, you know, those little free papers that are mostly classifieds. He no sooner saw the well muscled chestnut and he knew that was the horse for him.

The problem is, the horse has a rare and apparently incurable disease. Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis.

" Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis, better known in the horse world as HYPP, can be a devastating disease. There are horses that have it that never show a symptom a day in their life, and horses that have repeated severe episodes, to the point that their owners choose to humanely euthanize them instead of watching them suffer."

It consists of an inability to regulate electrolytes such as sodium, chloride and potassium. The electrolyte imbalance in the blood causes impaired nerve function that can lead to muscle tremors and eventually paralysis.

The young man is devastated. Just to control the disease requires untold amounts on attention, monitoring and specific feeding regimens. Difficult, to say the least, for a 15 year old, especially with the school year just beginning. Paying for treatment is nigh on to impossible. More than likely the horse will have to be euthanized. A tough choice when a pet is like family.

My heart bleeds for this young man. I know how difficult the regimen was with Bacchus and the emotional toll it took. I'm far from fifteen.

The seller would not take the horse back. He swears the horse never showed any indication of the disease. I know that's a possibility but it seems doubtful to me that a twelve year old horse just happened to start showing symptoms just after this young man shelled out his money.

One can only imagine the treatment the horse received by his previous owner! I may be making an incorrect assumption but the story is suspect.

This, too, is animal cruelty. Setting aside the life the horse may have had, the owner wanted to get rid of him rather than care for him. Rather than selling him to someone who might be willing and able to care for the horse, or have it euthanized himself, he sold it to an unsuspecting kid who just wanted a horse of his own.

A few days ago my veterinarian friend in New Zealand sent me a link to Paw Justice, a movement to make people aware of the connection between animal abuse and child abuse.

It would seem we have an example of it right here. Abuse isn't necessarily physical.

1 comment:

Word Tosser said...

even if I didn't know my horse had the disease, and I sold it.... I would give the young man his money back and take the horse back. It is just the right thing to do...too bad these people don't know how to do that..... and if I was the parent of this young man and the vet said the horse had it before... I would be tempted to see a lawyer about fraud.