Valor, wild horse born on Memorial Day 2018, dies after snake bite

Valor. [CWHF photo]

Valor, a wild horse born on Memorial Day 2018 on the northern Outer Banks, has died following a snake bite earlier this month, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund said Sunday.

On Friday, caretakers at the CWHF rescue farm noticed increased amount of discharge coming from her wound when they changed her bandages. A visit from the fund’s vet confirmed there was a problem and Valor needed to be seen at the North Carolina State University School of Veterinary Medicine immediately.

After a round of IV antibiotics as well as antibiotics placed directly into the wound, symptoms of the infection were slowed, but as caretakers slowly backed her off the very strong drugs, the infection had flared.

“Valor was kept on an IV overnight (antibiotics along with a medication to protect her stomach from the harsh drugs) and the orthopedic surgeon examined her the following morning,” CWHF herd manager Meg Puckett said in a Facebook post. “She found that the tendon sheath was infected which would make isolating and flushing difficult, if not impossible. Adhesions were also already forming on the tendon sheath, most of which were not repairable. They would limit her mobility and cause pain for the rest of her life.”

Veterinarians at N.C. State advised that surgery would be difficult with a poor chance for success.

“Valor would probably require subsequent surgeries and never be sound again. In addition to that, she would have required hospitalization for weeks, and months of therapy after that (assuming she survived the surgery),” Puckett said. “There‚Äôs also always the increased risk of colic, laminitis, ulcers, and other secondary conditions caused by the stress. The outlook for her having a comfortable life was very, very poor.”

Puckett said caretakers now believe the snake bite did inject venom, based on the deterioration of the tissue around the bite.

“She had probably only been suffering for a day or less before we found her. However, the deterioration of the tissue around the bite was secondary to the bacteria introduced by the bite,” Puckett wrote. “Infection from the puncture wound is the major risk, which is what happened to Valor.”

On Saturday morning, caretakers made the difficult decision to euthanize Valor.

“A necropsy was performed, and hopefully the findings will not only give us more answers, but will help the vets and students at NCSU help the next horse that comes along with a condition similar to Valor’s,” Puckett wrote.

“Valor was born on Memorial Day two years ago; that’s how we chose her name. She certainly lived up to it. This is a tough loss for the herd, and also a very tough loss for those of us who fought so hard to keep her alive. We appreciate your respect as we grieve our loss.”

The CWHF thanks donors for their generous support over the last week as they tried to save Valor’s life.

“Your donations to Valor’s care meant that we didn’t have to stop and ask ourselves ‘can we afford this?; when we were told Valor needed to go to NCSU. That is a comfort that is truly hard to put into words, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Rest easy, Valor.”

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at [email protected]