Archive for October, 2008

Firstly, we were delighted to receive some great photos of Nanette in her home in the Limousin. If you can remember back to June when we first rescued Nanette,  you’ll recall the terrible curled up feet that prevented her from being able to walk very far and how malnourished she was.Four months on and Nanette is like a different donkey. We are very grateful to the guardians that take on our equines, especially those that have specific care needs.As you can see from the photos, Nanette has certainly made herself at home and a part of the family!

"Is tea ready mum?" 

On a not so happy note, Piona and Wilbur now have matching bandaged hooves! When we rescued Wilbur he also had turned up hooves like Nanette. The long term neglect of his feet had led to the hoof growing underneath the sole of his foot, and when the farrier trimmed his feet this week he noticed a bruise on the sole although he hadn’t been lame.

Piona has suffered from a recurrent unsoundness in a front foot since we got her. This has now been detected as ‘champignon’, or as we would say a ‘fungal infection’ in the foot. She has been prescribed a solution that is poured into the site of the fungus which will hopefully now kill off the persistant bad bacteria.

Both donkeys will be fine within no time and have become very close to each other since we put them in the same field.

We would love them to find a home together, if not they will have to be parted and found individual homes.

Would you be interested in giving this lovable pair a new home? If so please contact us at admin@equinerescuefrance.org or have a look on our rehoming page of the website to see all our equines needing new families.


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Tick found on a horse

Tick found on a horse

Piroplasmosis is not a disease that many people from the UK have ever heard of or worry about. Two members of ERF, who live in France, have unfortunately had their horses fall victim to this dreadful disease and with their kind help and permission we have published this article to help you all be aware and vigilant of this potentially life threatening illness. Spotting the symptoms quickly and getting urgent veterinary assistance is of the essence and could save your horse’s life.

Piroplasmosis is a tick borne disease caused by the ‘babesia’ protozoan parasite. There are several different strains of babesia, including those that affect horses, dogs, cows and humans.

Once an infected tick has bitten the horse, it takes 7 to 22 days for the babesia to incubate. The disease is most prevalent during August to October each year.

Clinical Signs include: 
  • Fever
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Immobility and reluctance to move
  • Bodily swelling
  • Jaundice
  • Bloody urine
  • Cessation of bowel/bladder function

Due to the similarity of the clinical signs it can be confused with laminitis, colic or azoturia. However, the horse rapidly becomes worse and sadly horses do die without urgent veterinary treatment as it affects the vital organs of heart, liver and kidneys.


The initial treatment is with anti-protozoan drugs and this will be combined with supportive drugs for any affected organs. Sometimes a blood transfusion is necessary.

Be aware that if the horse is still incubating the disease during treatment the horse can appear to recover only to have the symptoms again after 7 – 10 days.

There is little information on the Internet with advice for the stricken owner and usually the sites say that prognosis is poor in severely affected animals.

It’s essential to restore the bowel and bladder function as soon as possible, so the horse will need to be tempted with tepid water (maybe sweetened) and very easy to eat foods.

If the liver is affected (signalled by jaundice) its essential to keep all feeds very low in protein. Alfa and horse feeds are typically high in protein so should be avoided initially. Bran is very effective in this situation when made very wet, the horse can almost drink it and it helps to restore bowel function whilst not straining the organs. Do not add salt.

Sometimes the swelling in the horse becomes so great that they find it impossible to move their necks so food and water will have to be offered by hand. It is also important to keep the horse warm and dry, with rugs and shelter if necessary.

Click the continue reading button to read two horse owners accounts of Piroplasmosis


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“Whats French for….?”

Moving to a foreign country with animals can be a daunting experience, especially when you need to have discussions with your vet, farrier or feed merchant.

To help you, we have put together some useful French words, particularly applicable to Autumn/Winter horse care.

  • gale de boue or fivre de boue – mud fever
  • Fourbure – laminitis
  • coliques – colic
  • gastérophilose(gastérophile) – bots
  • gonfle – swelling
  • cestodes – tapeworm
  • abcès du pied – abscess in the foot
  • arthrite – arthritis
  • pourriture de la fourchette – thrush
  • maladie de la ligne blanche – white line disease
  • blessure – injury/wound
  • boîterie/boîteaux – lameness/lame
  • pulpe de betterave – beet pulp
  • maïs – maize
  • foin – hay
  • avoine – oat
  • granulés –  nuts (as in grass nuts) 
  • la balle ronde – round bale
  • le ballot de foin – small bale
  • paille – straw
  • orge – barley
  • floconné – mix

Obviously this is only a small selection of horse terms but you can find a useful English – French – English horse vocabulary translation site here.

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Suzanne Jenkins, the British woman reported of starving her horses to death in Cadiz,  Spain appeared in a UK court this week. She faced charges relating to the welfare of equines under her care at her Gloucestershire stables in the UK. 

Jenkins, 33, was convicted of 3 charges of causing unnecessary suffering and 4 charges of poor husbandry under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. She has been banned from keeping horses for 2 yrs, given a £600 fine plus costs of £400 and has also lost 5 horses under a Deprivation Order.

Unfortunately, this ban does not extend to her keeping around 38 other horses at her stud in Spain, where at least 16 horses have been found dead.

An RSPCA spokeswoman later said the Spanish case made this one “pale into insignificance.”

We’ll keep you posted on further reports from the Spanish side in due course.

One of Jenkins horses in Spain (sos-galgos.net)

One of Jenkins horses in Spain (sos-galgos.net)

 BBC news report on the story

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Sky news today have highlighted again the horrific news of illegal stallion fights in the Philippines. Although the 3 day fight festival was banned 10 years ago by the Philippine Government the barbaric event is still very much ongoing with thousands of people turning up to bet on the outcome.
Sky News

Sky News

A mare, which is in season, is tied up in a ring whilst two stallions, that are trained to fight, bite and kick by their owners are let into the arena to fight, inflicting horrendous injuries on each other.

Read the WSPA report on horse fighting and their support of banning it.

Please sign the petition here to call the Government of the Philippines to end this cruel sport.

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Maddie is a beautiful part Baudet type donkey (but not in a stud book) of 2 yrs old and she has a 4 month old foal. They come for food but have not been regularly handled so will need patient handling. Maddie is microchipped and vaccinated. Beause of the foals age we would like to find a home for them in the Vienne or neighbouring departments. They will be re-homed under contract. Please contact us admin@equinerescuefrance.org for more details.

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You have probably noticed the nights drawing in and a marked drop in temperature at night now. Some parts of France have already experienced some frosty mornings, meaning winter will soon be upon us. It’s important to recognise that most equines will need slightly different levels of care at this time of year depending on age, breed and use. You may have noticed your equine has started to grow a hairy coat, if you are doing very rigorous work you may want to think about having him partly clipped out so that he doesn’t sweat quite so much. If you aren’t going to be working them hard then it’s best to let nature take its course and allow them to grow a thicker coat to keep warm naturally. Some horses just don’t grow a thick enough coat to keep them adequately warm, in these cases it might be necessary to start rugging them up with a light weight outdoor rug at night time and removing it before it gets too warm in the mornings.

Have you seen yellow eggs on your horses legs and stomach? These are insect larvae produced by adult bot flies – you may have seen the bee like insects lingering around your horse in the field. If licked off the larvae can get into the horse’s mouth, later attaching themselves to the stomach lining where they develop into full-grown bots. This can lead to ulcers in the stomach and be fatal.Hard frosts will eventually kill off the adult flies but until then it’s important to try and remove the bots with a tool such a bot knife seen here or a grooming block.

Autumn worming needs to address bots and tapeworms, Equimax is an example of a wormer you could use for these. There is some easy to understand advice on worms that horses can carry and the different categories of wormers here.

A common misconception is that laminitis will not strike at this time of year – WRONG. The sudden flush of rich grass at this time of year is high in soluble carbohydrate, which can contribute towards laminitis. There is some more information on laminitis on our welfare page or take a look here.

If you have oak trees in your equines field now is the time when the acorns will be starting to drop. Acorns contain tannic acid which is poisonous to horses and though eating a small number of leaves or acorns is almost certainly harmless, they can also be addictive, and once a horse has acquired a taste for them they can actively search them out. In general it is best to restrict the access to acorns, particularly if other food is scarce, even if you have to use some temporary electric fencing.                                                                                                                                                                                      
Autumn also brings with it an increased risk of colic in equines. Lush wet grass can cause a gassy type of colic involving the large intestine that may result in the animal having diarrhoea. Another risk is when they eat frosty grass – more so for horses that are stabled at night and then turned out suddenly onto the frosty grass where fructan levels are high. If you do have to turn out onto frosty grass ensure that you put out plenty of hay for him to eat instead.                                                            
Finally, if this is your first winter of horse or donkey ownership and you have some questions to ask on the care you should be giving them you can always contact us for advice.

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