Shetland pony recovering from suspected poisoning

A Shetland pony which lives in a field overlooking Rossmere Lake is recovering from suspected food poisoning which left her fighting for her life.

Fennella, a 24 year old Falabella mare (a miniature breed that originated in South America) was found in a distressed state on December 31st by her owner Anne Eardley who believes she had been fed something by a passer-by.

Fenn has lived near Saltersley Common, along with three other ponies, for several years in a field which has a public footpath running through and is very popular with walkers, especially since the first lockdown last Spring.

Anne said "The ponies are very friendly, and people like to pat them and despite signs saying not to feed them, some are tempted to give them a treat. Unfortunately horses and ponies, despite their size, have quite sensitive digestive systems which are easily upset. To make matters worse, they can't be sick, so if they eat something unsuitable they become one very ill and can die.

Anne called the vet immediately as Fenn was showing signs of a severe stomach ache. After treatment she appeared to improve but the next day, New Year's Day, she was worse, lying in the snow and unable to move. The vet returned and again treated her and advised that she also had hypothermia from lying in the snow.

Anne said "At this point euthanasia was considered but then she seemed to improve slightly, so after warming her up, I checked her regularly that day. However, the next morning she was equally poorly. We felt it was unfair to let her suffer, so sadly called the vet to put her sleep.

"A neighbour offered me a stable for her and we managed to get her inside, then she rallied again. The vet agreed that she was a little fighter and I agreed to keep trying to help her.

"For the next 3 days she hardly ate anything, and a friend suggested activated charcoal, which you give to animals who have been poisoned. Until this point I hadn't considered poisoning as the cause, but was desperate to try anything.

"I had to syringe the charcoal into her mouth as she wouldn't eat. But after two days she seemed slightly better and after 5 days of charcoal treatment she started eating again. The charcoal works by binding to any toxins in the body, enabling them to be passed through. This seemed to confirm that food poisoning was the cause of Fenn's illness."

Fenn is still recovering, she is now going out in the field with her friends but is still coming in at night.

Anne added "The ponies like to say hello to people walking through their field, but please don't be tempted to give them anything to eat as your act of kindness could make them seriously ill."

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