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Animals in need of help: Baby Zebra

On 16th October 2018, the zebra foal born on 26th September, was attached by the lead stallion of the herd. This is a natural occurrence when a one stallion takes over the herd from another stallion. Some stallions will leave the herd intact, but others kill all off spring from the previous dominant male to establish his own bloodline.

The foal was badly injured, and we decided to remove it from the herd and took it to a place of safety at Meyers farm. Weltmeyer stables provided safe shelter for the colt until a vet could assist us to establish the damage. Weltmeyer stable staff assisted to feed the foal. Foal milk was bought and feeding of 200ml- 250ml per meal was given every 4 hours (around 3 liters for the day, 10% of his body weight of 30kg). With every feeding, he was assisted to stand up, held up in most cases due to the sore legs, to keep blood circulation going in the legs. The left leg was very swollen, and all consideration was given to the possibility of it being broken. The right leg has flesh wounds which were cleaned. Pain medication was given with antibiotics to ease some of the pain.

On 17th Oct, a vet from North- Rand animal hospital examined the colt and took X-rays to establish if the leg has been broken, fractured or just have major muscular injuries. The first x-rays showed no break or fracture on the left leg, but the foal was unable to stand on the leg and swelling indicated more than just muscular injuries. The x-rays were done from a different angle, this time showing the fracture of the elbow and that the pieces of bone had already pulled away from the main bone sections. The sever swelling was a result of the triceps muscle having pulled away from the bone due to the fracture.

On advice from the vet, the decision was made to give it a day or two, seeing if the colt was able to grow stronger with the assistance from all involved at Weltmeyer stables. A program for rehabilitation for the leg was worked out by the vet, with all hoping he would recover. This also gave time, leaving surgery as a last option should the triceps muscle not attached on its own again.

With every feeding, everyone started to hope he would make a full recovery. We all wanted to believe he was a strong foal, seeing him trying to get up, trying to fight the pain… unfortunately, this was not to be the case. The zebra foal passed away later that day due to internal injuries. A post mortem was done and sever internal injuries and bleeding was discovered.

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