A MINIATURE Shetland pony brought back from the brink of death after being abandoned on a roadside has found a happy home – with the nursing assistant who helped to save him.
Barry was in such a bad state when the RSPCA took him to Minster Equine Veterinary Clinic in Poppleton, York, last October, it was feared he wouldn’t even last the night.
Riddled with lice and worms, the 18-week-old foal was seriously underweight and had open sores on his eyelids, eye ulcers and his hooves were overgrown.
He was so anaemic, he needed two blood transfusions and round-the-clock care from the team of vets and nurses, who feared he might lose his sight.
Now, six months later, Barry has defied all the odds by making a full recovery, and has found his forever home with Evie O’Brien, a nursing assistant at the practice.
After no one claimed him from an RSPCA sanctuary in Hull, where he spent several weeks following treatment at Minster Equine Veterinary Clinic, Evie adopted him and he now lives with her other two horses, Lolly and Chicka, near York.
“I was there the evening he was brought in and I’ll never forget the state he was in. He looked half-dead and he could barely walk.
“He was so underweight that you could see his ribs. He had chronic mud fever on all four legs, lice and worms. He had wounds on his eyelids that hadn’t healed and his eyes were full of pus and he had ulcers. He could barely open his eyes and we were worried we might have to remove one.
“We had to clip his coat and de-lice him, treat him for worms, he needed eye medication and his feet trimmed. He was in a very poor state and also needed two blood transfusions due to anaemia. After a lot of care and treatment, he started getting better day by day.
“Everyone at the practice fell in love with him during his stay. He was with us only two days before I had registered my interest in rehoming him. I felt so sorry for him and the thought of him being put to sleep if he wasn’t rehomed broke my heart. I felt he deserved a chance because it wasn’t his fault he’d ended up in that state.”
Vet Katherine Hall, who was responsible for Barry’s day-to-day treatment, said:
“Barry really is a miracle pony! When he arrived at Minster, he was almost in a collapsed state due to such severe anaemia, and his worm egg count was one of the highest I’ve ever seen.
“He required two blood transfusions within the first 24 hours, and treatment for parasites was our priority. Over the coming week, it became apparent that Barry had multiple problems with his eyes, and was almost completely blind. We feared this might be permanent, however, he once again defied the odds, and thanks to weeks of hard work from our nurses, administering drops every two hours, his eyes began to respond.
“During his time with us at the clinic, his cheeky character really began to show through. Since visiting him at home with Evie, it’s hard to believe he was ever that lifeless little pony. I’m incredibly proud of what we achieved with Barry, and the hard work that the whole team put in to get him to where he is now.”
Barry is now enjoying a fresh start to life with Evie, who has worked at Minster Equine Veterinary Clinic for three-and-a-half years.
“He’s a real character, who loves attention and a fuss being made of him. He’s back to health and he’s safe and happy in his forever home. I can’t thank my colleagues enough for the amazing job they did caring for him.
“I’m considering doing some in-hand showing with him and also considering him becoming a Pets As Therapy horse, where I can take him to schools or care homes to meet others.”