Many of the horses die due to colic. Just in the month of January and February 2021 as many as 5 horses died of colic and poisoning from the local dumping area.
Colic is caused by a build-up of gas in the horse’s gut because of excess fermentation within the intestines or a decreased ability to move gas through it. It is commonly caused by a sudden change of diet, a lack of roughage, parasites (the management of parasites is a big problem when horses are left to their own devices) or the consumption of trash. This is exacerbated by the lack of water in close proximity. It is obvious that the horses can’t always find what they need to eat especially in very dry and hot times of the year. Sometimes they are trapped in a camp where there isn’t water and they end up consuming too much sand while trying to eat the little grass there may be. This dries out in the gut and causes colic. Colic is a very painful death for a horse. If left untreated the gut eventually ruptures internally and death is the result. Treatment for colic is expensive and most of the local horse owners resort to euthanasia but often the horse dies overnight without help. Even euthanasia is too expensive.
Because the horses roam freely, they often end up in the domestic rubbish dump and consume plastic bags that get stuck in their gut to cause colic.
Recently a young foal was found with an open tuna fish tin stuck to its hoof, cutting through the skin behind the hoof causing great discomfort for the foal. Stressful circumstances and lack of water can cause colic too.
Since 2017 when the dump yard area started recycling, many people came in search for opportunities. They dig into all the trash to find things to sell or use themselves, even old clothes. Before there was a large hole in the ground (landfill) into which the horses couldn’t dwell, but now the junk is spread all over the place and the horses are in constant danger.
This foal contracted a nasty bacterial infection, possibly at the dump site. These horses have to roam the area at will and they are often seen late after a disease sets in. Fortunately with much care and great effort this horse was saved, but the situation was pretty dire. The Animal Welfare assisted with the famous ‘purple spray’ and sprayed it all over the foal’s body. This was not ideal and severe but something had to be done fast. One can see in the third photograph that the hair growth started returning after two weeks of special attention.