In February, this sweet little rescue mare, Tula, came under our care at West Coast Ecuestre (a small equine therapy and equitation non-profit in Puerto Rico). After a long period of neglect, abandoned in a nearby field, she was severely emaciated, losing hair, and covered with substantial wounds and injuries that were festering with infection. Tula’s previous owner showed no interest in helping and surrendered her so we could save her life.
It’s been quite a journey these past six months. In time, Tula started to recover beautifully… gained weight, wounds healed, new healthy coat, more energy, and continued to show improvement daily. As she strengthened, we began some easy training, groundwork, and trust building exercises (she was terrified of people!). Her spirit started to return!
Unfortunately, she recently reached a plateau and started to decline. With signs of weight loss, fatigue and persistent eye issues, we ran some blood work that showed a possible systemic infection, anemia, and weakened liver. Dr. Melanie Zurkowsky took samples from Tula’s eye to rule out fungal infection (results pending) and prescribed antibiotics with additional supportive supplements.
Sadly, Tula suffered a major setback this weekend (August 19th); we arrived at the barn to find blood hemorrhaging from her nose. After several veterinary phone consultations and no sign of slowed bleeding, we determined that her life required transport to an emergency vet clinic for treatment and further diagnosis. We are immensely grateful to the Carlo family, Nani and Mara, for arranging trailer transport immediately!
Upon arrival at the vet hospital, she received more than 15 bags of IV fluids, additional blood analysis, vitamin K injections, and an endoscopy to rule out a possible gutteral pouch infection and determine the source of the bleeding. Finally, at 9 pm (over 12 hours later), the bleeding stopped! Dr. Ramos started her on a new round of IV antibiotics for the systemic infection likely resulting from a tick borne disease (anaplasmosis/piroplasmosis). She’s on day 3 at the hospital and will have a follow up endoscopy and blood work today. We’re hoping to bring Tula home soon!
We are grateful for the wonderful care Tula has received at Hospital Veterinario San Francisco de Asis in Hatillo, and that she is now in stable condition. The worst-case scenarios have been ruled out, but we are awaiting a conclusive diagnosis in order to properly assist with a full and thriving recovery. Tula is a fighter, and we are confident she can conquer this!
That being said, her vet bills, hospital stay, and recovery will be an immense financial burden on our small operation. Tula’s angel donor has covered many of her day-to-day expenses, but this special circumstance needs extra love and help! Please consider donating, if you’re able, or spreading the word about her incredible and almost full recovery! With much gratitude…
West Coast Ecuestre is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible and will directly support Tula’s veterinary expenses and continued healing.