Veterinarian says horse shot in head near Rulison is doing much better
November 20, 2009
RIFLE, Colorado – The horse that was shot and apparently left for dead near Rulison earlier this month is doing well, and is slowly working toward a full recovery.
“I stopped and spent some time with him yesterday,” said veterinarian Liz Chandler, who has been caring for the animal. “He is doing much better.”
The horse, which Chandler is calling “Lou” for now, is eating complete pellet ration feed, which Chandler is softening for him, because it seems painful for him to chew hay.
“It’s a difficult task for him,” Chandler said. “But we don’t know what is normal for him, and we don’t know what is caused by the trauma.”
But Lou is walking around more, which is a good sign, according to Chandler.
“He is moving around more freely, but he’s still pretty unsteady on his feet,” Chandler said.
Lou is also not able to lift his head all the way up. Chandler believes that injury may be permanent damage from the bullet wound, which, she concludes, passed just underneath his brain.
“But overall, he is doing better,” she said. “When you go near him, his ears are up.”
Lou was found wounded and bleeding from a small caliber gunshot to his nose. An exit wound was found about five inches under his right ear. Chandler said that Lou suffered a fractured sinus cavity from the impact of the bullet.
She added that a passing motorist heading toward Grand Junction spotted the horse on the north side of Interstate 70 on Nov. 9, and contacted the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies arrived on the scene about 5 p.m. the same day and were able to track a blood trail about half a mile to the place where it appeared the horse had been led out of a trailer and shot, according to reports from the Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities are still looking for any information regarding who shot the animal.
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis said that animal cruelty charges could be filed in the case.
Chandler said that Lou is not showing any signs of infection in the wound, which is also good news. Her initial reaction was that the horse may not make it, but she thinks that he’s got a pretty good chance now. However, she said that it would still be up to 60 days before they know the long-term outcome.
She said that the State Brand Board takes possession of all unknown livestock, and it will be up to that board to decide where Lou will be placed after Chandler releases him.
“We are optimistic that he is going to live,” Chandler said. “But we have to have a firm understanding of what his long-term care needs are going to be.”