WAGONER COUNTY, Oklahoma - Five horses are recovering from malnutrition. Wagoner County Sheriff's deputies said if a neighbor hadn't called when he did, the horses could have died within just a few days.

Veterinarian Dr. Charles Thompson said he drives past the property every day. He said as soon as he noticed the horses looking worse and worse he did everything he could to help.

Video taken by a sergeant with the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office shows a horse so malnourished that when it tries to stand up it loses its balance and falls over.

"You could see every rib on every horse," Thompson said. "Extremely weak, very lethargic, bones showing everywhere."

A man has to prop the horse’s hooves up on the road in order to help it stand long enough to walk into the trailer.

The horse is one of five rescued from the Wagoner County home.

Thompson drove by the house every day and called in the case.

'They would knicker when they would see my truck pull up, and so they were happy to see me, but, at the same time, they couldn't get there quick," he said.

Deputies said there was nothing but dirt on the land the horses were on - the animals had grazed all of the grass. 

They found five starving horses and the bones of others.

"My deputies actually started hooking up water hoses and getting water to these animals,” Sheriff Chris Elliot said. “Deputies told me the horses immediately went over there and just started drinking the water up."

It took 10 days for deputies to find the horses' owner, who lives in Beggs. He told investigators he thought someone else was caring for the animals and voluntarily surrendered them.

Blaze's Tribute Equine Rescue out of Jones is nursing them back to health. The rescue said all five horses are expected to survive and should be ready for adoption in three to six months.

"I'm just really happy for the horses now,” Thompson said. “I'm sure they are down there being fed and receiving the medical care that they need, and probably being loved on and babied like they have never been loved on or babied before."