Horses Burned In Wildfires Receive Care From OSU Vet Students

Friday, May 4th 2018, 7:07 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

Wildfires that burned nearly 300,000 acres in Western Oklahoma also left animals fighting to survive.

Right now, the OSU Veterinary Hospital is taking care of horses that have burns.

Two-year-old "Shorty" is the only horse who survived after fires burned through his owner's ranch in Woodward.

Now, veterinarians are working to make sure the survivor stays strong. 

Part of Shorty's day is out in the sunshine, but too much sun can hurt his healing skin.

"He likes to kind of trot around the pasture," said Veterinarian Student Caleb Duckett. 

"Anytime you see the initial injury, the knee-jerk reaction is 'oh my gosh, how is this horse ever gonna recover?’," said Assistant Professor of Equine Surgery Mike Schoonover. 

Shorty has been at OSU's Veterinary Hospital for about three weeks, alongside other horses, like "Biggin" from the town of Seiling.

Looking past his injuries, Biggin almost seems to have a smile on his face.

"He's definitely gotten a lot brighter and happier," said Veterinarian Student Marla Teixeria. 

But he's got a ways to go before he can return home.

"This was a first for me. And it's been an experience and he has such a great personality for everything that's been going on," said Teixeria. 

The treatment is made possible through donations to an animal relief fund designed specifically to help after a tornado or any other natural disaster. 

It'll cost about $5,000 to help each horse heal. Students and professors are doing the work for free, so Biggin and Shorty can go back home to their owners. Click Here to Donate

"That's a big sign of hope for them, and being able to rebuild and go on with their lives," said Schoonover. 

Assistant Professor of Equine Surgery Mike Schoonover says they are also looking for horse donors who could help with skin grafts for the injured horses.