The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Give the horse a leg up in life
- Vets to amputate mare limb if skin graft fails to heal ulcer

An abandoned, lame mare could be the city’s first animal to get an artificial limb.

The mare and a foal, also with a broken leg, were abandoned by their owners to die on the Maidan. They were rescued last week by a non-government organisation (NGO), called Love-N-Care for Animals. Both are being nursed for the surgery in the NGO’s veterinary hospital for stray animals at Sonamukhi Jagannathpur, in Behala.

In hospital, the black-and-white mare and chestnut foal (also a mare) have been christened Kalu and Lali and they have started responding to their new names.

According to Sushmita Roy of Love-N-Care for Animals, the four-year-old mare’s left front leg will have to be amputated to prevent the spread of an ulcer. But before that, the veterinary surgeons at the hospital have decided to try a skin graft. The grafting is slated to take place on Thursday. If the procedure is successful, the mare will run again. Roy disclosed a tragic twist to the mare’s story. Two days after she was rescued, Kalu delivered in hospital. Her foal, however, did not survive beyond three days.

Lali, who is three months old, had broken her left hind leg, but is recovering. However, it will never run again, though it can forage normally.

Even if the treatment and surgery prove successful, uncertainty looms over the future of the horses, as they have no takers. “We have their owners’ names as Noor Mohammad and Ashok, but we haven’t been able to locate them yet,” said Roy. “A man arrived at our hospital on Sunday and asked to see the foal. But when he heard that she will never run again, he vanished,” said Roy. Meanwhile, the hospital has commissioned a Jaipur limb for Kalu. “If the skin graft fails, we will have to amputate the leg. If we don’t provide her with an artificial limb, we might as well put the mare to sleep, since a horse cannot stand on three legs,” Roy pointed out.

Kalu was found on the Maidan, half-dead, with crows pecking at her ulcer. The emaciated mare was shifted to hospital on a stretcher. Now she can stand. Lali was noticed lying close by, her hind leg broken.

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