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Endangered Horse Filly Makes Miraculous Recovery After Broken Leg.

Przewalski's horse

In equine care a broken leg can be a dire medical condition. That’s why when a newborn Przewalski’s horse suffered a fracture shortly after birth, the prognosis was guarded at best. But this spunky little filly made a miraculous recovery against all odds!

Przewalski's horse filly

The Przewalski’s horse is an endangered species of wild horse native to Central Asia. With fewer than 2000 individuals remaining in the world, every birth is a cause for celebration and a testament to the conservation efforts dedicated to saving this magnificent species. 

In late May, keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s research facility in Front Royal, Virginia, were delighted when one of their Przewalski’s horse mares gave birth to a healthy filly. However, their joy was short-lived when they noticed that the newborn was walking with a limp just a few days after her birth. 

Concerned about her well-being, the keepers sought medical attention for the young filly. A radiograph revealed a fracture running horizontally through her foreleg, a devastating injury for a horse of any age.

Przewalski's horse broken leg

Broken limbs are notoriously difficult to treat in horses and often lead to euthanasia due to the risk of complications. The veterinary team faced a race against time to save the filly’s life while ensuring her future quality of life. Dr. Kristina Delaski, a veterinary medical officer at the National Zoo, expressed uncertainty about how the filly’s leg would heal. However, the filly’s small size and relatively light body weight worked in her favor, making her recovery more promising.

The vet staff felt a bit more hope after performing a radiograph. “She had already begun forming a bony callus, which was excellent because that is the body’s way of stabilizing the fracture,” Dr. Delaski said. 

Przewalski's horse filly growing

While the fracture had healed, the filly’s journey to recovery was far from over. Veterinarians emphasized the need for close monitoring during a critical period between three to four weeks after a break. This is when horses often feel good and are eager to start running and playing, but the callus is still at its weakest and has not reached its full strength. 

Once the filly’s leg had healed, the time came for her to rejoin the rest of the herd. Dolores Reed, the ungulate curator, expressed optimism about the filly’s future. “Now you can’t even tell that she ever broke anything. She runs, she spins, she kicks. She does everything she needs to do.” 

Przewalski's horse filly

This momentous recovery from a broken leg is a testament to the resilience and dedication of the veterinary team and keepers involved in the Przewalski’s horse filly’s care. As the world continues to work towards the preservation of endangered species, stories like this remind us of the vital importance of every individual and every birth in the conservation of our planet’s diverse and precious wildlife.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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