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Moore tornado leaves horses seriously injured

Filed by KOSU News in Feature, Science.
May 23, 2013

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As thousands pick up the pieces after the Moore tornado, there’s another, less-noticed group getting much needed care – horses. Tragically, about a hundred were killed at the Orr Family Farm, but since then, veterinarians have found more than 30 scattered through the area, and they’re working to nurse them back to health…

On Monday, the 200 mile per hour winds whipped through the area, and horses didn’t have storm shelters to hide in. By that night, Amanda Eggleston was in Moore trying to find any survivors.

“There really is a need for that, and two, it’s not like you can just pick one up and take it to a shelter. I mean, the horses need specific care.”

Her first stop was the Orr Family Farm, but she had to move on after seeing so many dead there. But that was just step one. Later, she returned with her forty foot trailer, and as the owner of the horse training ground Takeoff Farm in Norman, a wealth of expertise about how to deal with horses.

“A lot of people don’t realize you can’t just zip in and zip out with a horse. A lot of them, they’ve been in shock, they’re scared, they could be injured. And unfortunately, sometimes they’re not the easiest animals to deal with when they’re like that. I mean, they’re quite large.”

She was bringing them to equine care centers all around the metro.

One of them was Interstate Equine Services, just off Exit 101 on I-35. There, veterinarian Trent Bliss and others took over, triaging the horses, cleaning them off, applying bandages, and getting them vaccinated. Most were on the outer edges of the tornado, but Trent says one appeared to be right in the middle of it.

“Had about a half inch of mud completely caked over his entire body. Could see he was cut in multiple places but it was difficult to see how severe they were.”

It took 2 people, 45 minutes just to wipe all the mud off the guy to see his cuts.

“This little horse here has multiple scrapes and abrasions all over his front legs. He’s got an abdominal laceration.”

Trent says they’ve taken 8 horses in, with one leaving for Oklahoma State University to get surgery. He says the USDA is sending them 4 more, bringing them to full capacity. While the injuries aren’t necessarily new, something else is.

“Just probably never this many wounds, and in consecutive order.”

It could take a couple weeks to get them up to full strength again – some of the cuts run an inch deep, and they’re all over their legs and bodies. Once they are ready to go, Trent says they’ve found all of the owners, and will be reuniting them, with one bonus…

“Each and every one of these horses that are associated with the tornado, if and when they are able to leave our facility, that they leave here with a zero dollar bill. Those people have enough to worry about. We just want to offer the best care we can, take care of them, and eliminate one worry.”

As for the horses, Amanda says:

“I think they’re all going to do really well.”

To donate for care of the horses, Interstate Equine has set up a fund at their center, you can reach them at 405-288-6267. They’re also accepting donations…they especially need hay and bandages for the horses.

2 Responses to “Moore tornado leaves horses seriously injured”

  1. Susan says:

    Many thanks for your care and devotion to these beautiful animals, often forgotten in this type of disasters…all farm animals suffer too. Having horses and living though devastating California fires is very tough – we had some notice and severe injury and death to horses was a relatively smal percentage. But horse people come together and your effort and care is wonderful. And deferring the cost – amazing too. Thank you form the bottom of my heart!

  2. M. Mellon says:

    Hello from Boston. As an animal lover, owner of multiple pets mostly cats and dogs my heart goes out to all the people who are administering to the welfare of the horses impacted by the tornados. I am very impressed with the veterinarians donating the healthcare, neighbors locating and relocating the animals, neighbors donating their time, feed, bandages, charity groups forming , volunteers, humanitarian organizations, and animal welfare groups that are assisting. Not only are you dealing with the loss of human lives, destruction of your homes, cherished belongings, property, and cars but also the animals which you loved and cared for have also suffered greatly. This is especially heartbreaking because animals depend on us so much. I am sorry that some of you have suffered the loss of many of your beautiful horses. I remember how my dog reacted to thunder and lightening I can't imagine what these poor animals must have gone through. Again I want to give a huge shout out to everyone of the volunteers, veterinarians, horse people, neighbors helping neighbors. You folks are getting hit so hard right now. Hang in there. This too will pass.
    I know you didn't have much warning but in thinking about the future, I wonder if there is any thought about the possibility of including farm animals in disaster relief plans and/or designing special shelters? We now have disaster plans which shelter pets. Could we somehow extend this to horses and farm animals as well?

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