Local pet owner exhausts every treatment option for sick horse

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FREDERICK, Md. — A local pet owner is going to great lengths to save her horse with a crippling disease. A world-renowned veterinarian was flown in Monday to see what can be done to help get Bailey, a 17-year-old horse in Frederick, to walk again.

Several veterinarians had recommended that Bailey’s owners euthanize her, but Pam Wahl said there’s still a lot of life in those eyes. “We’re going to continue this process because we love her. Animals are my life, including my dogs, and I went to the ends of the earth for them, and I intend to do that for her,” Wahl said.

In 2007, Bailey was diagnosed with Laminitis, a debilitating hoof disease that oftentimes is very painful. If left untreated, the coffin bone can penetrate through the hoof. Since the diagnosis, Pam has had a handful of doctors try to treat Bailey in the hopes of stopping the pain and the disease from progressing.

“We have not left it untreated, we’ve actually had a bunch of vets come in but we’ve hit a brick wall. They’ve exhausted all their options and now we need to reach out to a real true podiatry equine expert, which we did,” Wahl said.

Dr. Ric Redden flew in from Kentucky Monday morning to join a team of local experts committed to getting Bailey back on the right track. He’s been an expert in the equine podiatry business for over 40 years and specialized in the design of prosthetics for horses. Dr. Redden will work alongside veterinarian Dr. Lisa Wagner, John Respoli, a farrier from New Jersey and Kevin Oyarzo, a farrier from Mt. Airy.

“I’ll need to identify the degree of damage, get an estimate of how long this damage has been there, and then develop a mechanical process where I can help the body heal itself,” Redden said.

He has several ideas, but his first plan of action is to try and open up the blood flow to the infected bone so the body can start to heal itself. “She’ll never be new again, but we’re here to improve her quality of life, and I think that we can do that,” Redden said.

Wahl understands not everyone can afford these treatment options, but she said she’s committed to exploring every humane and ethical option that keeps Bailey alive, happy and healthy.

“We do not use her as a racehorse so people ask ‘why are you doing this, she’s just a pet.’ Well, because she is a pet. And, she’s a companion animal and a whole lot of other things,” Wahl said.

Laminitis can be brought on by a number of things in horses, including overeating grass and genetics.

Once Redden comes up with his treatment plan, the team on the ground will be there to try and stop any further damage and get Bailey to where she is comfortable.

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