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Lucky

Lucky was the first horse to be saved under the Big Hoof Foundation and will always hold a special place in our hearts.

We found Lucky through a Facebook connection, Last Chance Direct Ship Horses.  

On Friday March 17th, we came across the below post for a gelding horse that was scheduled to ship on the next slaughter truck to Mexico. The reason this horse stood out to me was because he has suffered horrible abuse and his right eye has been poked out! I started networking to see if someone was going to take the horse and as of 3:30pm on Friday no one had paid for him. I was not going to let this horse end up at slaughter so I paid his bail and we rescued him. There were groups on the post that said they would pick him up but he was not paid for...therefore he was not safe! We scheduled transport for the following Tuesday and made arrangements with our vets office to bring him there on our way home from Kemp, TX. From the pictures our vet thought his eye need to be removed but she would not be able to tell for sure until she saw him in person.

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At that moment, we knew we had to announce the Big Hoof Foundation to raise the needed funds to rescue him. With all your generosity, support and kindness we raised enough money for Lucky's rescue, transport and medical care. We could not have rescued this horse and gotten him the medical attention he needed without your support. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!

 

On Tuesday, March 21st, Cory and I drove 6 hours to Kemp, TX to pick Lucky up and we drove him straight to the vets office to get the medical attention he needed. When we arrived to pick him up he was covered in mud and my heart shattered to see the condition he was really in. Lucky had endured so much pain that he did not deserve.

Upon arrival at Claude Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Amber examined his eye and found that his eye was no longer in tact. She suspected Lucky might have cancer because of the way his eye looked. She gave him lots of pain medications along with anti-inflammatories and a large dose of Penicillian because his eye was definatly infected. The next day she performed a biopsy to find out what we were dealing with.  

 

Dr. Amber did X-rays and took a biopsy of his eye and a biopsy of a spot on the side of his head because it also looked abnormal. We received a partial report of the biopsy results and the spot on the back of his head did confirm he had cancer. With the results coming back positive for cancer we reached out to our other veterinarian, Dr. Waggoner at Mobile Veterinary Practice (MVP) to see if she could help with Lucky's diagnosis as this type of treatment was out of Dr. Amber’s wheelhouse.

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We had an appointment on Monday (March 28th) with Dr. Waggoner who consulted with Dr. Brown at Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine, who specializes in equine surgery, and they formed a plan to remove the tumor from Lucky's eye. The full biopsy results came back and it confirmed the cancer was in the location where his right eye used to be and the other on his head over a lymph node.

 

He was scheduled for surgery on April 6th. Since the surgery was a week away we decided to bring Lucky home so we would have time to get to know him and bond with him. He did so well at the farm. He ate hay and alpha pro, enjoyed belly scratches, brushies and loved all of the attention he was getting. Lucky was the definition of a gentle giant!​

 

On April 6, 2023, we went in for Lucky’s surgery. Unfortunately, Lucky's cancer had spread to his lymph system and Dr. Brown found two additional tumors during his exam. The one tumor that Dr. Brown had found was in his outer guttural pouch and was determined to be inoperable. I stayed for the surgery and even under heavy sedation he would not let the surgical team touch his eye or the area surrounding it. Lucky had been in pain for quite some time, his strength and resilience hid what he was actually feeling. Dr. Brown also said that the tumor had ruptured his eye globe at some point before we could rescue him. Lucky's cancer was too far past a curable stage and he was in pain. In Lucky's best interest we made the difficult decision, along with Dr. Brown and Dr Waggoner's advice, to help him find peace even though saying goodbye was not easy. We are all heartbroken for the loss of Lucky, but we know he felt love and was given the best possible care he could have received in his last few weeks. 

 

Because part of our mission is education and learning how to better care for these incredible animals, we allowed Dr. Brown and his team at Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine to further analyze Lucky’s cancer and how his disease progressed. This work will contribute to research on equine cancer and will hopefully one day help cure other horses of this terrible disease. 

 

Lucky was the sweetest boy and we will have you in our heart forever, your memory will reside with us everyday for the rest of our time. It is hard to convey across a phone or TV screen the knowledge and energy share that occurs with these beautiful creatures. We are blessed people to share this with all our Belgians even when that share is cut short by circumstances we don't understand. Run free sweet boy! WE love you always!

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Lucky's entire journey was documented on our farms YouTube channel. These videos capture Lucky's time with us and you can see just how much he was loved in his last days.

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