A Shetland pony has been offered a home at Redwings Horse Sanctuary after being found with a severe wound on his cheek, caused by a suspected dog bite.

Alfie, who is 15 years old, came to the charity after his owner discovered him in his paddock with a nasty wound to his face and contacted the charity for help.

“Alfie is a nervous pony, and his owner realised they would need help to catch him and assess the extent of his injury,” said Julie Harding, Senior Field Officer and Reception Centre Manager at Redwings. “Members of our welfare team attended to assist, and sedated Alfie with a syringe-pole so that a thorough veterinary investigation could be carried out.

“The wound was much more extensive than first thought – with urgent treatment needed to remove infected tissue and clean it. Although no one witnessed what happened, the wound was consistent with a dog bite, and we believe that’s the most likely cause.

“We have a lot of experience with handling nervous and semi-feral ponies as well as an in-house veterinary team, and Alfie’s owner and vet agreed that signing him over to Redwings’ care would be best for his ongoing treatment and recovery.

“Alfie’s owner did the very best thing for him, in really upsetting and unforeseen circumstances, and we’re glad that we were able to help.”

Click here to view Alfie’s wound when he first arrived at Redwings. *Please note, graphic image of injury.

Dedicated care

Alfie on 11 July. Credit: Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Teams from across Redwings came together to get Alfie to the charity’s quarantine centre for new arrivals, so he could be fully assessed and treated.

“Alfie has been with us for several weeks now – he arrived on 1 June – and thanks to the dedication of the team, who have been changing his bandages every two to three days, the wound is healing well,” said Nic de Brauwere, Head of Welfare and Behaviour at Redwings. “That part of the head is full of very important structures that could have been permanently damaged, including his salivary gland, and had the potential to cause life-long issues for Alfie and be twice as hard to manage with his fear of being handled.

“He still has a long way to go but he’s in the right place and it’s looking positive. When he’s ready he’ll start working with our specialist Behavioural Centre team to help him overcome the trauma from his injury and be more comfortable with human contact.

“We’re grateful that veterinary wound expert Georgie Hollis from Intelligent Wound Care has worked with us to treat Alfie – Georgie previously assisted us with the care of Phoenix, the foal who came to Redwings in 2021 with extensive burns from an arson attack.

“Alfie has even been wearing Phoenix’ special hood, to secure his bandages, which had previously been donated by kind Redwings supporters.”

To support Alfie’s ongoing needs, visit www.redwings.org.uk/donating

Lead image of Alfie being treated. Credit: Redwings Horse Sanctuary

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