Phoenix, an 800 pound, two-year old Quarter Horse, was recently fitted with a prosthetic leg thanks to Argyle-based Ranch Hand Rescue.
Bob Williams, director of the farm animal rescue organization, said to his knowledge the procedure had never been done before on a full sized horse.
A similar procedure was performed last year on Midnite, a miniature horse living at the ranch on Hwy 377, with excellent results.
Phoenix was found abandoned in Denton County with his hoof, hoof wall and a portion of his coffin bone torn off, along with a severe bone infection.
“We were told he had a 15 percent chance of survival. We placed his fate in God’s hands as we persevered against all odds in an attempt to restore him to good health and allow him to have the best life he could as a horse,” said Williams.
He credited Dr. John Bitter at Argyle Vet and Tim Goldberg of Prostheticare for saving Phoenix’s life.
Williams said today Phoenix can walk and has even trotted.
“We are limiting his activity as his leg still has several months to heal and calcify. We want him to form a solid nub at the bottom of his leg with the hope that he will be able to run without injury to himself,” said Williams.
“Our hope is that Phoenix will make a full recovery and his job will be to help others. Our Certified Animal Therapist Kim Mills has already used Phoenix in her program with high anxiety children, grief counseling and drug and alcohol therapy.”
Williams said he hopes Phoenix can participate in the Wounded Warriors Project for injured service members as well as help veterans and children who have suffered the loss of a limb or severe trauma.
“We hope it changes the way veterinarians look at these types of injuries and gives hope to other equine owners that there may be a way to save these precious animals.”
Learn more at www.ranchhandrescue.org.