The mare shot up to 130 times with a paint-ball gun is recovering following her eye operaton, with her surgeon confident she will bounce back well.
Lily, who is believed to be aged about 20 and with Arabian and Appaloosa bloodlines, has been under the care of veterinarians after being found in poorly condition at the New Holland Sales Stables in Pennsylvania this week.
Lily was not part of the day’s sale and it is surmised she was abandoned there by her owners. She was found to be underweight and suffering from eye issues which required surgery.
However, it was the sight of her grey coat, stained from the impact of up to 130 paint-ball pellets, that has shocked the wider horse community.
Lily, now under the wing of the Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, was stabilized by the saleyard veterinarian, which enabled her to be transported to the New Bolton Center, the large animal hospital which is part of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
She was assessed and underwent an hour of surgery on Thursday to remove her right eye and treat her left eye.
The eye conditions were chronic and were not caused by the paint-balls.
Lily is now resting comfortably in her stall in the Moran Critical Care Center, part of the New Bolton Center. She remains in quarantine in the isolation wing.
Her surgeon, Dr Nikki Scherrer, an ophthalmology resident at the New Bolton Center, says her prognosis is excellent.
“Removing the eye doesn’t change anything for her at all except she will be a more comfortable horse. She is already adjusted to not having vision in that eye.
“The ulcer in the left eye we expect to heal in two weeks. She does have vision in her left eye. It’s not normal because of a positioning abnormality. She has limited vision.
“We did a cytology of the ulcer in her left eye, which means we looked at the cells where the ulcer was and they did not show any signs of infection. So we did a debridement procedure to help stimulate healing, which means we removed the cells that were no longer healthy.
“We ended up removing almost the entire top layer of the cornea. So because the ulcer was so big we decided to place a catheter to help medicate her, which will be a more comfortable way for us to give her medication.
“We removed the right eye and she has a head bandage covering that site to make sure it doesn’t swell and that the incision stays clean.
“We will look at the incision tomorrow to make sure it is healing appropriately. We will put on another bandage for two to three days, and then we will remove it and she’ll just look like she has skin there instead of an eye. We took the two eyelids and sutured them together so there is just skin there now.”
Scherrer said it was decided to remove her right eye because it was going to be a chronic long-term problem for Lily. “The eye was permanently blind and no use to her. This way we make sure that she won’t be in pain.”
Those with with information about this case can contact the Lancaster County SPCA on 717-917-6979 or can email [email protected].
Details about donating toward Lily’s care can be found at Omegahorserescue.com. There is a link on the left of Omega’s front page enabling people to donate via Paypal.