One year ago, a pony was left for dead in a muddy ditch in Amelia County, Virginia.
“The pony was abandoned in a muddy ditch on a back road and left to die,” said Dr. Carmen Franck Vaughan.
“We got him back to the hospital, and the weakness that should have resolved with warmth and hydration remained,” continued Vaughan. “It became obvious that this pony wasn’t just cold and weak, he was neurologic.”
This pony had Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM), a rare neurological disease that horses or ponies contract by accidentally ingesting infected feces of small mammals, such as raccoons or skunks, but the main culprit is usually opossum.
EPM is caused by a parasite that infects the horse's brain and nervous system. EPM in infected horses causes muscle weakness and a loss of coordination.
“After ingestion, it can migrate to the spinal cord, and if this occurs it causes paralysis that worsens and spreads the longer the parasites go untreated,” says Vaughan.
Vaughan named the pony Ditch Pony or “Ponz” for short, and says Ponz’s survival story has been truly inspirational. “Today is a day that I never thought would happen,” she said in a Facebook post. “I am sharing our Christmas miracle with the world one year later.”
After barely being able to move one year ago, Ponz can now walk, trot, canter, and even run. “He can do everything a normal pasture pony can do and thinks he is 10 feet tall and bulletproof,” said Vaughan.
“He is always in the back of my mind when I am trying to find the strength to keep treating a tough case or even fight a battle in my own life,” she said.
Vaughan even created a video of Ponz’s story:
What a great story about never giving up!
In other news, you need to read about this boy’s last Christmas in the next story below...