Doctors in Veterinary, Human Medicine Team to Give Burned Horse a Second Chance

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“This is amazing to say the least, & the owners of Northstar obviously love him like one of their own children; like I do my horses! Some owners would have just had him put down, but not Northstars parents! I truly hope all this works & Northstar will soon be able to go out into a field, lay down & have a good roll. I hope the bastards that set fire to him experience the same injuries at some point, however it happens, I just want them to feel what burn pain is; so may they rest in Hell!”

COLUMBUS, OhioThe unlikely pairing of an equine veterinarian and a burn surgeon is providing a second chance at a normal life for a horse that was doused in flammable liquid and set on fire late last summer.

Northstar, purposely set on fire, perpetrators not found

The Ohio State University doctors and their teams have partnered to perform two skin graft procedures on the American Paint Horse named Northstar, who suffered severe burns to almost half of his body when the abuse occurred.

The same instruments used in a typical human burn surgery were used for the horse’s grafting procedures. The clinicians removed ultrathin sheets of skin from Northstar’s chest and expanded them with a meshing tool before placing the grafts across an enormous wound spanning the horse’s back.

When he arrived in Columbus on Sept. 5, Northstar had exposed bone at the base of his neck as a result of the burns. Skin damage extended from his neck to the base of his tail and along both of his sides. No suspect has been identified in the case.

The doctors’ collaboration – not to mention the unusual size of the back wound – has provided a rare learning experience for both clinicians and their colleagues.

“There’s been a lot of trial and error with the challenges of how to bandage him, what the most appropriate antiseptic is for cleaning the wound bed, and the biology of burned tissue in a horse,” said Samuel Hurcombe, assistant professor of veterinary clinical sciences and the leader of Northstar’s care team.

Veterinary experts got the healing off to a good start with relentless wound management, a series of smaller skin grafts and the implantation of cell cultures in the wound bed. These procedures were performed to bring top-layer skin tissue to the central area of the expansive wound bed on Northstar’s neck and shoulders, where all his skin had burned away.

Surgeons treat horse like human burn victim

To address the large wound across the horse’s back, Hurcombe consulted longtime trauma and burn surgeon Larry Jones at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. The two observed one another’s surgeries and studied human- and veterinary-medicine journal articles before teaming to accelerate Northstar’s care.

Jones, associate professor of clinical surgery and director of the Burn Center at the medical center, led the two larger skin graft surgeries. Early on, he encountered a significant challenge: how deep to set the tool that would peel off the donor skin.

“We want to take the top layer of skin but we also need a portion of the second layer, the dermis,” he said. After Jones consulted with Hurcombe and the two conducted more research, “I knew I had to take a graft that’s about twice as thick as one I would take if I were operating on a human.”

The team then ran the graft through a mesher that cut holes in the graft skin and allowed for expansion of the graft to about four times its original size. “When the graft takes, the holes will fill in from skin cells growing from the edges,” Jones said.

They dressed the wounds with bandages containing medical-grade silver, which functions as an antibiotic, to speed healing of the grafts and the donor sites.

At this stage of the horse’s recovery, more than half of the initial wound is healed, with the repair resulting from both the various skin grafting procedures and normal closure along the edges of the damaged skin.

Burn victim, set on fire

Northstar will likely undergo a series of additional sheet graft surgeries to completely heal the wound. Multiple grafts are often required for extensive human burn injuries, as well.

“It’s a slow process but even in the time we’ve been caring for him, he has made remarkable progress,” said Hurcombe, a specialist in equine emergency and critical care. “From a welfare standpoint, his psychology is great and after what he’s gone through, the fact that he is still so trusting of people is pretty amazing.”

While he initially appeared to be a dark horse for recovery, Northstar persevered through weeks of daily cleansing and removal of dead and infected tissue followed by the application of antiseptics, honey, aloe and silver sulfadiazine cream, a common human burn treatment, to his damaged tissue.

In yet another application of human medicine in veterinary care, the team has treated Northstar with gabapentin (sold under the brand name Neurontin), a medication used for neuropathic pain in humans, to treat the severe itching and nerve-related pain that is typical in burn patients as they recover. “I take this medication for pain, I really hope it’s helping Northstar!!”

Northstar, who turned 7 in January, is a “young, naughty boy” and would love nothing more than to toss himself to the ground and roll on his back to scratch that persistent itch, Hurcombe said. So the horse is gently tethered to keep him standing and he wears a cradle that immobilizes his neck several hours throughout the day. He is also covered in bandages and wears what is called a full-body “sleazy” covering that is typically seen on show horses.

The clinicians hope that Northstar will have a complete layer of skin coverage by his 8th birthday. The road ahead is a long one, both physicians acknowledge. The location of his back wound is a tricky one to treat because even with secure bandages from his neck to his tail, the horse anatomy in the location of the burn is such that Northstar’s every movement slightly disturbs the grafted areas.

“His skin graft take is a little less than what I am used to in humans,” Jones noted. “But as Dr. Hurcombe reminds me, considering his hospital bed is in a barn, he is doing very well.

“I view Northstar in the same way as I do any of my other patients. I just want him to get better and go on and live his life as a horse.”

Northstar’s owners live in northwestern Pennsylvania, where police have investigated the burning incident as a criminal case.

“All the owners want is for him to be happy, pain-free and able to live his life with his pasture mates,” Hurcombe said. “He is bright and alert, he interacts with people and he can eat and drink and do all the things that a horse can normally do as far as function. And he has been telling us through his behaviors that he wants to live. ”

News Link:http://www.newswise.com/articles/doctors-in-veterinary-human-medicine-team-to-give-burned-horse-a-second-chance?ret=/articles/list&category=medicine&page=1&search%5Bstatus%5D=3&search%5Bsort%5D=date+desc&search%5Bsection%5D=10&search%5Bhas_multimedia%5D=

Related:-https://preciousjules1985.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/pennsylvania-horse-doused-with-flammable-liquid-set-on-fire/

Related:-https://preciousjules1985.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/horse-set-ablaze-sparks-animal-cruelty-investigation/

Ohio Owners Sue State Over New Exotic Animal law

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(I know, I know, I am behind with a lot of posts, so some news has been & gone… I’m going as fast as I physically can do… 🙂 )

“I honestly don’t think anybody should have the right to own & especially breed wild animals. If want to see a wild animal then go to its habitat instead of being lazy & growing one in your backyard!”

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Four owners of exotic animals in Ohio are suing the state’s agriculture department and its director over a new law regulating dangerous wildlife, contending the restrictions threaten their First Amendment and property rights.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in Columbus federal court. It comes as the owners faced a Monday deadline to register their animals with the state.

In this Aug. 25, 2010 photo, Cyndi Huntsman poses in front of caged tigers at her Stump Hill Farm in Massillon, Ohio. Huntsman is one of four owners of exotic animals in Ohio suing the state’s agriculture department and its director over a new law regulating the dangerous wildlife. Photo: Mark Duncan / AP

The owners’ attorney said Monday that the state has agreed not to enforce certain provisions of the law until there’s a hearing on the lawsuit. Attorney Robert Owens said lawyers were still reviewing the agreement, but a court order detailing the arrangement was expected in the coming days.

For instance, under the agreement, Ohio officials wouldn’t refer owners for prosecution if they didn’t register their animals by Monday.

Under the law, owners who don’t register could face a first-degree misdemeanor charge for a first offense, and a fifth-degree felony for any subsequent offenses.

A spokeswoman for the agriculture department declined to comment on the lawsuit and the agreement.

The owners claim the law forces them to join private associations and possibly give up their animals without compensation. They also take issue with a requirement that the animals be implanted with a microchip before they’re registered, so the creatures can be identified if they get lost or escape.

The state has said it would work with owners on the microchip requirement.

As of Monday, Ohio’s agriculture department said it had received 130 registration forms accounting for 483 dangerous wild animals in the state.

In this Aug. 25, 2010 photo, Cyndi Huntsman holds a baby zebra at her Stump Hill Farm in Massillon, Ohio. Huntsman is one of four owners of exotic animals in Ohio suing the state’s agriculture department and its director over a new law regulating the dangerous wildlife. Photo: Mark Duncan / AP

Ohio’s restrictions on exotic animals had been among the nation’s weakest.

State lawmakers worked with a renewed sense of urgency to strengthen the law after owner Terry Thompson last fall released 50 creatures from an eastern Ohio farm in Zanesville before he committed suicide.

Authorities killed 48 of the animals, fearing for the public’s safety. Two others were presumed eaten by other animals. The six surviving animals were placed under quarantine at the zoo. Five were later returned to Thompson’s widowMarian Thompson. The zoo had to euthanize one leopard.

Marian Thompson was among those who registered animals with the state. She submitted information for the two leopards, two primates and a bear that survived.

Registration forms obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request also show she has two 11-week-old leopards on the property.

The owners suing the state have multiple breeds of exotic animals. They are Terry Wilkins, who owns a reptile and amphibian store called Captive Born Reptiles in Columbus; Cyndi Huntsman, owner of Stump Hill Farm in Massillon; Mike Stapleton, owner of Paws & Claws Animal Sanctuary in Prospect; and Sean Trimbach, owner of Best Exotics LLC in Medway, where he breeds, raises and sells exotic animals.

In their lawsuit, the owners say the cost of implanting a microchip in the animal can exceed the animal’s value. They also contend that joining certain groups to become exempt from the law means they would have to associate and fund organizations with which they disagree.

The law exempts sanctuaries, research institutions and facilities accredited by some national zoo groups, such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Zoological Association of America.

While the law took effect last month, some aspects have yet to kick in. For instance, a permit process for owners won’t begin until next October.

Current owners who want to keep their animals must obtain the new state-issued permit by Jan. 1, 2014. They must pass background checks, pay fees, obtain liability insurance or surety bonds, and show inspectors that they can properly contain the animal and care for it.

One of the factors of obtaining of permit includes timely registration.

If owners are denied permits or can’t meet the new requirements, the state can seize the animals.

News Link:- http://www.chron.com/news/article/Owners-lawyer-Agreement-reached-in-exotics-case-4009262.php#photo-3692025

Ohio to return wild animals to family that allowed panic escape

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“Talk about another accident waiting to happen…are they crazy??”

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) – Five wild animals will soon be returned to the widow of a man who released them into the Ohio countryside last year, state officials said on Monday, raising concerns of a repeat of the panic that gripped the state when dozens of beasts including lions, tigers and bears roamed free. 

Seven months after Terry Thompson released 56 exotic animals near Zanesville, Ohio, and then committed suicide, the Ohio legislature still is struggling to draft regulations on wild animal ownership. Ohio is one of only a handful of states with no restrictions on exotic animal ownership.

The state Agriculture Department said on Monday it had no legal way to prevent the five remaining animals – a spotted leopard, a black leopard, two Celebes Macaquemonkeys and a brown bear – from being given back to Thompson’s widow, Marilyn.

She has said she will take them back to the farm and put them in the cages they fled last October.

“This raises concerns, as she has indicated the cages have not been repaired, and has repeatedly refused to allow animal welfare experts to evaluate if conditions are safe for the animals and sufficient to prevent them from escaping and endangering the community,” the Agriculture Department said.

The agency said the only hope of preventing their return to the Thompson family within 24 hours from the Columbus Zoo is for the county Humane Society to seek a court order to inspect the farm.

“Until then we can only hope that local officials choose to act to prevent another tragedy,” the Agriculture Department said.

The local Humane Society could not immediately be reached for comment.

After Thompson, who had been charged with animal cruelty 11 times since 2004, released the lions, tigers and other wild animals last October, law enforcement officials had to go on a big game hunt. Authorities warned residents to stay inside while they killed 49 of the 56 animals.

Six were captured and sent to the Columbus Zoo but one spotted leopard later died there. Another animal was presumed eaten by others and was never accounted for.

The surviving animals have been held at the Columbus Zoo.

The state Senate passed a bill last week that would ban Ohio residents from buying lions, tigers, bears,elephants, wolves, alligators, crocodiles, and certain kinds of monkeys as pets, unless they follow strict guidelines.

Existing owners of wild animals can keep them if they follow the new rules, which include permit fees, registration and constructing proper facilities. The Ohio House may not vote on the measure until the end of May.

News Link:- http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-30/news/sns-rt-us-usa-animals-ohiobre83t0wx-20120430_1_wild-animals-animal-cruelty-ohio-house

 

Mississippi man fined $200 for throwing kitten from moving vehicle

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COLUMBUS, Mississippi — A Columbus motorist has been fined $200 for throwing a kitten out of moving vehicle.

Officials with the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society tell said that the 5-week-old kitten was not harmed.

Authorities say when the man threw the kitten from the window of his car Friday, he didn’t realize the vehicle behind him belonged to an undercover officer with the Columbus Police Department. The motorist has not been identified.

Animal Control Officer Robert Davis, who was called to the scene, says the driver complained that the kitten had meowed incessantly all day and the previous night, and it was getting on his nerves, so he threw it out the passenger window.

Davis says the man’s 5-year-old son was with him at the time.

News Link:-Gulflilve.com

“What a great example to set to a five year old…and people wonder why animal abuse is so rife!!”

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