6-Week-Old Horse Dies on North Carolina’s Outer Banks After Contracting Painful Disease

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A 6-week-old horse in the North Carolina Outer Banks had to be euthanized this week after contracting a painful disease in its leg. 

According to the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, the horse, named Ceres, was put down due to a very severe case of pythiosis. The organization revealed that the young foal was in the same harem as June. This is a mare that is currently at NC State being treated for the same kind of infection. 

In a Facebook post, Ceres the horse was seen by staff on September 10th with no visible wounds. It was also behaving normally. However, on September 12th, the staff saw Ceres again after she had developed some issues. A lesion on top of the coronary band of her right front hoof. “We immediately contacted our vet, who confirmed that it was most likely pythiosis, and we spent the entire day coordinating between ourselves and the vets at NC State to come up with the best plan of action.”

Due to the horse being so young, the organization stated that there were additional challenges that adult horses don’t face. The challenges require extra planning and logistics. “We came up with a plan for capturing her,” it was explained. “And the hospital in Raleigh was prepared to admit her as soon as possible.”

However, after September 12th, the horse disappeared and after exhaustive searching, crews were unable to find Ceres. One of the staff members ended up finding foal hoof prints the next day. They were going into some very thick brush where there were no roads. While Ceres was seen still alive and moving around, there was difficulty finding a way to get to her. Luckily, the team eventually got to her safely.

Ceres the Young Horse Was Eventually Recovered, But Challenges Followed

After the Corolla Wild Horse Fund managed to the horse back in its care, there was more damage done to Ceres’ hoof. The bones in her lower leg were irreparable.

“The infection had set into the bone and her hoof was sloughing off,” the organization shared about the horse’s condition. “She was in a great deal of pain and while on one hand, it is always difficult to make the decision to euthanize, in a case like this we knew there was no other choice.”

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund further explained that the horse being euthanized was the right thing to do. Ceres was notably laid to rest late on Thursday (September 22nd) next to the mares’ pasture. She is resting there so that her aunts can look over her. 

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund stated that the rest of the harem is fine. “Ceres’ mother called for her during the night, but as of right now they have all settled down and are grazing quietly.”