Historic rainfall and flooding have put the equine community near Baton Rouge, La., in a state of distress. Declared a major disaster, hundreds of horses have been affected, requiring emergency rescues, temporary equine shelters, and extensive veterinary care.
Supporting the efforts of emergency response groups and organizations that are helping horses impacted by the flooding, the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) is providing financial assistance through the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund.
Developed in 2005 during the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund was formed to help ensure the safety and well-being of horses during trying times. Since its inception, over $350,000 has been given out to assist horses across all breeds. All money donated to the fund is strictly used to benefit horses and horse owners.
Helping lead efforts in providing equine rescue and care are the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine (LSU SVM), the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART), Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association, and countless other organizations. Since flooding began, over 370 horses have been housed at shelters managed by the LSU SVM and LSART with staff, students, and volunteers providing 24-hour assistance.
For hundreds of horses, the journey to recovery is long from over. In an interview, Rebecca McConnico, DVM, Ph.D., professor of equine medicine at LSU and leader of the Louisiana State Animal Response Team, explained, “We see aspirational pneumonia from the flood waters; there is laminitis from standing in water and colic because (the horses) don’t have dry hay. You can spend $10,000 and still have a horse die.”
Encouraging the equine community to come together and help fellow horse owners and their horses, USEF CEO Bill Moroney said, “The USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund was created to provide assistance to our fellow equestrians when circumstances call for immediate relief. The generous support of our community has made it possible for us to support the ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and welfare of horses affected by the devastating flooding in Louisiana.”
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