AMITE, LA (WAFB) - Livestock rescued during the historic flood of 2016 are in desperate need of medical care. Many of them were stranded.
A veterinarian who graduated from LSU is treating horses that are in critical condition in her small barn at Double Diamond Equine in Amite, La.
"Just look at this horse's face, and this horse is not sedated. She is completely depressed, just wants help," Brennan Lee, DVM, said.
Dr. Brennan Lee uses a gentle touch as she cares for horses that have clearly been through hell.
"You can see where the water line was all the way down. Look at the chest. It's all wrinkled. It's completely hard like rawhide. All of that will sluff off,"
Their skin is rotten, wounded, some of the cuts too deep for repair. Dr. Lee said a lot of them were cut by barbwire and fence posts as they fought to survive. Their legs are swollen.
"I think a neighbor saw this horse and just saw that hey this horse is going to die if not taken to a veterinarian," Lee said.
Since last Friday, Dr. Lee said, good neighbors have delivered more than 15 critically injured horses to her barn. They are tied to a row of crepe myrtles that are still waiting to be treated. She said every one of them are on antibiotics, pain medication,
and need immediate care.
"These horses, the ones I got in yesterday and today, are filled with maggots," Lee said.
It is a 'round the clock operation.
"This one came in yesterday, rotten. You can't repair that. You've got to let it heal," Lee said.
While some of their recoveries might take longer than others, Dr. Lee is already seeing the fruits of her labor. She said a horse that arrived on Sunday is already showing progress.
"It's been five days now so we've got to take this drain out actually, so the holes can heal. She's doing really well," Lee said.
Something as simple as getting them to move again, she said, can be a challenge.
"He couldn't walk and he's walking really well now and he actually will be ready to go home soon," Lee said.
For a week now, Dr. Lee said, she and her husband have been at it alone. A team of helping hands showed up this morning, but Double Diamond is falling short on supplies and vaccinations.
"Feed, hay shaving, and any type of buckets. Yesterday I didn't have buckets for water for one of them," Lee said.
It is those little things you might not think of, Dr. Lee said, that mean the world to the horses that are in the fight of their lives. Her hope is that the community will rally around them so they too can get back to life as they know it.
Dr. Lee is in accepting supplies and donations to deliver to livestock owners who are tending to their damaged homes. If you want to help, you can d rop them off at 19107 Hwy. 1061 Amite, La. You can also contact her through the Facebook page, Double Diamond Equine – Veterinary Services.
Meanwhile, the Lamar Dixon Center is shifting their focus from donations to recovery.
The Ascension Gym will turn into a DSNAP site. "What we're doing is moving and preparing for the recovery, set up for food stamps, set up for relief cards, that kind of distribution," said Kyle Rogers, general manager for Lamar Dixon.
But it's not just humans that need attention. Lamar also has an animal shelter, one that they need to accommodate a large number of horses.
"We have about a little over three hundred, and we had 466 for Katrina," said Louisiana State Animal Response Team Director Renee Poirrier.
One trainer says flood waters can be especially traumatizing for these animals.
"They're standing in water, they're experiencing bad infections in their lower limbs, and veterinarians are treating them with antibiotics," said Sue Williams.
Officials say they are in need of hay. Right now, they have enough to last for just one month.
"The biggest thing that we need right now is horse hay. Horse hay is something that if you have the ability to donate, the farm bureau in Louisiana has a hay hotline, that's the best place to donate, and then it will be distributed wherever it's needed," Porrier said.
The shelter says that people have been wanting to volunteer and donate dog food, but at this point they have plenty of volunteers and food.