- Associated Press - Sunday, November 23, 2014

MITCHELL, Neb. (AP) - Mitchell resident Thea Cross is hoping to raise $10,000 to help aid a horse with a prosthetic leg.

Karma, a thoroughbred mare that was once a racehorse, a Rubber Check Race horse and in training for Polocrosse, had her projects cut short after a life-threatening injury to her left front hoof in 2012. Karma’s hoof became caught in a culvert that sliced through leg and bone at the fetlock joint and left her in critical condition.

After immediate care was given, Karma was transported to the Rocky Mountain Equine Hospital in Sheridan, Wyoming, where her hoof was amputated to save her life. Cross said after her amputation, Karma received a prosthetic boot within a few weeks following the amputation.

Today, Karma is having problems with her prosthetic leg, the Scottsbluff Star-Herald (https://bit.ly/1xSnYxp ) reported. There are issues with abscesses on her stump due to her boot not fitting well.

“She is in need of a new prosthetic leg that fits better with a deeper cup,” Cross said. “We are reaching out to the community for support and collaboration in giving her the best chance we can by raising funds for a new prosthetic leg.”

Prosthetic limbs are a major undertaking since they are made to custom fit. The proper molding, fitting and construction of the limb must be perfect.

The limbs are made from either laminate or carbon graphite with a titanium post and polyurethane foam liners. A stainless steel rocker foot plate with borium on the ground surface is also used to provide traction.

Shock absorbers are used to lessen the pressure on the stump and are equipped to bend, making it easier for the horse to lie down and stand back up. Cross said Karma has many pressure sores since the leg doesn’t fit right and Karma’s leg size has also changed, making it uncomfortable for the horse.

“People can’t just go buy a prosthetic leg at the store,” she said. “It has to be custom made for how they walk, comfortable on a long term basis and part of your body with the correct height for balance and stability, which can cost a lot of money.”

Karma is still learning to walk on three legs with help from Veterinarian Dr. Ted Vlahos of Rocky Mountain Equine Hospital. Vlahos is also in search of someone who will build a custom prosthetic limb for the horse. Cross said Vlahos has contacted a team in Reno, Nevada, to make a limb at cost, but it hasn’t been confirmed.

Giving animals a second chance has been in Cross’s blood since she learned from her father to give the best care to every animal or person possible in life. Cross said according to Vlahos, Karma is fine aside from her boot. She is alert, happy and gets around great and loves people. She just needs a new boot.

“It’s been hard to see her go through this,” Cross said. “My dad was a veterinarian and told me to give animals the best chance they can. You don’t turn your head away if there is something you can do for them and if you can do something, do it.”

Cross has set up a Facebook page and a Gofundme account for anyone willing to be a part of “Team Karma” and donate money. Cross said Karma is everyone’s horse. She welcomes anyone to come by, help her and be part of Karma’s journey.

“We appreciate the support and generosity through this endeavor and for Karma to be able to have a prosthetic leg,” she said. “She is as much my horse as she is all of yours. Everyone deserves a second chance.”

Members of the community have already come out to help Cross and Karma. Cross said people have donated socks that are worn over Karma’s boot, cleaned her stall and brushed her mane and tail.

John and Bonnie Campbell have donated time to help with maintenance on the boot. Brandi Schleve has taken care of her in Cross’s absence, and Raina Younkin has done FFA demonstrations with Karma. All of it has been very beneficial in helping the horse.

Once Karma is able to get her new boot, Cross hopes to give Karma a full life of happiness.

“She will hopefully be bred to a stallion in the spring and have a foal the following year,” she said. “The goal is to let her have a colt of her own and be in the pasture with her buddies.”


Information from: Star-Herald, https://www.starherald.com

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