In the News
GEORGETOWN -- Despite her young age, pain is something Charmer, a quarterhorse and the newest resident at the S.C. Coastal Animal Rescue and Education Sanctuary (S.C.-CARES), knows all too well. That’s because Charmer suffers from navicular disease, also known as navicular syndrome. The condition, which tends to affect high-weight horses with smaller feet, results in inflammation or degeneration of the navicular bone (located near the back of the hoof) and surrounding tissues. Navicular syndrome causes constant pain and, in some cases, debilitating lameness. The 10-year-old horse, which weighs in at 998 pounds and stands 15 hands high, walks with some difficulty and pain, Yeager noted.
She hobbles slightly, limping to avoid putting pressure on her front right foot. “She has a hard time getting around, poor thing,” said Cindy Hedrick, Yeager’s partner. “That foot is always hurting her.” But there is hope. Yeager and Hedrick want to send Charmer to Shambley Equine Clinic in Summerville, where Dr. Mark O. Shambley will perform Palmar Digital Neurectomy (also called “nerving” or “denerving”). The procedure involves severing the nerves in the affected area, so Charmer will lose sensation in the back of her front right foot. According to Yeager, the procedure will offer Charmer the chance to walk without pain for the first time in years.
“Horses seem to adapt really well to that procedure. Charmer won’t be in pain anymore,” he said. “Some people even continue to ride horses after they’ve had the surgery, but Charmer won’t be used for that.” Since Quarter horses live about 25 years, that means Charmer could spend the rest of her time at S.C.-CARES grazing, trotting and playing pain-free. The only problem, however, is the expense. The surgery alone costs $900, a figure that doesn’t include transportation for Charmer to and from Summerville.
In addition, Charmer will have to be fitted regularly — about every six weeks — with a special shoe designed to take the pressure off her affected foot. These are expenses that Yeager and Hedrick, who liquidated their assets to move from North Carolina to Georgetown and open S.C.-CARES, are hard-pressed to afford. Still, even though Charmer has medical problems, Hedrick said she and Yeager don’t regret bringing the horse to S.C.-CARES. “We knew she would have to have surgery, but she needed a place to go,” Hedrick said. “She’s such a sweet girl. We’re glad to have her here, and we can’t wait for her not to be in pain anymore.” According to Yeager, Charmer’s also something of an “eating machine.”
“These guys (Quarter horses) love to eat all the time,” he said. And surgery-related costs aren’t the only ones the couple will incur. Yeager and Hedrick, who brought Chamber to the sanctuary Dec. 15, will have to construct a barn for the young horse, who lives in a modest fenced-in inclosure on the property. Yeager estimates it will cost about $4,000 to construct the barn … and he’ll need all the help he can get. “We need everything. We need a Bobcat to prepare the ground, wood to construct the barn, gravel and clay for the ground and volunteers to help with the building,” Yeager said.
“We’ll take any help anyone can give us.” The barn will serve as a home to two additional horses the couple plans to welcome to the sanctuary in the coming months. To make a donation, contact Yeager or Hedrick at 546-7893 or email@example.com. S.C.-CARES, a “no-kill/no-breed” animal sanctuary, is located off Choppee Road in the western part of Georgetown County. Visit http://sc-cares.org to find out more information about the sanctuary or to make an online donation.