In the News
Two weeks ago, volunteers at the S.C. Coastal Animal Rescue and Education Sanctuary (S.C. CARES) in Georgetown were scrambling to complete a new on-site barn.
Their motivation? The successful recuperation of a 10-year-old American Quarter Horse named Charmer who, at the same time, was undergoing surgery at Shambley Equine Clinic in Summerville.
The barn project was on a tight timetable because Charmer would need at least five weeks of stall rest to properly heal.
Charmer suffers from advanced navicular disease, a disorder caused by the gradual deterioration of the navicular bone at the back of the horse’s foot that can sometimes lead to lameness in the legs.
“In advanced cases, medical therapy really doesn’t help,” said Dr. Mark O. Shambley, chief of staff for the clinic that bears his name.
“We went straight to a surgical neurectomy,” Shambley said, referring to the procedure in which the nerves irritating the navicular bone are severed.
Shambley said the neurectomy was a “salvage procedure.” It didn’t cure Charmer’s condition, but it made her foot numb enough to mask the pain, he said.
The Jan. 31 surgery went very well, Shambley said.
The stall rest, now in progress, will allow Charmer’s wounds — and the severed nerve ends — to heal without being strained, he said.
Shambley estimated he performs 10 to 12 neurectomies each year. The surgery has about a 70 percent success rate in rendering horses serviceably sound, he said.
Shambley, himself, has a horse that underwent a neurectomy and it’s now running and jumping, he said.
Charmer returned to her new stall at the S.C. CARES facility Feb. 4. Days later, she was already showing signs of excitement.
“She got a little frisky in the stall,” Yeager said.
Shambley said he would visit Charmer in Georgetown this week to remove her sutures and to see how she’s faring.
Like the barn raising, transporting Charmer to Summerville was a volunteer effort. The Georgetown Saddle Club donated the use of a horse trailer which was pulled in a volunteer’s truck, said Skip Yeager, who oversees S.C. CARES along with partner Cindy Hedrick.
According to its Web site, S.C. CARES is “a compassionate ‘no-kill/no-breed’ haven for abused, neglected and unwanted exotic animals.” Charmer’s neighbors include deer, timber wolves, macaws, cockatoos and a red fox, among others.
A “turning out” party in Charmer’s honor is planned for March 15 when Yeager, Hedrick and the S.C. CARES volunteers who have looked after the horse will be on hand to see her released into her pasture.
“We don’t plan to ride her,” Yeager said. “She’s just there to be a horse.”