Breed: Peruvian Paso
Approximate Date of Birth: 1/1/1995
Loss of a Treasure
On August 23, 2014, County of San Diego Department of Animal Services seized 31 horses from a property in Valley Center. At the time of the rescue, the horses were several hundred pounds underweight and many were long overdue for hoof care. In early October 2014, after weeks of veterinary care, the horses regained weight and recovered to the point that they were ready for new homes. Unfortunately, while Cora was waiting to find her forever home, she was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease.
A number of horses at the sanctuary have Cushing’s Disease. In Cushinoid horses, there is a tumor on the pituitary gland in the brain. This tumor, while benign, does cause the horse to over-produce chemical mediators called, "proopiomelanocortin peptides." As a result, horses can grow excessively long winter coats that they fail to shed.
There is a lot of good news available for Cushinoid horses. While the disease is progressive, it progresses slowly and responds very well to a simple medication regiment and dietary adjustments. Unfortunately, for reasons we do not fully understand, Cora’s Cushing’s suddenly worsened and manifest itself in a significant laminitis episode in June. Previous blood tests had showed the disease was well controlled and her diet was among the safest.
Our veterinarians at East County Large Animal Practice (ECLAP) responded aggressively with medications and therapeutic pads. Unfortunately, after a month, Cora was not only failing to improve, but the laminitis in her left front foot was taking its toll on her right front foot, leaving her in a significant amount of pain.
Based on her failure to show any acceptable signs of improvement and her pain level, it was determined that humane euthanasia was the most appropriate option for Cora.
Cora was the first Peruvian Paso placed in our care. The Peruvian Paso, also known as the Peruvian Horse, is a naturally gaited horse. Their gait is called paso llano. The Peruvian Paso's origins can be traced back to the arrival of the Conquistadors. The breed was refined in northern Peru where horses were relied on as transportation across large plantations. Today, this breed is protected by the Peruvian government through Decree number 25919 of Peru, enacted on November 28, 1992, and has been declared a Cultural Heritage of the Nation by the National Institute of Culture.
Of course, when we lost Cora we lost something much more valuable than a national treasure; we lost a beautiful, sweet, gentle mare that deserved a much longer time with us than she had. At Horses of Tir Na Nog, Cora found ample food, regular farrier and veterinary care, a clean, spacious corral, the loving hands of volunteers who groomed her and took her for walks. But the greatest treasure Cora found at Horses of Tir Na Nog was friendship. After her arrival, Cora quickly bonded with a small mare, Flaka, which Animal Services rescued when her owner was arrested. Similar in size and color, Cora and Flaka quickly became two peas in a pod and rarely spent time apart.
Flaka began a significant decline at the same time that Cora did. The two of them also seemed to cling to each other a bit more closely throughout July. So the very difficult decision was made to allow these two mares to cross the Rainbow Bridge together, carrying with them the most precious treasure of all: friendship.