Mare With Melanoma: A Teacher to the End

Years ago my family became the owners of a beautiful, older Arab mare named Danza Mia. She's been mentioned in this column several times, including a couple of years ago when we had to make the decision for euthanasia. Based on her necropsy, it was the right decision. She had a basketball-sized melanoma in her gut and other smaller melanomas.

My veterinarian, Dr. Carol McLeod, had suspected internal melanomas based on the fact that the mare was gray, she had external melanomas, and she had intermittent colic episodes. What we learned on necropsy was that Danza Mia would have died before long, in a much more tragic manner, if we had not chosen to euthanize her. She was a great mare for my youngest daughter and anyone else whom we wanted to give a nice, quiet, safe experience with a horse. And she continues to teach in this magazine as we use images of her melanomas to help you learn more about this disease. I think Danza Mia would be glad that even in her death she can continue to help horse owners.

Feral/Wild Horse Welfare

Sometimes I wonder how we got out of our own way to create the country we live in today. It's okay that we disagree, but please, let's use some logic! Especially when the health and welfare of one of our national symbols is at stake.

There are too many horses on too few acres, and I'm not talking about my own farm.

Feral/wild (however you want to term them) horses in the United States have a limited amount of land set aside for their use. The arguments between cattle ranchers and wild horse advocates aren't going to be solved in the short term, but we can address the problem of overbreeding in these wild horse herds.

Using equine contraceptives on mares captured, handled, and released in a humane manner is the best solution for the immediate problem of trying to reduce the number of wild horses on public lands.

Humane euthanasia should be provided for those horses that have been through three adoption programs without success and are deemed unadoptable in the future due to age, psychological issues, or physical ailments. This must be done to reduce the millions of dollars currently being spent on keeping thousands of horses in pens in the western United States. No one can think that having those formerly feral horses contained in such a manner is healthy or normal.

We need a service such as PetFinder or another national organization to team with BLM to provide an RSS feed of images, information, and location of wild horses that are deemed adoptable (sample can be found on in the left-hand toolbar). Then horse publications, organizations, welfare groups, and individuals with Web sites can promote those horses who need homes.

And let's allow the BLM to be the judge of who is capable of handling these horses so they won't end up in Mexico or Canada at a slaughterhouse because the new owners aren't capable of handling them.

Then those millions of dollars we are saving from rounding up and holding thousands of wild horses can be spent on the proper breaking and gentling of hundreds of wild horses so they can find useful, lifelong homes.

Can this all happen? Yes, I think it can. But we need to let our government officials hear from us that we want a proactive program to stop wild horse overbreeding and improvements to the adoption program.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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