EAST MARLBOROUGH >> Lily, the 20-year-old horse that was shot up 130 times at close range with a paintball gun, had successful surgery at to remove her right eye Thursday afternoon.
The surgery was performed by equine experts at New Bolton Center. Dr. Rose Nolen-Walston, associate professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine at New Bolton Center, said the horse, an Appaloosa/Arabian mix, will have limited vision but is expected to make a full recovery.
“Lily’s right eye has a severe and painful condition and will never regain sight, and physical removal of the eye will allow her to be pain-free,” Nolen-Walston said. ““Horses do very well after this surgery. We expect her to make a full recovery.”
Louisa Shepard, a spokesperson at New Bolton, said removing the eye would eliminate pain the horse has in that eye. Lily’s left eye, she said, has an ulcer but has some sight. The equine team is treating that eye as well so the horse can at least have some range of vision.
“This was not an unusual surgery,” she siad. “Removing the eye will take away the pain.”
The eye was damaged before Lily was shot with paintballs, Shepard said. The paintball-pelting played no role in Lily’s eye loss.
The horse is still severely underweight, but she is eating everything the New Bolton crew is giving her.
The Lancaster County SPCA is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the crime. Anyone with information should call the Lancaster County SPCA at 917-6979.
Officials at the Lancaster County SPCA still do not know how Lily ended up inside a stable at the New Holland Sales Auction earlier this week. The horse was found tied up and in pain from being shot so many times with paintballs. The welts caused by the paintballs have begun to subside.
Lily is now in the custody of Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Airville. Kelly Smith, director of the organization, first discovered the horse and made arrangements for the horse’s care and transportation to New Bolton.
Omega is paying for all veterinary costs associated with Lily. Smith said since the incident occurred and was made public, many people have donated to defray the cost.
“Vet care is extremely expensive, especially to be in an isolation unit,” she said. “Any help we get is appreciated because we are facilitating her care. We will find her a retirement home.”
Lily has been kept in isolation since being brought to New Bolton Center because doctors do not know what she was exposed to. She was found with no identification, and an owner has not claimed her.
Donations for Lily can be mailed to Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, 8272 Woodbine Road, Airville, Pa, 17302, or at www.omegahorserescue.com by following the link for donations. Donations raised also benefit Omega’s Slaughter and Rescue Fund and the Humane Euthanasia Fund.