Reporter: Marcelino Benito
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Rescuing horses is part of Heart of Tucson's mission, but sometimes they can't do it all on their own. World re-known veterinarian Dr. Vernon Dryden flew in from the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky to give "Gifted" a second chance at life.
The fifteen-year old thoroughbred is known around the world as "Dyna-King," but to Heart of Tucson President Judy Glore he's just "Gifted." He suffers from laminitis, a condition that impacts the feet. It's serious inflammation of the hoof. For a horse who was born to run, he struggles to walk.
"We don't want to see him like that anymore," Galore said. "We want him to get up and have a normal life."
Dr. Dryden helped make that a reality. He fit him with some new top of the line medicated shoes, and a cutting edge stem cell treatment. Time is of the essence when dealing with laminitis.
"What he has is really difficult to overcome," Dryden said. "We're really at a race against time to get him rehabilitated."
The two procedures take more than two hours. "Gifted" feels no pain throughout the procedure. Dryden gives him several shots of sedation, coupled with anesthesia to numb the feet. Once the two shoes are on, he begins the stem cell treatment. Twenty-eight million stem cells are pumped into each foot. The stem cells could help regenerate better quality hoof. The process takes up to four weeks to see results.
9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito asked Dryden how he thinks "Gifted" performed. "He's just a rock star," Dryden said. "You can tell this horse has a lot of fight."
"I think we just gave him his best chance at a better life," Glore said. "This is like pulling out the last stop."
Just two hours after his surgical procedures, "Gifted" was able to walk back to his stall. Dryden says he'll likely feel some discomfort when the anesthesia wears off, but he'll be controlled with medication. It's not a magic bullet says Dryden, but if all goes well "Gifted" could walk pain free for the rest of his life.
The procedure runs in the thousands of dollars. Supporters of "Gifted" have donated money already. One supporter donated up to $5,000, but Heart of Tucson still needs the public's help to cover costs. If you'd like to help, log on to www.heartoftucson.org.