Jumping and kicking in a grassy pasture at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s 3,200-acre campus in Front Royal, Virginia, one would never guess this 12-week-old Przewalski’s horse suffered one of the most detrimental injuries a horse could face.
While the National Zoo houses two Przewalski’s horses in Washington, D.C., animal care staff at the Zoo’s research facility in Front Royal tend to a herd of nearly a dozen across several large pastures. Keepers were thrilled when one of the mares gave birth to a healthy filly in late May.
But a few days after her birth, animal keepers noticed the filly had begun to walk with a limp. A radiograph revealed a fracture running horizontally through her foreleg. Broken limbs are difficult to treat in horses without causing additional complications, and often result in humane euthanasia. Keepers even held off naming the filly, as they weren’t sure of her survival.