12-year-old Shetland cross Freddie began his new life at Far From alongside his poorly mother, Flossy. Just like mum, Freddie suffers from sweet itch (an allergic reaction to insect bites that badly affects the skin). When he arrived, he was covered in open wounds and was in an upsetting amount of discomfort. The constant irritation on his skin meant he couldn’t deal with being touched or handled, and he was terrified of the fly spray we tried to treat him with.
To add to Freddie’s list of problems, he was overly dependent on his mother. If they were separated for more than a few minutes, he’d get dangerously stressed. He naturally has a nervous disposition and can easily become hysterical.
We believe Freddie was never weaned, which would explain his lack of independence and confidence. Weaning foals allows the mothers’ milk production to stop and enables the foal to grow and think independently. Flossy’s dominant nature made it even harder for Freddie to be alone, and now he can’t be without her. Unfortunately, Flossy’s life is drawing to a close, so it’s our job to make sure he’s strong enough to deal with her inevitable passing.
Freddie’s instability made it tough for us to decide how to treat him. Eventually we agreed that he must face his fear of the fly spray with our help (there’s other ways to apply it, but none as effective). With a calm, patient, and loving hand he is gradually becoming accustomed to his daily medical treatments. We never rush, or raise our voices, and luckily, it’s paying off as we’re seeing an improvement. We believe in ‘prevention over cure’, which consists of injections from the vet, supplements added to his dinner, fly spray twice a day, medicated cream every 48 hours and new fly masks and sheets every 4-6 weeks. Luckily it’s working – he’s managed to get through the summer without a single sign of sweet itch. A real achievement!
We still have a long way to go with our boy Freddie, but he’s starting to form bonds with the Far From team, which gives us all hope for his future. We’re willing to put in as much work as we need to to make his quality of life the very best it can be.