SPCA New Zealand

From rescued to rehomed - Badger's weight-loss journey

08 April 2021
From rescued to rehomed - Badger's weight-loss journey

Here at SPCA we have dozens of animals come through our doors every day. Our ‘transformation’ stories share the tales of those who come into our care, in pain and often fighting for their lives, and make a miraculous recovery. This is Badger’s story.

Pet obesity - a growing problem

While miniature horses are smaller in stature, they still need plenty of specialized love and care.

Unfortunately, Badger wasn’t receiving this and when he arrived in our Christchurch Centre’s care, he was morbidly obese. Despite his small size, Badger stepped on the scales at a whopping 250kg!

This wasn’t the result of one or two snacks here and there, but consistent and ongoing overfeeding. Obesity can have a detrimental impact on our pets and Badger couldn’t run or gallop like a miniature horse should. His heavy weight held him down from being healthy and happy.

“When I brought him in, he was in very dangerous condition,” SPCA Inspectorate Team Leader Sam Cairns says.

“His owner wasn’t aware how dangerous it was for ponies to have unlimited grass and surrendered Badger to us when he couldn’t meet his needs. From there, Badger was put on a treatment plan, where his weight loss journey began.”

Dropping weight, but gaining life back

Badger needed a lot more than a diet and a few walks to reach a healthy weight.

Over the following months, Badger was fed a specialised diet of low grass and high hay, which is essential in preventing obesity and laminitis and ponies. He was also put on a strict exercise regime as part of his rehabilitation.

Badger slowly began to drop weight and showed wonderful signs of improvement.

Badger lost over 60kgs since first arriving in SPCA’s care and the difference to not only his weight but his demeanour too, was significant. For the first time our team were able to get a glimpse of his sweet personality.

“Though he’s still chubby, Badger is feeling much better. He’s cheeky, and is now able to run around freely. We love him to pieces!” Sam says.

“He became a staff favourite here and would go for walks around the centre, visiting the offices for scratches, and seeing all the different animals.”

From fat to thriving

Once he was given the all clear by SPCA’s veterinaryteam, Badger was able to continue his weight loss journey in a new home and was adopted by one of the vet nurses who cared for him.

He’s since made heaps of new animal friends and is doted upon by his new owner, Emma. He even sneaks some cuddles inside the house!

“Badger has quickly found himself embraced as a true member of our family here on our lifestyle block. He is an absolute character, madly in love with his new girlfriend ‘Peaches’ and believes himself to be the king of the property,” Emma laughs.

“When he’s not going out on adventures with the dogs, he loves swimming at the river - a great way to keep that weight of his podgy tummy!

"We love him and can’t imagine Badger not being a part of our family now!”

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