Colt healing after mountain lion attack |

Colt healing after mountain lion attack

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Lee Kirk receives some kisses from Chance, the 4-month-old colt who, at 3 1/2 weeks old, was apparently attacked by a mountain lion in the middle of the night on July 4. Now Chance is thriving and growing. Although his scars will never disappear, they are healing. (Kara K. Pearson/Post Independent)

SILT, Colo. ” A now-4-month-old colt who suffered life-threatening injuries from an apparent mountain lion attack has a bright future and a new name: Chance.

That’s short for Second Chance, a name Lee and and her husband Terry Kirk found fitting for the colt after it was attacked and could have died when it was only 31⁄2 weeks old.

The Kirks discovered Chance on the morning of July 4.

“He had a hole clear through his neck,” Lee Kirk said. “A 31⁄2-week-old foal is pretty little, so it wasn’t hard for a lion of any size to do something like that.”

Chance will grow up to be a bay with a brown body, black mane and tail and legs. He’s got a large white blaze that extends over his left eye and for most of the length of his face. White lashes extend from the left eyelid and black ones from the right.

“He’s a cute little guy,” Kirk said. “He seems to have a really sweet, gentle nature.”

He still has some big and lumpy scars, Kirk said, but they’re going to fade more with time. Veterinarians said lost muscle tissue should regenerate to a large degree.

“He’s still healing up,” Kirk said. “I think he’s going to be fine.”

Chance spent more than a month at Glenwood Veterinary Hospital with his mother, Lucy.

“He’s still nursing, so we couldn’t send him to a vet for a month without his mother,” Kirk said. “I left him there because I didn’t feel ready to try and tackle the care.”

They got Chance back when all that was required was to rub a salve on the wounds a few times a day. When he was boarding at the clinic, three vets had to change his bandages, clean the wounds and work on him. Chance was on antibiotics and had his wounds irrigated with a large syringe, Kirk said. Vets also trimmed away skin that was becoming necrotic.

“Someone had to hold the colt. Someone had to hold the mare, and someone else had to flush the wound and doctor him,” Kirk said. “The injuries were definitely life-threatening had they not been attended to like they were.”

Chance seems to be OK and not to have suffered any permanent trauma or changes in demeanor.

“He’s just a typical colt,” she said. “He’s very friendly and curious. I don’t think he was permanently traumatized from this event. I think it was harder on the mare.”

Kirk said Lucy may have suffered even more, losing about 100 pounds after Chance was attacked. She was probably stressed about being in a new place and the injuries to her colt.

Chance had wiggled out of the Kirks’ Silt Mesa corral on July 4. The Kirks discovered the colt with gashes on both sides of his neck and in front of his shoulders and a hole through his neck.

Blood on the corral showed where Chance got back inside after the attack. One or more horses may have helped fend off the attacker.

“Something deterred it,” Kirk said. “Either it was a young and inexperienced lion or my other horses.”

One horse, Smoky, may have been responsible. Smokey had taken an interest in the colt and stayed next to the corral with Chance and his mare all the time while other horses explored the pasture.

Kirk plans to keep Chance and use him for trail riding. It was a little disappointing when he turned out to be a bay instead of a paint colored horse, and then a shock when Chance was attacked at such a young age and racked up thousands in vet bills. But Kirk ” who’s had a lifelong love of horses “fell in love with him almost instantly anyway and said it was all well worth it.

“It’s like your child, you know,” she said. “Just like if your child was injured for whatever reason, you’d do everything you could to try to take care of that.”