Hardy, VA - The staff at Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue just received a new patient who needs a lot of care.
"Lu Lu" the horse arrived to the rescue in pretty bad shape.
A normal horse this size would typically weigh between 700 and 800 pounds. Lu Lu weighs just 475 pounds.
The 20-year-old mare has proven to be a true fighter, though.
"She's very malnourished, and is pretty much on her last leg, but we're doing everything that we can to bring her back," said Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue Chairmain Jason Muncy.
LuLu was brought in by her owner after they could no longer afford to feed her.
Her story that is all too familiar for Muncy.
"It is unusual, but not necessarily for us, we've seen this too many times before," Muncy said.
Aside from being extremely underweight, Lu Lu also now has the onset of pneumonia.
"She's starting to cough, and we've got some antibiotics on the way, we've already put her on some, and we've got some more were going to start treating her for pneumonia so hopefully it doesn't set in full force," Muncy said.
After the previous owner couldn't afford grain to feed Lu Lu, they began giving it cereal, and other food that lacks the nutrients a horse needs.
Dying of starvation, Muncy says, LuLu had started eating tree bark.
"When they get to this point, she's really pretty bad and it will be touch and go for a while," Muncy said.
Due to her poor diet, getting her to eat healthy again is easier said than done. Lu Lu will eat hay, but will not yet eat her grain, which she needs to survive.
"It is a big problem because that's how were going to get her weight back on her. The hay will be good, but the grain is what she needs the most because that will put the weight on her," said Kathryn Barber from the rescue.
Despite helping horses for more than a decade, the folks at Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue say it is never easy seeing a horse like Lu Lu.
"It's really heart breaking to see a horse in this kind of condition," Muncy said.
"I went home the day after we brought her here and I just cried," said Barber.
Muncy said he is hopeful that Lu Lu will make a full recovery, but she's not out of the woods yet.
To help Lu Lu, contact the Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue.