Arabian Horse, Gypsy, Euthanized

Posted Date

June 2, 2023


Animal Updates, In The News

It’s with heavy hearts the Zoo says goodbye to Arabian horse, Gypsy, who has been a resident of the Zoo’s Family Farm since 2013. Gypsy was humanely euthanized May 18 due to an acute episode of colic (abdominal pain due to intestinal gas or obstruction).

Gypsy was born in 1993 and arrived at MCZ from Stepping Stone Farms where she was a therapy horse. She became a favorite of the Farm zookeepers and thousands of schoolchildren over the years, as the Zoological Society’s Conservation Education classes offered several programs that featured Gypsy. Two-year-old children were able to meet and pet Gypsy (through a barrier), the “Junior Zookeeper” class cleaned a “mock” horse stall, and the “Veterinary Camp” kids went into the yard to listen to her heartbeat with a stethoscope.

Animal care staff say that these types of critical colic cases can be either medically (helped with medication) or surgically treated. At the time of the episode, veterinary staff attempted medical management, but unfortunately, her condition declined rapidly.

Based on consultation with equine specialists, surgical correction was likely to be unsuccessful given the exam findings and rapid decline. Because of the poor prognosis for resolution of the colic, the decision was made to humanely euthanize Gypsy.

At 30 years old, Gypsy was considered a geriatric animal. Life expectancy for Arabian horses is usually between 25-30 years; however, they can live longer if they are healthy. Gypsy did not have any significant health issues at the time, but her care team suspected some arthritis for which she was receiving medication.

As is common with older animals, she had lost some teeth, which resulted in the keepers modifying her diet. They caringly softened her food, consisting of beet pulp, pellets, rice bran, and an alfalfa cube by adding water to make a type of “mash” that she could easily eat and digest.

Zookeepers note that Gypsy will be remembered as a very mellow animal, yet always “alert,” keeping an eye on all things around her. She noticed if even the slightest change occurred on the Farm. When she had all her teeth, she especially enjoyed apples and carrots, and in her later years, animal care staff would make apple mash for her to eat.

Gypsy was a very gentle horse and wanted attention from her caregivers only on her terms. She never “kicked out” at the keepers or the donkeys that shared space with her. It’s thought that her work with equine therapy at Stepping Stone Farms made her a great, even-tempered horse for the Zoo.

She will be greatly missed.