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Jan 18, 2016 2:27 PM

Max the Mini Horse heads home from Rochester - leg intact - after mysteriously getting shot

ROCHESTER - A miniature horse from Massachusetts has been given a second chance at life after he was shot in the leg last month.

On Dec. 1, Julie Nightlinger of Acushnet, Mass., noticed something wasn't quite right with her mini horse, Max.

I came back outside right before it got dark to get him, and there was something wrong with his leg," Nightlinger said. "I thought he got bit, because it was just bleeding."

But, when Julie brought Max to their local vet, she found out it wasn't a bite.

Max had been shot.

Max was referred to a specialist out of Rochester - Dr. Grant Myhre from the Myhre Equine Clinic.

The clinic is one of the oldest in the area, specializing in equine surgery.

But Max's chances still weren't great, Nightlinger said.

Dr. Myhre said a prosthetic leg was an option, but the care would be costly and difficult - especially for such a young, active horse.

"It's a lot of work," Dr. Myhre said. "You have to put the prosthesis on, take it on and off twice a day."

The realistic option, if surgery didn't work, was euthanasia.

But, thanks to a generous donation of stem cells from a company - as well as Dr. Myhre and his team of experts - they saved Max's leg.

Now Max can finally go home.

But, he's not out of the woods yet. He still has to take antibiotics and get monthly check ups. Julie has set up a GoFundMe page to help with Max's care.

The Acushnet Police Department still have no leads as to who did this to Max.

Julie is hoping that someone will still come forward and take responsibility.

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