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- Hoof and Leg Issues
I have 2 mini donkeys that are living on a dry lot now since we've had no rain in south Texas. Now that they are totally dependent on me providing food and i have read straw is best to fill their bellies and keep them occupied along with the addition of a ration balancer, how would i introduce straw to them? I feed in hay bags and currently feed bagged bales of Timothy grass but that's expensive. I'm hoping straw will be more economical in addition to being their preferred, healthier diet. Over how many days should i wean them off Timothy and onto a completely straw diet?
As far as weaning from timothy to straw, there is no real problem as far as digestive or metabolic upset, since the straw is much higher if fiber and lower in digestible calories. However, your minis are likely to not like the straw very much at first and may not eat it. This is a problem because, depending on other factors, such as the mini's weight (are the fat?) a period of anorexia could trigger hyperlipemia, in which a mass of fat is released from the adipose tissue and can damage the liver and other organs. So, I would start adding the straw as 10 % of their diet and double the amount every week. Depending on their body condition you might also want to keep them on some level of hay permanently, maybe just ½ pound a day. You could also look for alternatives to timothy , like Teff, Orchard Grass, or Rye. Again, in small amounts. Do be sure that the straw you get does not have any significant amounts of the wheat heads left from combining (harvesting).
I have read that barley straw is the preferred diet for donkeys, however not readily available in my area.
I noticed that the Standee bags of chicken bedding contain chopped barley or wheat straw per ingredient list. I called the Standee company and they said it was safe to feed donkeys this product. What are your thoughts? Thank you.
While the ideal of feeding barley straw is great, as you have found out, it is very hard to find the stuff in most parts of the USA. Wheat straw works just fine, given a couple of caveats. First, the straw should not contain a lot of actual wheat heads, because they contain exactly the high starch non-structural carbohydrates that you are trying to avoid by feeding straw. Fortunately, modern combines are pretty efficient at removing the grain part of the wheat plant at harvest, but it is still a good idea to check. If you find a wheat head in a half bale of straw, that isn't too bad. If you find several heads in each flake, that is a problem, and that straw should not be fed to donkeys. It is also undesirable to have a lot of dirt clods in the straw. This happens when the field is rough and the cutting bar on the combine is set low to the ground. You can tell if a bale has a lot of dirt in it because they bales will be much heavier. A three-twine straw bale should not weigh 100 lbs. as you would expect with hay. Finally, you want to get long stem bedding straw. Some straw is cut so that the stems are short, or it is chopped, making it more digestible for cows. This "feed straw" is an inexpensive diet for cows that are not currently being milked, do not have a calf, or are in early stages of gestation. The longer stemmed bedding straw gives the donkey more to do, because it requires more chewing, and it has fewer digestible calories. For this reason, the Standee chicken bedding, even though it is made of straw, would not be a good feed for you donkey. It certainly is not going to make your donkey sick, but it will tend to make it too fat. Also, I suspect that it is a lot more expensive than buying straw in a standard bale. It does depend on what part of the country you are in, but you can generally find bedding straw easily by going to a feed supplier that services racetracks or county fairs. Bedding straw is universally used to bed racehorses and show livestock. The supplier may tell you that this straw is not for feeding, but that is because they don't feed donkeys, and don' know. I hope this is helpful.
One of my mini donkeys a gelded 6 year old. He is on pasture and the winter prairie grass. His weight is my question, he has been wormed at 8 week intervals, but you can see his ribs, feel his spine and hip bones easy to see.. Seems when I increase hay soon he gets a fat crest but his body stays the same. Does this seem like something is wrong or is this typical?
Your gelded jack may just have the genetics to have an "angular" body. Some donkeys tend to have a thin "top line" and a larger abdomen, like a dairy cow. So, this may not be that abnormal, and you are right to slow his feed intake when you noticed that he was building a fat pad on the top of his neck. Donkeys tend to store fat in a lot of parts of their body, but the top of the neck is one of the first and most prominent. It is like a camel's hump (also a fat deposit). There is nothing wrong with being able to see his ribs. In fact, a donkey (or a horse) in ideal weight you might expect to at least be able to feel the ribs. Looking at your donkey's diet I would consider the quality of the hay. It should be mold free and not have a lot of grain or legume (clover or alfalfa) in it. The diet should also include trace minerals like zinc, copper, and manganese, and not too much iron. The iron is needed but too much of it will decrease the absorption of other minerals. There are a number of trace minerals and "ration balancers' on the market. They are all pretty similar. To get your donkey to eat their mineral supplement, you can mix it with some tasty vegetables. We use carrots and add chard, celery, or cucumbers (in season). These are mostly fiber and water, so they don't add a lot of calories. It would also be a good idea to have his manure checked for parasites. Even though you are deworming frequently, don't assume that you have controlled parasites. They can be really sneaky. So , it is good to check.
I have been feeding my donkey and two mules a 13% sweet feed BECAUSE they are in with the horses. I recently stopped feeding as I did not know they should not be eating this. They now have fatty pads on their necks and buttocks. I have closed their pasture to limit their grass. What else can I do besides exercise them? Should I be extremely concerned?
This is an unfortunate situation, and you should be concerned. Once donkeys become obese, getting them to a healthy weight can be really difficult. As you realize now, grain diets for horses should NOT be fed to donkeys. They are way too efficient in their utilization of all types of plant material, as compared to horses. Non-structural carbohydrates such as starches (in grains) and sugars (in the molasses added to may grain mixtures) are way over the top for donkeys. Obesity can lead to fatty liver disease, laminitis, and arthritis. The metabolic conditions that come from excess adipose tissue (fat) and the pro-inflammatory state that they promote occur in all animals, including horses, dogs, cats, and humans. It is common for people to get donkeys as "guard animals" for sheep and goats (who are fed for growth and production) or "companions" for horses (who have a very different metabolism and digestive capability). With few exceptions, this results in the donkey getting obese. Once this has happened the donkey's body condition "resets" and tries to maintain the overfed state. Again , this happens in other species. Even exercise can be difficult because overworking hooves and joints that are carrying to much weight can result in lameness, making things worse. Extreme fasting is bad too, because the stored fat can be released by inadequate daily intake, stress, or pain, and result in "Hyperlipemia" and eventual fatty liver syndrome. To address your donkey's problem, first use a weight tape or cloth measuring tape to get an idea of your donkey's weight. This will help you monitor progress as far as weight loss. Horse weight tapes are not as accurate as those made specifically for donkeys, but you are most interested in the change week to week. The Donkey Sanctuary has a chart (donkeysanctuary.org) that you can use to estimate body weight using any tape. I have attached an outline of how to feed an obese donkey, from the same Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth UK. Basically, you will have to go to a coarse grass and straw as the total diet. Any pasture has to much non-structural carbohydrates and will prevent success in weight loss. As this paper says, barley straw is ideal but it is hard to get in most parts of the USA. We have always used wheat straw and it works fine. Get the long stemmed quality bedding variety, because chopped or short stemmed straw is often fed to cows and is too digestible for donkeys. Don't let veterinarians or feed store owners tell you that you cannot feed straw. We by it by the truckload and our donkeys do just fine. Feed at least 3 times a day and 4 (every 6 hours) is better. The TOTAL intake should be 1.5% 3% of body weight. For a 200 lb. donkey, that is 3 lbs. -6 lbs. ONLY for the whole day. Start with 2/3's hay and transition by decreasing the percentage of hay and increasing the percentage of straw weekly, until you are feeding 2/3's of the diet in straw. It is important with these small amounts to actually weigh the hay and straw. To make this more efficient, we have a fish scale and pre-weigh the feed in old feed bags, until we have a few days' worth stored up. Then you just have to go out and dump the bag into their feeder. Remember , those amounts are PER DAY. So, the 200 lb donkey will be getting 1 lb.- 2lbs. of the hay/straw mix three times a day if that is how often you feed. They will also need a trace mineral supplement. There are a number of these on the market, we use California Trace. The supplement can be mixed with a high moisture, low sugar treat to get them to eat it. We use a handful of shredded carrots, which makes a nice afternoon snack. Because they will have less to do with less feed, you should spend some time grooming them, walking with them, and giving them chewy fun stuff like brambles, berry bush vines (without the berries), or bull thistles to chew on. Rosemarie bushes are also good and The Donkey Sanctuary has a whole list of things that donkeys eat on their web site. Giving them some toys (Jolly Balls and orange highway cones work well) to keep them amused will also help. I would start a program of doing this right away.
My donkey getting weak day by day, and has severe mite and lice infestation.
Treatment has veen done but no response.
It is hard to tell from your description what may be going on with your donkey. However, this is serious just based on the fact that treatment for lice is not effective. You need to get your donkey evaluated by a veterinarian. The possible problems could be as simple as bad teeth or as serious as cancer. Animals that become heavily infested with skin parasites like lice and mites usually have another underlying problem. If you can send me your location, the age of the donkey, how long you have had it, what you are feeding, and what treatments have been done, I may be able to help you or at least refer you to somebody who can.
Will my new jacks ever like “donkey things”?? I just adopted 2 mini (vet aged ~10) who have been living on a partially dry 1.5 acre lot with 19 other equine. The lady said she gave them sweet feed (I KNOW that’s not ok) and “whatever hay the neighbors provided”. The lady was using them for a traveling petting zoo and they seem traumatized. I am 100% giving them a calm environment, respecting their space, reading their body language for interaction and they’re starting to follow me for scratches.
Over the last week I have been slowly introducing a ration balancer, reducing the sweet feed each day. I have them boarded with my horse at a facility so Timothy/orchard hay is readily available. I bought wheat straw and have been trying to introduce it by mixing the wheat & hay together. I just ordered Cal trace plus and a Himalayan block.
They don’t play, they take no interest in the straw, toys, or each other (minus staying in proximity of each other). Is it just simply time or will they prob never like straw, bananas, bark, etc?
I imagine if they were on a 1.5 acre lot with 19 horses (maybe mules?) they would be traumatized. So, donkeys being individuals it may take a while for them to be more "donkey like". I would cut out the sweet feed completely right now. There is no advantage to continuing to feed it and it is making them fat, which will be hard to treat after a while. Even free choice timothy/orchard grass is likely to lead to obesity in a mini if they don't get much exercise. They will eventually get used to the straw, but that is going to require that they don't have a lot of other tastier things to eat. That isn't being mean, it is just good for their health. Minis especially are food motivated, and the need to have things to chew on. Brambles, berry bushes, thistles, and other weeds work great and The Donkey Sanctuary has good information on other plants that donkeys can munch on at https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/for-owners/poisonous-plants-trees/safe-trees-for-donkeys
To keep our donkeys happy they get a "salad" of sliced carrots with their supplement in the afternoon, and we will replace some of the carrot with celery, chard, or cucumber depending on the season. Bananas might be fed as a special treat, but they are very high in soluble starch and sugar, so I would be very careful about that. I think you are going at this the right way in general. I would just give it time, as it can take a traumatized donkey a long time to adjust to a better life.
Hi, I work at a ranch in Maui,Hawaii, we have 4 donkeys. 2 mini's and 2 regular sized. Recently our workers got the 2 regular sized donkeys' hair tested because their coats have been changing colors. Results came back to say they have a high content of metals in their system, not sure the cause(maybe the soil and hay they eat?). Any advice on how we can help them with lowering the metal content in their system?
It is hard to say exactly how to approach this without knowing which minerals (metals) are high in their diet. Generally, this is either due to high concentrations in the volcanic soil or because there are local plants that preferentially concentrate certain minerals OR a combination of both. If the problem is high iron content this tends to interfere with the uptake of other essential trace minerals like copper and zinc. Relative copper deficiency can cause coat color changes in cattle. So, this might be what is going on. You can have pasture plants and hay analyzed for minerals and I would imagine that diagnostic labs in Hawaii could do this, but if not they are certainly available on the mainland. I would start by having the feed analyzed and asking the state agriculture department if they are aware of particular plants that concentrate minerals. In the meantime, I would feed hay or straw that had a mineral analysis done previously. Don't feed alfalfa hay however, as it is way too high in digestible energy for donkeys, and they will rapidly get obese, which is hard to fix after it happens.
Hi! I have a 17 year old part Poitu donkey. She has PPID but my question is in regards to my recent learning of potential congenitive issues in spine and hips that can occur with this breed. She has definitely lost muscle mass in this locations and I’m wondering if there is a supplement/treatment that you know of for support? I measure her hay and mainly feed straw, so I believe both her diet and PPID are controlled right now. Thank you for any insight in advance!
Yes your Poitu donkey could have a congenital hip problem causing muscle atrophy over her back and hips. However, more likely this is a result of the PPID, as animals with this endocrine problem tend to redistribute fat to their lower abdomen and lose subcutaneous fat on their backs, along with muscle. They do this irrespective of treatment which is mostly directed at preventing the most serious consequence of the disease, which is laminitis. It is really important that her teeth are in good shape too, as that will effect her ability to digest important nutrients. You could increase her protein intake by adding a small amount of equine senior to her diet. In addition, she should be getting a trace mineral supplement. Just a mineral block is not adequate in most cases. We use California Trace, but there are many on the market that are about the same thing.
I HAVE A 24 YR OLD MINI WITH CUSHINGS. HE GETS .05 PERGOLOIDE DAILY. 1 FLAKE OF HAY AND 1.5 LBS TRIPLE CROWN SENIOR FEED BECAUSE HE LOSS MUSCLE MASS IN HIND END THIS FALL. WHAT CAN I DO TO IMPROVE HIS CONDITION?
The body form changes that you describe are typical for animals with Pituitary Adenomas (sometimes caused Cushing's disease in horses and donkeys). It is not clear from you question what type of hay you are feeding and how much, by weight. It would also be useful to know the condition of your donkey's teeth, as that can have a significant effect on an animal's ability to digest feed, especially roughage. Having a skilled dentist or a veterinarian examine his mouth would be a good idea. Donkeys with Cushing's are prone to dental problems and their teeth should be examined regularly. If the loss of mass over the hind quarters is muscle, some exercise would be very likely help, too.
We just saved a donkey that was starved and didn't have water for 4 days at a sale barn I have no experience in taking care of donkeys or horses that are this weak she isn't standing but she's trying to she's shaking her head back and fourth I've only had experience with cows and calves can I please get some help so we can keep her alive
I have attached a brief paper on refeeding starved or malnourished donkeys. As this states, the recommendations are based on what has worked in horses, simply because the research has not been done in donkeys. They make a good point in making sure that you have a veterinary examination, to be sure that there are no sever dental problems and, in this donkey's case, to insure that there are not musculoskeletal or neurologic problems that are keeping the donkey from standing. A blood test for triglycerides and liver enzymes would also be a good idea, because if these are high the donkey may need IV Dextrose to avoid life threatening hyperlipemia. As far as the actual feeding goes:
Clean water should be always available and if it is very cold where you are it should be slightly warmed. Trough heaters are available in cold climates.
Feed a soft, highly nutritious pelleted or chopped feed. This can be soaked in warm water to make it easier for an animal with oral problems to eat. This should be fed at 75% of what the feed sack recommends initially, gradually building to 100% over a week. The feedings should be divided into 5 or 6 feedings per day (every 4 hours or so). We have had very good results with Purina Equine Senior. The brand names used in this article are from the UK, and won't be familiar to your feed store.
Do not use very high molasses or straight grain feeds. They are too high in soluble carbohydrates and can cause digestive problems. We have used cooked oatmeal in 1 cup quantities for animals that are not eating anything at all.
Make good quality grass hay readily available at all times. Do not use alfalfa, except in small quantities. There is sufficient protein in the concentrated feed mentioned above.
Make sure that a recumbent animal is bedded in soft, dry bedding, and that if this donkey is not standing, that you move it from one side to the other to avoid the development of sores.
Gradually increase the feed intake, and start switching to primarily hay as the donkey starts gaining strength.
From the start a trace mineral supplement and salt should be available. There is a lot of misinformation around about feeding only white salt. This is none sense and having a mineral supplemented salt is fine. We use California Trace, but there are a variety of mineral supplements available that work just fine. If the hay and pellets used are of good quality, vitamin supplements are no necessary and don't give vitamin shots.
If you need to help this donkey to stand, use the Rescue Loop System. https://loopsrescue.com
Loops Rescue System
Large Animal Sedation & Anesthesia EMERGENCY FIELD GUIDE
I have a mini donkey that has cushings. He will not eat any treats, grain, etc other than hay. I cannot get him to eat the prascend and trying to find research with donkeys about Cabergoline injectable.
The effects of vaccines are not dose related in the way that drugs like antibiotics or tranquilizers are. So, you need to expose the immune system to a certain level of foreign material (the stuff in the vaccine that stimulates an immune response and is called an "antigen"). Regardless of the size of the animal their immune system is going to need the same amount of antigen exposure to trigger a response and develop immunity. While splitting vaccines may work, you run the risk of not properly immunizing your minis to deadly diseases like tetanus and encephalitis in doing this. For this reason full amount of vaccines should always be used.
I own a donkey who is a standard. About 500 pounds. He has cushings and takes 1/2 pill of prascend daily. He Is on a complete dry lot. He has a tumor in his neck that doesn’t allow him to eat hay. So he has access to safe starch by triple grown daily. He roughly gets 2-3 pounds of that throughout the day with a pound of grain. His body score is a 5 til you get to his neck. That is starting to get fat and roll a little. I don’t want to not give access to food all day. But don’t want to make him more fat. What are your ideas in balancing his weight?
Some increase in neck crest fat is common in donkeys that have a Body Condition Score at or just above ideal weight, regardless of the scale that you are using. Donkeys store fat in this location preferentially and, great savers that they are, will enlarge their crests at the slightest opportunity. Having a Pituitary Adenoma ( referred to as "Cushing's Disease" in equids) makes this more likely as the Pergolide (Prascend) only helps with symptoms, but does not cure the disease. It will be difficult to keep him happy if he cannot eat any roughage, and it would be interesting to know what kind of tumor is preventing him from eating hay. This is because the simplest thing would be to dilute his diet with long stem straw. However, if the tumor cannot be treated this may not be an option. The grain will significantly contribute to his weight gain and unless donkeys are debilitated or lactating, we do not recommend feeding grain at all. Chopped roughage or high fiber pellets, soaked to make them easy to swallow, might be a solution. You can add Psyllium (about 1/3 cup daily) to "lubricate" swallowing and digestive passage in animals that cannot eat hay for some reason. Adding a mineral supplement, like California Trace, to the diet would balance all trace mineral requirements. Finally , for donkeys that get bored because their diet is consumed too fast, environmental enrichment by spreading out feeding stations that they have to travel to one after the other or just taking them for hikes really helps. The extra exercise would also help keep him from getting fat.
What is the safe amount of zinc for an aged miniature donkey on supplements for chronic laminitis & arthritis (Remission; LaminaSaver; ComfortQuik c Hemp)?
Zinc taken orally has a very low toxicity for all species. Unfortunately, the research to establish a "toxic dose" for donkeys has not been done. The main concerns excess Zinc in the diet are that, because it is a metallic mineral, like Copper, Iron, Manganese, and Cadmium, it can interfere with the essential bone growth trace mineral Copper and also Iron, which has a large number of functions in the body. We only cases where this caused a problem were in young, growing horses. So, in an old miniature donkey Zinc excess causing a Copper deficiency would be really unlikely. Actually, excess Iron in soils, and the forage plants that grow from them, are more likely to cause Zinc deficiency. This is why supplements, like California Trace, claim that their Zinc containing product is necessary to overcome the high Iron levels in many horse and donkey feeds. Further, the USDA regulates the amount of minerals that can be in a supplement. Commonly used ones, such as those you mentioned would have safe, often times low, levels of these trace minerals. I would not worry about them for your donkey.
About one year ago, I adopted a morbidly obese mini donkey from a local equine rescue here in Washington state. "Martha" has significant fat deposits on her crest and back causing me to be concerned about her overall health. One of my main goals has been to get "Martha" to a normal weight by starting her on a diet of low sugar orchard grass hay (we preform hay analysis) and free choice barley straw. She also gets horse guard minerals mixed with a small amount of beet pulp and flax meal, yeast extract and chia seeds (once per day). Martha has been on this feed regimen for over a year and has not lost any discernable weight . Up until very recently, I treated her with oral Thyro-L at the advice of my vet. Due to lack of effectiveness, I d/c Thyro-L.
One of my ponies suffers from insulin resistance and was grossly overweight when I adopted him. I treated him with injectable Levothyroxine once per month resulting in normalization of insulin levels as well as weight. Based on the success that I observed in my pony, I was wondering if injectable Levothyroxine might be suitable for Martha as well. However, I was unable to find any information on the effect of this medication in donkeys. The manufacturer of the medication (Kentucky Equine Research) was also unable to provide any guidance. My equine vet is also unsure of how to treat Martha. Would you be able to share your insight on the appropriate nutrition for an overweight donkey and perhaps your thoughts on the safety of using the injectable Levothyroxine prep?
Thank you so very much in advance.
with an obese mini you are indeed dealing with a difficult problem. So I consulted with the most direct and practical donkey manager that I know, my wife, Cindy Davis RVT. She is laser focused on good donkey nutrition and here is what she said:
My name is Cindy Davis. I am Eric Davis' wife and the person here who is in charge of our feeding program. We do not have a huge herd, but have cared for as many as 26 donkeys at a time and have treated no fewer than 13 (again not a huge number but enough to form an opinion) obese donkeys, 6 of whom were morbidly obese. I have both questions and information that I would like to ask you/share with you.
Firstly, I have used Thyro L quite successfully in 3 donkeys. These were the last three donkeys that I treated and I would not hesitate to use it again as I do believe that it works. I think your problem is related to the volume of feed your animal is getting.
Secondly, I am curious as to how much the hay you are feeding this donkey weighs? You will need a good scale to determine this, and frankly, you can not diet a donkey, particularly a mini donkey, without carefully weighing out their feed. I use a Salter model 235 6M (we weigh all of the hay we feed to the donkeys, ALL OF IT, three meals a day for 16 donkeys and a mini mule). I had tried several fishing scales but they broke frequently and were simply not accurate enough. The Salter is a workhorse, is well made and most importantly accurate!
Thirdly, you need to know what your donkey should weigh. Since we do not know your donkey I can guess, or you can consult your veterinarian. For the overweight miniature donkeys I have treated (total of 5) I would use 300 to 350 pounds as my ideal body weight (again, check with your veterinarian).
An equid on a diet should be fed 1% of its ideal body weight in dry matter (many donkeys meet their caloric needs, even when only eating straw, at 1.3% of their body weight, so you have no chance changing a morbidly obese mini donkey's weight if you feed more than 1%). This means that a donkey on a weight loss regimen of this ideal weight should get a total of 3 to 3.5 pounds of total feed per day.
DO NOT CHANGE THE DIET OVERNIGHT. I would reduce the amount of hay in a way that it took two weeks to get to a reasonable amount. I currently feed two miniature donkeys. They each receive roughly a half a pound of hay a day. The hay is shaken to remove as much higher calorie seed as we can. Even at this level with wheat straw in their diet they are slightly heavy.
None of the obese donkeys I have fed have been candidates for free feeding straw. There is always some grain in the straw and the more of it you feed, the greater the chance that they are simply foraging for the grain and other higher calorie tidbits they can find in it and leaving the stems behind. Even the straw we feed to our main herd is titrated. We feed them just enough that there is a light layer of straw on the ground below the feeders to minimize waste. I currently feed two miniature donkeys.
My recommendation for helping your donkey become its best self would be to (assuming that she should weigh 350 pounds again, consult your vet). Give this plan at least two months before you decide if it is working.
Transition to this diet over a two week period.
1. Put Martha back on Thyro-L
2. Weigh everything!
3. Feed 1/2 pound of hay a day mixed into 3 pounds of straw a day, fed in a medium hole (1 1/4 inch holes) hay net to slow eating down.
4. Discontinue feeding beet pulp.
5. Discontinue yeast extract. Donkeys have very low dietary protein needs and these can be met by straw, even if they are not getting any hay.
5. Feed a one ounce scoop of either flax meal or chia seeds but discontinue one or the other. (if no weight loss is seen after two months, discontinue the flax meal and see if that makes a difference).
6. Shake the straw to remove any grain that might be present.
7. If Martha has access to any grass, discontinue it immediately.
Reevaluate diet in two months. Please let us know how this goes,
The only things that I would add are:
There is no advantage to giving thyroid hormones by injection and you run the risk of negatively effecting the normal diurnal hormone rhythms. There is no research on the safety of injectable Thryo L in donkeys.
Since fat deposition is affected by "calories in vs. calories out", putting your mini on an exercise regimen would also help. This can be done in a variety of ways including walking or hiking with your donkey, or making an exercise trail that encourages them to walk some distance for food and water.
i have been feeding my 8 donkeys tifton hay and am considering changing to jigg hay which hay would be best for them?
While it is difficult to make recommendations on the nutritive value of a hay without having specific data on the forage being considered. Besides things like plant species, there are also considerations such as the maturity of the crop when harvested (more mature means higher fiber and less digestible calories), the way it is dried (incomplete curing and raking can result in the growth of molds that decrease nutrition), and the type of packaging (large round bales tend to have lower quality than square bales). However, Bermuda (Tifton) and Jigg hays are pretty similar, with Jigg having somewhat more digestible energy and protein. Paradoxically, what you are looking for is LOWER digestibility and LOWER protein when feeding donkeys because they are SO MUCH more efficient in digesting forage than horses. As a result, many hays that are grown and marketed for horses cause donkeys to get fat and develop metabolic problems. At least in California, where weather conditions and land prices tend to result in really high quality hay production, we find that it is difficult to keep donkeys in good body condition without feeding at least half of the forage ration in wheat straw. We would use barley straw if we could get it, but is not commonly grown in this state. This is NOT Wheat or Barley HAY. You don't want that, because the grain in it is too rich for donkeys. You want the stuff that they use for bedding horses. Basically, regardless of which hay you choose, look for forage that is well cured and contains no mold or dust, and is high in fiber and low in digestible energy. Tifton or Jigg could fulfill either these requirements, but look for higher fiber and lower protein.
My friend Charlotte Norris suggested I ask you about feeding corn stalk bales to my donkey. He has chronic laminitis but that is controllable if I'm careful. Good hay for him is hard to find this year and would like to use corn stalks as a fill in. Thanks and hope to hear back from you. jno
In Mexico donkeys live on dried corn stalks. The only problem is how much actual corn grain is left in the bales with the dried stalks. It would be necessary to scrupulously pick out any before feeding it to your donkey, especially if he is foundered. Also, although corn stalks generally have lower digestible energy than most hays, they do have more calories than straw. So , you would have to remain vigilant that you do not overfeed your donkey, again, because of the chronic laminitis. Another option would be to feed wheat straw, which is available in most parts of the country and usually half the price of hay. You want the long stem stuff that they use for bedding for horses. Donkeys do well on a diet of straw, with a little hay, and appropriate trace mineral supplements. I do not know what part of the country your are in, but if baled corn stalks are available, straw probably is too. Barley straw is the best, but rare in most areas. So we have used wheat straw for years and it works fine.
Hi! I recently came into ownership of two, four-year-old donkeys. They are out to pasture 24/7. Now being winter all the grasses are dormant. But when they first arrived the grass was too lush for them and they begin gaining weight. Now I'm learning that I need to limit the amount of protein and sugar that they take in. They are currently with two cows who are receiving grain. They do not have access to the grain, nor do they get any. But I have noticed them eating the cow poop that has grain in it! Could this contribute to them continuing to gain weight?
Thanks for your help!
I am not surprised that your donkeys are eating grain out of cow feces. They have an innate drive to find and utilize every scrap of food that they possibly can AND use it extremely efficiently. This comes from their evolving in an extremely arid desert environment. The entire history of the human-donkey relationship is one of their serving us in the most difficult of environments. So, when they are exposed to actual pasture, even if the grass is dormant, they gain weight, sometimes dangerously, with feed on which cattle and horses could not survive. As a result, they really should not be pastured in North America with production animals like cattle and sheep. Livestock management is designed for growth and production. Under this level of calorie and protein intake, donkeys are going to gain weight and it will be hard to get them to a healthy body condition and prevent laminitis. The exception would be animals grazing in the desert southwest. So, if at all possible, don't pasture your donkeys with cattle, especially ones who are eating any grain.
I have a Jenny whom I feel is under weight. I can very very easily feel every rib and her spine. She has a 1 year old jack whom I catch nursing still, she is starting to push him away. However, I’ve noticed he’s the same way. I’ve dewormed them multiple times, not had teeth done yet planning on this fall when husbands available to help. I’ve started feeding her a 1/2 scoop of Poulin Fibermax a day plus 1 squirt of GUTX. Nothing seems to be changing. I’m at a lose. Not sure if I should call vet or if I’m overreacting. I can email pictures.
I suppose that Purina Equine Senior does have some sugar in it, as most pellets are held together by molasses. However, if judicitiously fed this should not be a problem. We are feeding in cup quantities, mixed with flax seed, and some vegetables (carrots, chard, and cucumber). Adding corn oil would add digestible calories, and can be an effective way of improving weight gain. If you wanted to do that I would start by adding very small amounts (teaspoon) to a mash containing the above. You might build up to tablespoon over a few weeks. Herbivore digestive tracks can handle fats (lipids in the oil) but their microbiome needs time to acclimate.
I live in dairy cow country where it is hard to find grass hay. My donkeys are on dry lot: they get only hay, no grain or supplements. I had to switch to a new hay producer this year and the hay has some alfalfa in it -- perhaps 20 percent. It's mature alfalfa with few leaves and mostly stems, but it is alfalfa. I finally found a second producer and was able to get a limited supply of full Timothy grass hay. I am confused: some sources say the Timothy will have a higher sugar content than the over mature alfalfa and grass mix. True? Secondly, is the concern with high sugar foragers that the donkeys will get too many calories and therefore get fat, or is it that even small amounts/controlled diet will do harm? I am retired and can feed small amounts multiple times a day so the total calorie intake can be controlled without them getting bored and going too long without food. But I am confused about this type of alfalfa mix vs Timothy, and concerned about the potential danger of feeding this combination. Thank you
I can see that this would be confusing. Thank you for being concerned and addressing this. Really, the best way to approach buying hay is to have it analyzed. Most producers that sell to dairies already do this. I have attached a short article that explains a lot of this and also has some recommendations on the level things like "crude protein" and various measurements of fiber that can be used to differentiate hays. The problem is that hay digestibility is dependent on the way it was grown, how it was harvested, and the stage of growth at which it was harvested. So you might get hay that has both grass and alfalfa in it, that has a similar sugar content than Timothy or other grass hay. I would say that having any alfalfa in the hay is undesirable, not because it is toxic in some way , but because it provides too many digestible calories, regardless of the growth stage. As you will see in this article, it also provides donkeys with more protein than it does for horses. That is because a lot of the "crude protein" in alfalfa is "non-protein nitrogen" which donkeys and ruminants can utilize, and horses cannot. Unless the donkey has a high protein requirement (a nursing jennet or a donkey that is working very hard) excess protein goes into energy metabolism, providing calories. I hope that isn't too confusing, and I can explain in more detail, but it will take a longer post. As mentioned in the article, a good solution is straw, based on a lot of research. I am in California, and barley straw is vary hard to come by. So we use wheat straw which works fine. It is important to differentiate good "bedding straw" from "feed straw". The former is used for bedding stalls, usually at the racetrack, and has long stems and no grain, giving a donkey something to munch while not providing a lot of calories. The latter is used as a cheap source of forage for non-producing cows and has too many digestible nutrients for donkeys. We feed mostly straw with about 1.5% of body weight( that's 3lbs on a 250 lb. small standard donkey) of pasture or orchard grass hay divided into three feedings through the day. Occasionally, one will come along that needs a little more hay, and we separate them out and feed them a little more, monitoring their weight with a weight tape. We do feed a trace mineral supplement, which we mix with a handful of shredded carrots and a tablespoon of Equine Senior make it palatable. This also makes a nice treat for which the donkeys line up in the evening. I hope this is helpful. Basically, you need some straw.
Following up on your extremely helpful response in regards to me replacing 50% of the Bermuda hay for my two standard Jennies with wheat straw. The first few bales were the long stemmed 'bedding' type wheat straw which they begrudgingly ate about 1/2 to 2/3 of what was given to them for each serving. The most recent bale of straw has much finer, shorter and thinner stems, which I believe is what you warned me about and by the looks of how they started eating it enthusiastically makes me think it is not as appropriate as the previous bales. My question is this, if the feed stores at this time only have the more 'palatable' short stemmed flakey straw, is that still better than giving 100% Bermuda?! (Southern California Resident) Many thanks in advance!
Yes, they aren't thrilled about eating straw until they get used to it. One thing that you can do with the short straw is to thresh it. Basically this involves running it through a screen (I made one out of expanded metal with 1"x1/2" holes). You make a box with the screen on the bottom and scrub the straw on screen, then feed what doesn't go through the screen. This gets any of the grain out of the straw, which is what you are most worried about. It is actually how a grain combine works, but there you want the stuff that goes through. We've used this and have been able to use the shorter stemmed straw without problems.
We bought a small horse property 2 years ago and it came with 2 donkeys who would not get on their horse trailer. We have been trying to limit their hay intake with bags, and muzzles when in pasture. They are still both fatter than they should be. We keep reading about Barley straw, but can't find any here in Minnesota. I did find Rye straw and canary grass. There is almost no information anywhere about either of these, but we were told by the hay people that these are good for donkeys. Are they good feed for donkeys?
I did find some Oat straw for sale, but it is about 100 miles away.
I also don't know about Canary Grass hay as a feed for donkeys, but would be concerned about potential toxicities as a result of concentration of Selenium and Tryptamine alkaloids in the plants under certain conditions. Canary grass is usually regarded as a weed. Oat or rye straw would provide more digestible calories than barley straw, but , as long as the plant has been combined and the grains removed they could be a solution. The simplest would be to just use wheat straw, which is commonly used as horse or livestock bedding. That is what we feed and makes up most of our donkey's diets. We also feed a trace mineral supplement, which we mix with a handful of shredded carrots and a teaspoon of flax. We do mix pasture grass or teff hay with the straw, but weigh it when feeding donkeys in need of weight loss. A standard donkey gets 1 lb. 4 oz. of hay and about 2 lbs. of wheat straw. With exercise and proper hoof care, donkeys will lose weight on this feed. You are always going to have trouble, as far north as Minnesota, keeping donkeys at an ideal body condition.
Hi there, I have four donkeys ranging in age from 12 to 26, and they are all suffering to varying degrees from an undiagnosed ailment that first presents as skin irritation on all of them, and in two of them this year has become much more complicated. We live in the wet Willamette Valley of Oregon. I first noticed this several years ago as small round scabby lesions on the chest of the youngest donkey (10 then) and then noticed they all had some form of these skin irritations. They did not seem too bothersome or serious, and the vet checked them and was not concerned nor able to diagnose them (he thought it might be biting insects, but the irritation is year-round.) They also have a strange hard ridging of the skin where they groom each other on their necks and shoulders, which has been going on for a couple of years. Vet also does not know what causes that. This early spring, the 14-yr-old gelding developed large hairless patches, with itchiness and a period of acute lameness. Skin scraping showed no mites; some lice were found early and treated (with bathing and essential oils in a regime recommended by the result of a recent study), but the symptoms continued. The gelding’s acute symptoms have receded, though he still shows small scabby and/or hairless patches around his body (now mostly face and muzzle and chest). But the 26-yr-old jenny is suffering acute symptoms, with ventral edema (near a hairless patch on her belly) and over the past few days, extreme weakness and instability. Bloodwork was done on the gelding when he was ill (anemic and slightly high insulin) but was not conclusive otherwise. We haven’t done bloodwork on the jenny yet. So far the large animal vet we’ve been working with has not been able to establish any clear diagnosis. With these acute symptoms in the older (beloved) donkey, I am feeling desperate to know what is going on and how to treat it. She is eating and drinking and digesting as normal, as did the younger donkey when he was having acute symptoms. I would be so grateful for any thoughts, ideas, directions for further research. Thank you for your work and consideration.
This does sound like a complex case, and there may be more than one process involved. It would be helpful to know what the donkeys are eating and their body condition. Donkeys living in areas of higher rainfall, such as the Willamette valley, will be exposed to levels of moisture that their skin and hooves are not adapted to, and, if on pasture, are likely to be overweight. It is not that donkeys can't live there, but it does take extra effort to keep them healthy. The history and pattern of hair loss does suggest several possible causes, which you are absolutely right in wanting to get a complete diagnosis. First, I would be sure that the lice problem has been solved. Damalinia equi, the common louse of donkeys are very small and one needs to carefully comb through the hair on the sides of the neck and in the mane to find them. They can also be resistant to treatment. We have used Neem oil, Ivermectin, Sevin Powder, and Equispot in rotation, as one treatment is not always successful. Second, a bacterium Dermatophilus, can cause crusty skin lesions, which can become itchy. Skin scrapings will pick up mites, which are very rare in donkeys in the USA, but you would need to do a test on the scabs from the scrapings, called a "gram stain" to detect Dermatophilus. A skin biopsy, where not only the surface, but deeper layers, are accessed. This can be looked at after staining and fixing in a histopathology laboratory, and , if taken fresh, can also be cultured to see if bacteria grow. Dermatophilus will respond to antiseptic baths, including vinegar, and also antibiotics like penicillin. Since this seems a long standing and frustrating problem it would be a good idea to invest in a biopsy. The veterinarian should sample several different lesions on an affected animal and not have the skin scrubbed ahead of time. The crusts on the skin may be important to the diagnosis. The little hole left in the skin from a biopsy can be cleaned up after the biopsy is removed. Sometimes this procedure requires a suture to close the hole, sometimes not. Donkeys don't mind it because the veterinarian puts lidocaine in the skin to be biopsied. Another reason to do a biopsy for both histopathology and culture, is that this may be an allergy that is driven by one of a host of things. You mentioned insects, but molds, plant mites (which don't infect the donkey skin) but can be a cause of allergy. A biopsy would show the pathologist if the lesions were primary inflammation, allergy, or the result of a fungus or bacteria. The donkey that has the ventral edema and weakness, could have developed a secondary infection. One possible culprit is Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, which can get into hairless or ulcerated skin patches, usually on the underside of donkeys and horses. There are other organisms like Actinobacillus that can do the same thing. Identifying the cause is important, but the results will dictate what control measures work best. Finally, I need to point out that donkeys seem to be more prone to skin problems of all kinds, than horses. Because they often start as allergies or something as common as Dermatophilus, they don't get recognized and diagnosed until other bacteria or a more severe inflammatory process takes over, causing ulcerations and hair loss over a large area. This could result if, at sometime in the past, fly bites triggered inflammation, which then became secondarily infected, causing a circular feedback loop of between hypersensitivity and microbes that kept the condition going , even though fly season was over. I would start with very carefully ensuring that there are no lice, and then go to a biopsy, on two or 3 of the donkeys, recognizing that diagnosis and finding a successful treatment may still be a long road. I am glad to consult with you or your veterinarian on this situation. Also, we have a pathologist here at UCD, who specializes in horse, donkey, and mule skin problems, and I would be glad to ask her or send her biopsy samples if that is necessary.
Hi - I live in Southern California and have my two standard Jennies on a 1acre dry lot with lots of hills, they have a ton of space to roam. They get Bermuda, cal trace and a salt block. I am strict about weighing the hay so not to overfeed (right now each gets around 7.5-8.5lbs each divided into two feedings in slow feed nets) yet I have still managed to let one of my donkeys start to build a cresty neck and small fat deposits on her hind end. My local feed store has wheat straw , wondering if I can cut back on the Bermuda and introduce straw so they can munch more throughout the day? (Despite have 1 inch slow feed nets they get through the Bermuda quickly) Any advice to try and get rid of the fat deposits greatly appreciated!
You should absolutely get some wheat straw and use that to give them more to chew on. Further, I am very impressed by your attentiveness to weighing your donkey's diets and assessing their body condition. I SO wish more donkey owners would do this...THANK YOU! Yes, donkeys are just way too efficient for most feed stuffs available in this country. This is especially true in California/Nevada/Arizona area, which has an ideal hay growing climate, and very skilled forage farmers, who produce an excellent product. In much of the world, donkeys live on crop waste, that we would consider trash, and they do a lot of hard work, while retaining an excellent body condition. Straw is the best solution. It is important to examine the straw to be sure there has not been a lot of grain left in it, and that it is 'long stem' and designed for bedding. I say this because we recently had a misunderstanding with the guy that we buy our hay and straw from. The straw he delivered was generally sold for feeding cows, and the stems were short and more digestible than what we wanted. To get around this, we have had to "thresh" the straw to get the small particles and remaining grain out. This does work but it is labor intensive. Using good straw you could cut the hay intake in half, depending on your donkey's individual metabolism. Summary: you are on the right track and I wish you good luck with your donkeys.
We have a very sick mini donkey (10 yo neutered male). He stopped braying about 2 weeks ago and stopped eating and drinking 3 days after that. He didn't have a fever. The vet prescribed Karo syrup 3 times a day, but he still wasn't drinking so I took him to the vet clinic, where he has been for 9 days. He gets IV fluids twice a day plus penicillin. He is drinking some, but eating very little. His teeth are OK. There have been no changes in feed/bedding/grazing. He seems alert and is agreeable to walks around the property, but simply will not eat. He was tested for lepto. His blood count is low normal. The vet says he can only have a couple more days of IV fluids. Have you any suggestions?
This is certainly a serious situation. My initial impression is that he may be hyperlipemic, a condition that is common in miniature donkeys. While they apparently did a complete blood count (CBC) on him at the veterinary hospital, it would be more important to know his liver enzyme values and the triglyceride level in his blood. Chemistry panels made for horses often do not test for triglycerides, which are very important in donkeys. I do not know what part of the country you are in or anything about his diet previous to getting sick. Is there a problem with selenium deficiency in the area? The veterinarian or county agricultural office should know this. I am sorry to not be more help.
I have recently acquired a 3.5 year old mammoth gelding. When I got him he had a very boney top line with a ridge towards the back and sharp croup, as well as visible ribs and hip bones but he wasn't drawn up. I was told he is at a lanky stage and his top line and hips will fill in as he matures. The previous owner had him on poor burmuda pasture and fed some alfalfa/grass hay mix and a little concentrated feed of some kind. She had his teeth worked on. I have been feeding him 4 pounds of Lakin Lite burmuda/ alfalfa pellets daily and about 8 lb triticali and burmuda hay, plus some shredded beet pulp and about 1.5 cups of oats. Recently he has been out on mesquite for a few hours a day. Pods are small and green but I will soon have to keep the donkeys out of that area as the pods ripen. He play fights with my other donkey. They are quite rowdy and he lopes and trots with no problem. His top line is looking better and I can still see ribs but they have filled in quite a bit. Should I cut out the oats? What about beet pulp? The local donkey rescue recommended Lakin Lite. He lays down more than my other donkey but does not seem to be uncomfortable.
Thank you for your detailed description of your donkey's diet. That is really helpful. I would not worry about the oats that much, as that is a pretty small quantity. However, Triticale, which is a hybrid of wheat and rye may be adding a significant amount of calories to his diet, depending on how much grain is in the hay. If he has gained some weight, but just has some ribs showing, I would back off on his caloric intake a bit. Maybe just Bermuda or other non-grain grass hay, and rely on the alfalfa/grass pellets to proved adequate protein for development. I would keep an eye on his joints, because mammoths can have problems with bone formation if they are well fed and grow too fast, with some becoming quite lame. If you see anything that looks like joint swelling or soreness, having his knees or other joints that appear enlarged radiographed (x-rayed) would be a good idea.
Hi! I have two mini donkeys about 4 yr old. This year when we weaned them off hay & turned them to grass one of my girls has struggled with diarrhea. Any suggestions? Healthy as far as we know otherwise.
You do need to be a little careful with donkeys, especially minis on any kind of pasture. If it is improved and irrigated, most pastures tend to be too high in soluble carbohydrates (sugars and starches) for donkeys. They tend to get fat rapidly, and even founder. This could be causing the diarrhea along with the increased water intake that results from pasture consumption. Additionally, spring exposure to pasture will cause encysted cyathostomes (common intestinal worm called "small stongyles") to break out of the cysts in the gut mucosa, where they have been living over the winter. This can also cause diarrhea. So it may be worthwhile considering your parasite control, measures and having a fecal egg count done. Actually, donkeys do better on pastures that are either dry and not growing, or contain low digestible energy grasses. We would also recommend that minis be provided with straw (not hay) while they are on pasture, to give them something "low calorie" to fill up on, and prevent over consumption of the excessively nutritions pasture plants.
I have a late 20s standard donkey who has become dull, and lethargic. Vetted twice and bloodwork shows elevated lymphocytes and low red cells. He will eat but is not exhuberant about it - has access to limited time on pasture and grass hay. He has a red toxic line on his gum. He has had 2 injections of Excede antibiotic, receiving ulcergard daily and red cell. What else can I do?
There are a number of things that I would look at in an older, lethargic donkey. First, I would repeat the blood count, as those are just a snapshot of the cell types and numbers present in the moment the sample was taken. If he has a "toxic line" his neutrophil count could be going down, which happens with endotoxemia. How elevated are the lymphoctyes? That could mean several things, depending on the actual levels. Then, were clinical chemistries measured? Knowing the blood protein, fibrinogen, triglyceride, and serum enzyme levels would be really important. In an older donkey I would definitely want to know the condition of his teeth. While parasites are less likely, doing a fecal for worm ova would be a good idea, especially if he is anemic. To get him more nutrition, you might consider feeding him Equine Senior pellets made into a soften mash by mixing with warm water and adding some shredded carrots.
Is Rice straw an acceptable substitute for regular straw as a roughage to munch on for donkeys? They are both young with good teeth.
We have not fed rice straw to donkeys and most places in the world where rice is grown is not good donkey habitat. So there is not a lot of experience using rice straw as donkey roughage. However, the stem and leaves of the rice plant is very high in undigestible silica. The small amount of literature that I could find on rice straw for donkeys, says that they can eat it, if they are given other hay to increase the nutritive value of the whole diet. Also, rice straw, being extremely course and hard, would be less appetizing even for donkeys with good teeth. If provided to give the donkeys something to do it is probably okay. On the other hand, if it is a major part of the diet, there may be problems with malnutrition or intestinal impactions, because of rice straw's low digestibility.
Hello I have a 1.5 year old mammoth Jenny. She has never really ate much in the last year I’ve had her in general. Lately I’ve been concerned because she seems underweight. Her ribs are visible and she has poor muscle covering over her hindquarters. She currently is on coastal hay in the pasture and is offered it as a flake (but she will never eat a whole flake). Also has access to mineral and salt blocks. How should I be feeding her?
Some mammoths can be pretty "angular" which means their pelvic bones appear prominent, with less subcutaneous fat over the rump. Some appearance of ribs may also be normal. However, if she is not eating well and looks really thing, there are some things that should be looked at. I would start with her teeth. They should be thoroughly examined by a veterinarian or equine dentist with experience with donkeys. It would also be worthwhile to do a blood chemistry panel and complete blood cell count to ensure that there is no evidence of kidney or liver problems, or a possible chronic infection. If all this is normal, she may just need a slightly higher calorie and tastier diet. Assuming the hay is of good quality, adding a supplement feed would cause her to gain weight. We have used Purina Equine Senior at half the amount recommended for a horse of the same size. Adding some shredded carrots will also make it tastier. Finally, I would get a weight tape and check the weight gain every couple of weeks. The important thing is to not go "overboard" and cause your donkey to become too fat.
I read that Oak trees (Acorns and Leaves) are poisonous to donkeys. Is it safe to build a pasture with an Oak tree in it? I would think not but I have asked on a donkey group and most people thought it would be fine. Thank you for answering my question.
Parts of oak trees, primarily the buds that grow from acorns, can be toxic to herbivores of all species. They contain tannins, which if eaten in large quantity, can damage the kidneys. The green husks of acorns have also been reported to be toxic. However, the general recommendation is to not remove oak trees from pastures, but to trim the branches above the level that donkeys or horses can reach. Also, if acorns do sprout the buds should be weeded out of the pasture, if there is nothing else for the animals to eat. They generally do not like the taste of oak leaves, if there is alternative forage. The is one additional concern with donkeys: since acorns are basically seeds they are high in starches and other soluble carbohydrates, just like any grain. Since donkeys do not tolerate high digestible calorie diets well, excessive consumption of acorns could lead to obesity and laminitis. So having an oak tree in the pasture is not a huge problem, given that you make some allowances for the above, such as removing oak buds when they sprout, trimming low branches, and raking up the acorns in really heavy acorn production years. Oaks do respond to changes in temperature and moisture by producing more or less acorns every year.
I have a wild female donkey that looks to have an inflamed vulva area. I have not been able to catch her. It looks very red but I cannot tell if it is blood. She is with an intact male. I thought it could be her combing into heat. I have not read where this was normal. Since she is wild I have not had a vet out to check her. Thought?
It is most likely that the red that you are seeing is blood, as there is not another red discharge that a donkey might have. Also, with an intact male present the blood is probably coming from trauma to the vagina or vulva, which could be the result of breeding or bighting. Donkeys do not menstruate like humans or dogs, during the estrus cycle. If the jenny is otherwise doing okay, the trauma should heal without treatment. However, very occasionally, a serious vaginal or rectal tear can occur during breeding, and this situation points up two things that you need to address pretty much immediately. The jenny needs to get some training so that she can be caught, led, groomed, tied, and have her hooves trimmed. Otherwise, when you do have a more serious health situation, you will not be able to examine her and a veterinarian will not be able to treat her. Since she will likely live to 30 years old (some donkeys live to 40 or more) it is likely that this will be required at some point. This is crucial to your jenny's well being and an obligation that any owner takes on when the life and welfare of an animal is placed in their hands. Then, that jack (intact male) needs to be castrated. Otherwise, this will continue to happen and you will end up dealing with a jenny who is pregnant and all the complications that go along with that. In our society, intact males end up having a poor quality of life and contribute to the already major overpopulation of unwanted donkeys in the USA.
I guess the good news is that the wildest of donkeys are easy to gentle and train, given a plan and patience, and gelding jacks is a procedure that we do hundreds of times a year with minimal complications. Please start on this right away !
Hi, I have a 32-year-old donkey stallion, he was for 9 months with his previous owner as I did not want to have offspring for a while. My donkey was in excellent condition before, there he lost a lot of weight until the point he could not get up on his own. I took him back to take care of him and try to bring back his condition. The vet visited him already and suggested only to feed him with hay, a bit of pellets and Mainzengerm oil. He also gets carrots. Is there anything else I can do for him? We take him for short walks, give him massages and we keep him standing with some support through ropes. he has no parasits and he has goog teeth. He is getting louder and louder every day :)Thank you!
we use Purina Equine Senior diet, with hay and, yes, carrots for older underweight donkeys. I know you said he has good teeth but at 32 years old his premolars and molars must be very short (sometime called "expired"). This is going to decrease his ability to chew roughage, so going to a pelleted feed, where the particles in the feed are really small. It is a good idea to soak the pellets into a mash with hot water, to make it still easier to digest and avoid pellets getting impacted in her esophagus. A 30 some year old jennet that we have now, who weighs about 300 lbs, gets one coup of the Senior three times a day mixed, mixed with a tablespoon of Psyllium to lubricate her bowl. I don't know how big your jack is but this may give you some idea. However, even very old donkeys rarely lose weight severely unless they are starved, have expired teeth, or have some other health problem. In addition to the suggestions above, I would suggest doing some blood work on your jack to ensure there aren't other problems. A Complete Blood Count (CBC), Fibrinogen, and a "Chemistry Panel" including Triglyceride measurement. I would also repeat the parasite test, because the number of parasite eggs (ova) that a donkey will shed (and can be seen on the test) depends on the time of year. A negative fecal flotation on a single animal may or may not mean that there are no worms. Retesting, especially as the climate turns to spring, is a good idea. I am also assuming that this older jack has no joint, back, or jaw problems. Those could make it hard for him to get around and eat.
I lost a donkey in Aug 2021, her best friend has been acting sad etc. Which I understand, but she is eating the other donkeys poop.I'm worried as I don't want to have anything happen to her. Is there something going on that I should be worried about?
I am sorry for your loss and you are absolutely right, in that, donkeys grieve when they lose a friend. The poop eating is not necessarily a health problem, if your donkeys are on an adequate parasite control program. Donkeys are somewhat more susceptible to Parascaris equorum, a type of equine parasitic worm, than are horses. However, this organism is easily treated by virtually all available de-wormers. The best thing would be for her to develop a "buddy" relationship with another of your donkeys, which may happen in time. Unfortunately, there is no way to make it happen or predict. Another option would be to introduce another donkey of the same size and age to the herd, in hopes that they "pal up". In any event, don't worry about the poop eating (coprophagy). Donkeys will do that but it should not hurt her.
I just recieved a mini donkey that the owners weren't able to care for. Her hooves were way over grown and she is obese. I had a farrier take care of the hooves so she is fine there. My question is: will a grazing muzzle enable her to be on a regular pasture? Will the muzzle significantly reduce her intake of grass? Thank you in advance.
Obese donkeys should not be on grass, grazing muzzle or no. The problem is that in some studies done by Dr. Elizabeth Tadros, that were presented at the Donkey Welfare Symposium a couple of years ago, she demonstrated that donkeys quickly learn to get more and more food through the muzzle. Minis particularly are just have such minimal energy requirements that they will stay obese if they can get to any pasture at all. Unfortunately, you will need to go to a dry lot situation, with frequent feedings of small amounts of hay to make any progress. You will also have to make sure that there is a vitamin/mineral supplement, because your donkey will need those, even if it is eating less. Here is a good basic discussion of feeding an obese donkey for weight loss: https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/sites/uk/files/2019-02/feeding-&-managing-the-overweight-donkey.pdf
FACTSHEET: Owners FACTSHEET Carin o h lde onkey FEEDING & MANAGING THE OVERWEIGHT DONKEY MANAGING WEIGHT LOSS
FACTSHEET Carin o h lde onkey FACTSHEET: Owners FEEDING & MANAGING THE OVERWEIGHT DONKEY Weight loss should be gradual and is achieved by choosing appropriate feeds that are low in energy
This is written in the UK, where it rains all the time and grass is everywhere, and is designed with standard donkeys in mind. One has to be that much more careful with minis. It is a good idea to get a scale and actually weigh the amount that you are feeding. Don't go below 1.75% of body weight (your veterinarian can help you estimate your donkeys weight. If the feet have been attended to, exercise can also help. Go walking or hiking with your donkey at least several times a week. This does sound like a lot of work, but both you and your mini will be happier and healthier for it.
I have two questions.
I have two donkeys that occasionally get the runs. Sometimes their poop is fine and sometimes it is runny. All four donkeys are on the same feed bermuda hay and barley straw, with occasional carrot and pumpkin seeds. All donkeys are around 5 years of age and all are Jennys. Perhaps two of them have worms? I am in the process of getting their pooped check via lab.
We started caring for two Jennys age estimated at 15 to 20. They are very overweight having been fed a diet of Alfalfa and treats. I know it bad to drasticly change their diet, but I would like to get them off Alfalfa on on to bermuda hay and barley straw. We do not feed Alfalfa. Would I have to make Alfalfa available to them in limited quantity for awhile? or would I be ok switching them to different feed? Would like to get them on the same feed as my other donkeys but do not want to do anything too drastic that would cause them harm as they are older and very, very overweight. Could I have it where certain feedings they do not have Alfalfa and slowly remove it or would I have to mix in Alfalfa and have alfalfa be less of the mix overtime?
There are a lot of reasons why donkeys may have soft feces. While parasites are not impossible, they are an unlikely cause of wet stool unless they are really severe. If you are going to test for parasites, be sure and test all the donkeys, as if you have a parasite problem different donkeys can shed parasite ova at different rates. Other possible causes would include sand in their colon (your veterinarian can diagnose this by listening to the bowel with a stethoscope), chewing on leaves or bark in the pasture, or their estrus cycles if they are jennets. Some donkeys just get intermittent soft feces or "cow poop", for no apparent reason and are perfectly healthy.
On the overweight donkeys: feed a handful of alfalfa (literally) twice a day for a week, then once a day for another week, and that should be fine. Do make sure that their teeth are in good shape and the continue to eat the straw and Bermuda. Where you get into trouble is if they are really fat and stop eating, which can lead to hyperlipemia. It might be a good idea to do some blood work on them, with a clinical chemistry that includes a test for Triglycerides, which could warn you ahead of time if hyperlipemia is starting.
My 5 year old Jenny all of a sudden over a couple of months got a fatter crest roll. It came on very quickly. The crest is not broken. I now know it was the high protein/sugar local hay and have changed to a more fitting hay for her. And with my Vet's help we have her on a diet. So my question isn't about diet. My questions are: Is there anything we can do to help reduce the neck roll? Will it reduce in time since it has occured so suddenly or will she have a fat crest forever. Is there any kind of exercise or massage therapy that will help reduce the crest back to normal?
I am glad you have your donkey on a diet. It is really hard to keep donkeys trim and healthy given the hays that are available in this country. It will be difficult to get rid of the neck crest once it has formed, as that is a prime place for donkeys to store energy. However, getting an exercise program going will do the most to reduce its size. Hiking, jogging, or teaching your donkey how to pull a cart are all things that will not only help with the fat deposition, but make you and your donkey happier.
I have 2 donkeys. 1 19 yr old miniature and a 3 week old orphaned standard foal (momma died in my care). We live in Cave Creek, north of Phoenix. We have a lot of coyote activity. I've been stalling both donkeys at night to keep them safe but my older jenny is getting very anxious at night, digging and pacing. Of course the foal does not want to be separated and neither does the jenny, she just wants out. I'm wondering if a calming aid of some kind would be appropriate and if so could you recommend a brand? I've asked but the recommendation has been for hormonal mare type which she is not, she just doesn't want to be stalled. I'm also sensitive that I'm feeding a donkey not a horse so I want to be sure what I'm feeding is appropriate. Thank you for your time.
I would stay away from "calming aids" because: 1) they don't work and it is a waste of time and money and 2) if you go to actual sedatives like benzodiazepines, their long term side effects can be a concern. What I would do would be to do one or several of the following: build a larger, coyote proof pen, where they can be outside and look around but still with protection; adopt a larger neutered jack to put in with the older jenny and the foal, as coyotes would be very unlikely to approach such a "herd"; provide some environmental enrichment such as: hay stuffed balls (use grass hay or straw...NOT alfalfa), plastic or rubber toys, climbable hills or obstacles...all to keep them amused. You are quite right to recognize that donkeys are NOT horses. They will get obese in a fraction of what a horse of the same size would require for sustenance. Keep it to grass hays with slow non-structural carbohydrates and dilute that with straw (the same stuff they use for horse bedding) to decrease the caloric density and give them something to chew on. The foal should be getting some additional protein supplement, as he is growing. You will need to separate him from the jennet while he consumes this. Actually this is a good opportunity to do some training and socialization. Also, it is a really good idea to take both of them on walks or some other kind of controlled exercise. It will allow them to eat more, be healthier, and "see the country" which donkeys seem to enjoy.
One of my donkeys has a swollen crest. Is this a problsm?
Donkeys store fat above the nuchal ligament in the crest of their necks. That is the most likely cause of a swollen crest. If this is the case that donkey needs to eat less calories and get more exercise because it is getting obese. Once serious excess fat deposits set in, they are very hard to get rid of. Donkeys do fine on straw (just plain old wheat or barley straw) and a little grass hay , with maybe a mineral supplement. No alfalfa, no pellets, no grain! Also, since donkeys are individuals, just like people, one donkey in a herd will tend to accumulate more fat than another. However, both could benefit from a bit of dieting.
We bought a pair of 6 year old Jenny's, the past owner adopted them from the BLM here in Utah 3 years ago and didn't have time for them. They have been pastured all summer and before that were being fed pure alfalfa and in the winter a 50/50 mix of alfalfa and grass. After much research I've learned that alfalfa is not good for them. So we plan to wean them off of it. Our current plan is to feed 50% wheat straw(we don't have barley straw available nearby) and 25% alfalfa(to slowly wean them, in the next two weeks we wouldn't be feeding alfalfa) and 25% Timothy grass. So 50% wheat straw, 25% alfalfa(for now) and 25% timothy grass. Eventually landing at 75% wheat straw and 25% timothy grass. My question is, what kind of mineral or salt block would be best for them? Also is block or granular better for them? I can tell just by looking at them that they have been neglected of minerals and salt. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Mineral deficiencies are actually quite rare in any herbivores fed a decent quality roughage, except in some specific parts of the country where some trace elements have been leached from the soil by geography or irrigation. However, many owners (including us) do supplement, just in case. California Trace is a good, balanced mineral supplement that could be useful in practically all environments. We also use Himalayan salt licks. I used to thing they were kind of a "Yuppie Fad", but I have to admit that the donkeys really like them and they are pretty good at seeking out what they need. There is a lot of controversy on "loose" vs. "block". However, there is no research that proves one is better than the other and, given that deficiencies are pretty minor, it is very unlikely that it makes a difference. I would make sure the if these donkeys don't look good you also have several fecal analyses done for parasites, which are more likely to cause poor condition than mineral deficiencies. The problem with alfalfa hay is that it has way too many digestible calories for the donkey's hyper efficient digestive system. It would be like a human with a very efficient metabolism eating 10 hamburgers a day and not doing a great deal of physical labor. I hope your donkeys are not already obese. You can cut back on the alfalfa pretty rapidly as long as they are also getting a little grass hay. Two week transition is more than enough. We feed wheat straw and small amounts of grass hay, and our donkeys generally look great (except for a couple of food obsessed mini's who also require more exercise to not be too fat).
We have 2 mini donkeys, each kept with their own flock of grass fed sheep. Is it ok that they are just eating off of pasture or do they need to be supplemented with hay? Also, noticed tonight that our Jenny has what looks like shorter hair in the little space above her eye and a spot in her mane is shortened from all the rest. What could that be from?
The biggest problem with donkeys on any kind of pasture is that they tend to get fat. Their ancestors evolved to thrive in places like the Horn of Africa, and wild ones are overpopulating Death Valley (a truly extreme environment). So I would not worry about feed deficiency and you should look out to make sure that the minis are not getting obese. Having a trace element salt lick might be a good idea. Of course, this all depends on the amount and type of pasture plants (grass vs clover) and what part of the country.
My donkeys are on remission because of Insulin resistance but they hate it, I have tried to mix it with a small number of timothy pellets soaked and they still hate it.is it ok to put in a small amount of sugar-free syrup to see if they will eat it?
The small amount of sugar in syrup or apple sauce is not going to harm the effects of Remission, which is a microbial culture with trace elements and amino acids. If your veterinarian has found this product useful for laminitis that's fine, but it is difficult to see how it will have any effect on insulin resistance. Those Sacromyces bacteria, that survive the gastric acid and make it to the colon, will digest any sugars in the syrup or apple sauce. This is a difficult and complex problem that you are dealing with, but Remission appears safe as would small amounts of sugars that would improve the acceptability.
Our neighborhood Donkey has a collapsed crest. I understand that too much green grass could have caused this. Giving the Donkey a small apple and large carrot on a daily basis... might have caused this condition also?
Donkeys have evolved to store any tiny amount of energy that they possibly can. They build up fat in their abdomen (where you can't see it), in their scrotum (in the case of jacks), and on the crest of their necks (which is what causes the collapsed crest). Basically, this donkey, either now or at some time in the past, has been eating too many calories and has built up adipose tissue (fat) around the nucheal ligament (in the crest of the neck). These calories could have come from grass (green or dry), hay, grain, or excessive treats. You have to remember that donkeys THRIVE in Death Valley, one of the sparsest and most extreme environments on the planet. A carrot and an apple by themselves would not be enough to cause the problem, but a generally high level of energy intake would.
I have an obese donkey. Her stable mates are all normal in size. We have decided to confine her in an airy stall with hay during the day and let her out with her pasture mates at night, limiting her ability to graze all day. I worry though as she appears distraught that she is not with her friends. Are we doing the right thing for her. It's only been 2 days and I wonder if we have done the right thing.
If your donkey is already obese getting her to a normal weight is going to be difficult, just as is the case with humans. Besides diet restrictions, you need to look at exercise as part of your plan. This could be done by going on walks, running with your donkey, or teaching her to drive or pull logs. The trouble with giving any exposure to pasture is that this donkey can graze enough to gain weight in 45 minutes, much less being on pasture all night. Instead of a stall, your donkey would do better in a large dry lot (no grass), where it could be housed with a couple of its friends. Using portable panels, you can arrange it so that several donkeys can be fed individually at meal time. The obese donkey should be on a straw diet, supplemented with trace minerals and literally handfuls of hay. Feed at least 3 times a day, but just small quantities. The slimmer donkeys can eat separately, but in the same general paddock, where they can see each other, and then all the donkeys can be together in between meals. You can graze your pasture down with sheep or goats to get the grass short or non-existent, which will be better for all the donkeys. I do not know what part of the country you are in, but in the more humid northern, eastern, or south eastern states pastures are just too rich for donkeys. These animals have evolved to live in very arid and sparse conditions.
Simon, my donkey just tried to injest great gobs of hair I just pulled off him. I grabbed the stuff hanging out of his mouth and pulled all that I could out. Why in the world would he want to eat that disgusting furry filth? Is he missing something in his diet. Also he has white line disease in his left hoof. I live in MO where the grass is wet a lot because of the humidity. I clean the place out of dirt then wash with hydrogen peroxide. but keeping his hoof dry is nearly impossible in the conditions here. do you have some suggestions for me to help him?
I would not worry about your donkey's wanting to chew on hair. I realize that it looks gross, but donkeys will chew on all sorts of stuff, and what we may consider dirty or bad, they may find interesting. If hew was missing anything in his diet, it might just be dry roughage, like dry hay or , better, straw. If most of his diet is grass and it tends to be green and wet he may crave some plain old course roughage, and it would be good for him. White line disease is more of a concern. Donkeys hooves just do not adapt to wet and humid conditions well. Anywhere east of the Mississippi or north of the Great Basin, they will have trouble. While we don't have to deal with that sort of rain and humidity in California, when it does rain here (which may never happen again.....) the clay soil mud can be very bad for horse and donkey hooves. To avoid this we use coarse wood chips, which are larger than bedding shavings, and dump them in the donkey yard to 4 inches deep. This keeps their hooves out of the mud and dry, and the chips contain tannins which further help prevent thrush and WLD. The best treatment for WLD is scrupulous trimming to remove any hoof wall where the white line separations are occurring. As long as the removed wall is not more than 1/3 the normal circumference of the hoof, they have plenty of weight bearing horn to walk on. The pockets need to be trimmed all the way back to where the white line is normal, and watched closely as the hoof wall goes back to avoid separations from developing again. A variety of medications can be used to treat the WLD areas and should be used, but unless the pockets are completely trimmed out you will not have much success in treating it.
I had a mammoth donkey foal 8 days ago. The jenny had a very difficult time, we had to pull the foal and later had to have the placenta extracted. She is sore in her hips and limps slightly. She also lays frequently. She's on bute and antibiotics and she has remained fever-free throughout. My main issue is that she has little appetite and has eaten very little. If I cannot get her to eat more soon, her milk supply will drop. She will eat apples, but I worry about colic. She also eats a bit of hay and green grass. What else could we try to feed her? Perhaps carrots?
Carrots or chard would be fine. They are tasty and may encourage eating. However, if it has been a week, it may be a good idea for your veterinarian to do a blood test called a CBC (Complete Blood Count) including testing for fibrinogen. If your jenny is getting "bute" or Banamine, she may have an infection but still not have a fever. A blood test called "clinical chemistry" , including triglycerides, would also be a good idea. She may have had a difficult birth but after 8 days she should be feeling better. Donkey specific normals for these tests are available at the Donkey Sanctuary website.
I have two standard donkeys, ages 20 and 23. We live in SW Texas and they have been on about 18 acres of fairly good coastal pasture ( along with a bounty of mesquite beans each summer) for years. When they packed on the fat, my local vet never told me they shouldn’t have such a rich diet. Now they both have Cushings and are on Prascend daily. The older one has had skin issues due to the Cushings, but I think they’re clearing up. Their feet, at least, have been well maintained. They are in a dry lot type area that’s about 1/5 of an acre, and they’ve been getting coastal hay. I’ve considered surrendering them to PVDR, as they hate being in a confined area.
My question to you is: Once they have been on Prascend for several months, can they go back out on pasture for short amounts of time? Or would it be kinder to send them to PVDR for a freer lifestyle?
My suggestion would be to keep them on Prescend and monitor their diet. If you are feeding Coastal hay, my suggestion to not over feed carbohydrates especially water soluble (also called nonstructural carbohydrates) you can soak the hay and wash away part of the nonstructural or WS CHOs. If you use warm water you can wash away a larger amount that will help with sugar intake which should be low for donkeys with Cushing. You can also place the hay in slow feeders and or provide enrichment tools like hay balls and that will help keep the donkeys some what occupied and foraging for a longer period of time. The medication (Prescend) is necessary for helping regulate hormones associated with Cushings or phases of Equine Metabolic Syndrome especially PPID (pituitary pars intermediate dysfunction so removing the donkeys from this medication could be very detrimental to the donkeys health so I would highly suggest consulting with your attending veterinarian. As far as handing them off to PVDR that’s a question for for PVDR but would require them to then provide such care.
I'm trying to help a donkey that has a Sarcoma near its eye and another on her rear end, and she is also pregnant. The first vet felt it was too close to her eye and anal area to cut them off. I've heard it can help to build the immune system to eventually have these go away. Do you have any recommendations for me to be able to help both she and here baby to be? She was on her way to slaughter & trying to give her a chance the life she deserves.
I believe that your donkey has "sarcoids" which are very different from "sarcomas". Sarcoids are tumors that are extremely common in donkeys and mules, and can be locally invasive (that is they can enlarge or spread in their immediate area), but they are not considered "malignant" (can spread around the body to many organs). Sarcomas are VERY rare, but if they do occur they are more difficult to treat. If there is any question the tumors should be biopsied, so you know exactly what you are dealing with. If these are sarcoids (by far the most likely situation) the only treatments that have been objectively proven to cure them is wide excision (which means surgical removal including at least 1 cm of normal looking skin around the tumor's base) and local injection of a chemotherapy drug called Cisplatin. Most surgeons use both at the same time and the Cisplatin can be either injected into the tumor area or placed as time release absorbable "beads". The chemo therapy is only local and does not have the side effects systemically that we normally think of with "chemo", but it often has to be repeated several times. If the sarcoid next to the eye will not allow wide excision, it could be just injected with Cisplatin. There is also another, less expensive, chemo agent, called 5 - fluorouracil (5-FU) which I have used successfully by local injection. This does require repeated injections, usually at weekly intervals. The dosages and protocols for these treatments are all available to your veterinarian in scientific publications. Various therapies that basically destroy tissue, such as cautery, cryosurgery (liquid nitrogen), or various caustic agents such as blood root extract (Xterra) will destroy sarcoid tissue, though they are less efficacious. However, these may be difficult to use close to the eye. We have had success with a technique in which a sarcoid is surgically removed, sliced, and the pieces frozen in liquid nitrogen for 10 minutes (to kill the cells and the virus that causes the tumor) and then implanted under the skin to stimulate the immune system to attack remaining sarcoid tissue in the body. It was described by a surgeon at UPenn's New Bolton Center and we have used it in Mexico and Nicaragua, where there were no chemo options, and the horses, donkeys, or mules had so many sarcoids that they could not be removed surgically (dozens sometime).
If my jenny is looking rather wide, should I restrrict her pasture time? My options are to put her in stall, or a muzzle. What do you think?
It is very hard to maintain proper weight on donkeys that are not living in the dry west and south west, with short annual grasses for forage. Besides looking at your jenny's abdomen , look at the crest of her neck and the fat pads to the side of her tail. These areas are good places to estimate actual fat accumulation. Sometimes abdominal "wideness" in a non-pregnant animal can be the result of aging. Donkeys get "saggy" as they age. However, you are quite right: muzzling the jennet or changing to a dry pasture or paddock will be necessary to prevent weight gain if there is enough spring grass. Something else to consider is the amount of exercise. Hiking, jogging, or working with your donkey can help.
My donkey seems to be getting a large stomach but his legs and hind area are becoming boney and thin. He is probably 20 years old and seems to be showing no signs of being sick What could this be?
While it is normal for older donkeys to lose muscle mass (boney and thin over legs and top line) and get a larger abdomen, there are some potential health problems that should be ruled out. Particularly in and older donkey teeth can be an issue, decreasing the ability of the donkey to convert feed energy and protein into body mass. So a good dental exam and treatment , if necessary, would be a good place to start. Also, donkeys seem to remain sensitive to internal parasites even in old age. Analyzing the feces for worm eggs should also be done and management changed if parasites are found. Finally, as donkeys age they can get endocrine problems similar to pituitary adenomas and Metabolic Syndrome in horses. There are blood tests that your veterinarian can do to identify these and treatments available. All of these conditions can re insidious and only make an animal look ill when they are quite advanced. So invetigating these possibilities now is a good idea.
I had a surprise this am when my adopted donkey gave birth to a healthy foal. I had been feeding her hay supplement w/ alfalfa pellets along with free pasture grazing. Now she has a foal, what should I be feeding her to maintain her weight and nutrition for her and the foal?
If you are feeding alfalfa pellets, you are probably providing enough calcium and protein for lactation. You could supplement with a high quality protein like Calf Manna and a trace mineral with fat soluble vitamins (particularly vitamin E). I depends a bit on the quality of hay used to make the pellets. However, be careful to not feed excessive digestible energy (more than the recommended amount of alfalfa or any molasses) as it will tend to make the jennet obese.
How are you handling miniatures that are metabolic? What kind of blood work are you doing and how are you feeding? I have two miniature donkeys I adopted from you and am having weight problems, especially with the smallest one. I've been feeding coastal Bermuda hay in limited weighed quantities. I have studied all of the literature put out by The Donkey Sanctuary UK. and am currently working with my vet to develop a better feeding program. I would like to talk with someone on your staff about suggestions on how to handle the weight loss problem. I live in Fort Davis TX. Zach has been here and knows my place. Thank you. If it would be helpful, I could come for a visit to discuss your feeding program. I've been wanting to come for years now so you might suggest a time when it would be possible.
I am not at PVDR, but to answer your question, generally, I would need to know if the weight problem is weight gain or weight loss. Donkeys, including mini's, are metabolically different than horses, with the tendency to become overweight very easily. This is because of various physical and behavioral adaptations that have stuck with donkeys from the time that they adapted to the very harsh environment of eastern Africa. Among these are a very effective chewing ability to grind even the coarsest feed into digestible particles, an extended gut transit time, a greater percentage of their body being digestive organs, and a metabolic condition referred to as "insulin resistance", which tends to make them store every morsel of energy that they consume. It is entirely possible that a miniature donkey, who is not getting a lot of exercise or not 'working' could gain a lot of weight on good quality coastal Bermuda grass, with no supplements added. We have found it hard to keep donkeys fit (BCS of 3 on a 1-5 scale, or between 4 and 6 on the 1-9 Hennecke scale) without feeding at least part of the diet as straw. Barley straw is preferred, but wheat straw (with NO grain in it) works and is often the only option available. Donkeys are individuals and the amount of hay vs. straw will vary depending on the donkey's feeding behavior and individual metabolism. We occasionally feed supplements to older donkeys or other who, for some reason, don't maintain healthy body weight on hay. What has worked the best is Equine Senior, fed at 1/3 the horse dose and softened with warm water for those with bad teeth. I would doubt that this would be necessary in a mini.
What supplement can I give my donkey to remove fat deposits in neck and some on the sides of her rump? She is 6 years old and I rescue her from bad conditions. She eats grasshay and small amount of grain by nutrena with low fat. Has carrot ,lettuce at times.
Is there suppose to be a extra layer of hoof over the regular front of the hoof on donkey.?
I would replace the small amount of grain with lettuce and carrot for a little extra treat. The grain may be low fat but there is a lot of soluble carbohydrate in all grains and donkeys just don't need that, unless they are being rehabilitated. There really are no supplements that will reduce the "pones " or fat deposits. The best approach is to decrease caloric intake and increase exercise. Walking/hiking is as good for donkeys as it is for humans. However, I would also like to point out that donkeys are the world champs at storing energy as fat. Even donkeys that are trim will retain fat deposits on their necks and rump, once they have developed. As far as the hoof issue: donkeys will develop a thickened layer of hoof wall at the toes that can separate and appear as an extra layer. The reason for this is unclear. There is virtually no research on it and, even experienced farriers, have various theories and approaches to treating it. My observation is that when this layer is rasped off and the hooves are carefully and regularly trimmed they can become normal. Some would recommend a trace mineral supplement like California Trace to improve hoof health and formation. There is no objective proof that these work but we are using CT on our donkeys.
I have a donkey who currently eats mostly from pasture and we supplement with hay as needed through the winter. Our farrier noticed some inflammation when trimming and I was wondering what kind of advice you might have on what to do to reduce the inflammation. She is alone on the 7-acre pasture at this time. Our farrier suggested a grazing muzzle, but I saw some advice against that for donkeys.
One thing to consider when grazing your donkey is the time of day when you are allowing her to graze. You can reduce the amount of nonstructural carbohydrates (also referred to as water soluble carbohydrates) if you allow her to graze early in the morning until roughly 11 am. During the night plants are dormant and use their energy stores (sugars and starches). An overload of sugar or starch (NSC or water soluble carbohydrates) we believe can lead to inflammation in the laminae of the hoof. So, consider grazing time as one way to reduce her pasture intake. Any changes you make in her diet should ideally be done slowly over a period of time. You can also consider offering her slow feeder for hay if you are supplementing her diet with hay when she’s not on pasture. Another way to reduce NSC intake is by soaking your hay for at least 30 mins or up to 1 hour if using cold water, if hot you can go with 30 mins, then remove hay from the water and offer to your donkey. There’s a lot of wonderful enrichment feeders available as well. I know PVDR uses them for some of the mules. This will limit intake and also provide engagement for your donkey. Again, consider her diet and then making changes slowly to reduce sugar intake and allowing for time for adjustments. Another option is fencing off part of your pasture and making smaller lots for her to graze for the limited time. You can easily do this with a hot wire fence. I hope this helps but also consider working with your veterinarian on developing a diet, weigh her and take before and after photos of each side to monitor body condition scores.
Can we switch our donkeys From eating grass hay with some wheat stray to eating barley straw without any problems.
As a rule giving a couple of days for adaptation to a feed change is a good idea. Something like mixing the wheat and barley straw half and half for 4-5 days before making a complete transition. However, if you needed to make the transition right away, this would be absolutely safe. The difference in straw is not that significant.
What are some recommended foods to feed a pregnant donkey.
Assuming the pregnant jennet is otherwise healthy and has good teeth, a lot of special feed is not really necessary. Good quality grass hay (alfalfa is not necessary and can make donkeys excessively fat pretty quickly), a trace element supplement (we use California Trace, though there are lots of others), and maybe a highly digestible pellet, to add some protein, would be sufficient. An example would be Equine Senior, at half the horse dose. Again, a lot of starches and sugars (grain and molasses) is just going to make the jennet fat, and maybe cause laminitis. They just don't need that.
Hello! I am adopting a donkey from an equine rescue. He will be in with my young Quarter Horse gelding. We are in the middle of building a new home and are not set up to separate the two during feeding in the house/pasture we are currently staying at. Do you have any ideas as to keeping the Alfalfa hay the horse eats away from the grass hay the donkey gets? I am thinking a hay bag or something the donkey can't reach? There have to be some better suggestions out there! Help!! Thank you!!
By far the simplest thing would be to feed both the donkey and the horse grass hay. While alfalfa is often fed to horses, it is too high in digestible energy and protein for most horses, unless they are young and growing, lactating, or in heavy work. If your horse needs some protein supplementation (the reason alfalfa is usually fed) a small amount of cubes or pellets in a bucket, away from the donkey would be a solution. Using a hay net will not keep the donkey from eating the alfalfa leaves that fall on the ground and, unless you hang it high enough that it will make the horses neck uncomfortable while eating, will not keep the donkey from reaching the alfalfa. I realize that quality, well cured grass hay may be hard to find in certain parts of the country, but investing in good, low soluble carbohydrate roughage would benefit both horse and donkey.
I just rescued a mom and baby donkey from a kill pen.. the baby is a male 7-9 mos and the mom is approx 5-7 years old.. they are skinny and need to get healthly. I live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. I was wondering what if there is anything I should be specifically feeding them. I have started them ion coastal hay lots of fresh water and I’m giving the mom just a very little bit of Safe Choice grain. Any help you can give me would be appreciated.
We have the best luck with feeding Purina Equine Senior at 1/2 the horse dose for weight and condition gain in donkeys. You might give the foal a little protein supplement, like Calf Manna. I would also have the manure tested for parasites and don't forget to comb the hair looking for lice. These sale yards are great places for parasite and disease transmission. I would also start their vaccinations: Tetanus, encephalitis, and equine influenza as soon as you can. We have been hearing about outbreaks of equine influenza in donkeys with a history of being rescued from kill yards. This disease causes an annoying cough in horses, but can cause severe respiratory disease, which can be fatal, in donkeys.
What can I do my donkey went down yesterday and he has no strenghth to get up on his own,he will eat and drink as long as I hold him up
THis is a serious situation that requires veterinary assistance. Without knowing things like how old the donkey is, previous diseases, diet, and vaccinations it is hard to make a diagnosis. I can direct you on how to make a sling to help your donkey stand if you email me, but that will only help temporarily without veterinary treatment.
Hi, we own a 13 yr. old donkey with Cushing's disease who needs meds daily (Pergolide). Unfortunately, William isn't taking to the meds in liquid or powder form. We tried molasses mixed with the powder and his rice bran pellets, but ultimately, it didn't work. We tried tasteless powder mixed with the rice bran pellets; that didn't work, either. Can you suggest another way we can attempt to administer the drug to him? Thanks!
This is both a taste and a behavior issue, with which many owners struggle. We can definitely relate....The approach that Cindy takes has been the most successful by far: Mix apple sauce and dark molasses 50:50 (like 2 oz of each), stir well or blender, then start by rubbing a little of the mixture on donkey's lips or gums with your finger, until they get the idea that it is yummy. Then get a catheter trip 35 or 60 ml syringe and put the some of the mix on the outside and use that to put solution on lips. You may have to get the donkey used to your holding something plastic in your hand, which can be done by holding the syringe while you are feeding and grooming. Start rubbing it on the neck and face, until they are not afraid. Always be careful to not jab thier gums or lips with then end of the syringe. This can be done by keeping the tip parallel to the gums and sliding it in after parting lips with your finger. Eventually you can start giving a few milliliters of the solution (like 5 or 10 ) into the donkey's mouth. You can also hold the syringe tip next to a piece of carrot, if that is the reward that they are used to, until they start associating the syringe with goodness. Only after they are really good about taking the syringe and solution do we mix the medication with the apple sauce/molasses. I don't know how much volume in involved in the Pergolide powder because I don't know the size of your donkey, but you can probably disguise it in 20 mls or so. We have used this with a variety of medications: NSAID's, antibiotics, and dewormer and it inevitably works well. It does take sometimes two weeks to get donkey trained, doing the training once a day or every other day. When it comes time to worm our donkeys, Cindy just goes out with syringes, they all line up without halters or any restraint and literally suck the medication out of the syringe. I know feeding medications is more convenient, but the accuracy of dosing is MUCH lower and generally recommend giving oral medications directly by syringe as part of daily feeding or grooming. Otherwise you really never know if you are getting the correct amount administered.
What is the best feed for a 40 yo standard donkey that needs to add weight? She has no issues other than hip and back leg nerve degeneration. Losing muscle in hips.
If the muscle loss in the hips is a result of nerve injury, feed will be unlikely to bring it back. Another issue in an old donkey like that is the condition of her teeth. At that stage of life they are often "expired" (no crown above the gum line). If that is the case she will need to eat processed feed like Equine Senior, which we have found will maintain weight in an older donkey, safely. Soaking the pellets in warm water and adding psyllium to it, makes the diet easier to eat and digest (no chewing required) and will lubricate the bowel to help prevent impaction from coarse roughage. You will still need to feed hay to give her something to do.
maybe sweet itch? will not let me treat topically..what is best to feed for this..supplement scratching terribly..hae experience with horses not donkeys..he is a sweetheart and loving but shies from any topical
If this is actually sweet itch, the most important thing is to separate the donkey from the insects that are causing this hypersensitivity. This may mean putting a sheet or leggings on him depending on where the lesions are. In extreme cases putting the animal in a screened stall when insects are active may be necessary. Veterinarian can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications that can be given orally (antihistamines or prednisolone). We have had some luck in feeding flax seed to a mini with seasonal hypersensitivity. You do have to be careful to not feed too much as this supplement also contains a lot of calories. Donkeys can be trained to accept the administration of topical medications by associating them with carrot treats.
Can donkeys have the same minerals as a goat
Yes, but in very little moderation. If you can get a mineral lick instead of loose minerals, that would be better for the donkey so they don't over do it.
My mini donkey is just turning 6yrs old. Since I have owned him at 1.5 yrs old he has been on a mineral balanced diet with restricted hay in nibble nets and some grass. There have been no issues until people started feeding behind my back. Now I have to muzzle my donkey which upsets us both. His belly became more slender and his body looks great overall. The only exception is his neck seems to be getting fatter. I am freaking out and in disbelief. I am trying to find some barley straw to feed but not something our area has. What about using thyro-L?
Judging if a donkey is getting overly fat is difficult. Donkeys will often get an increase in their crest before fat is deposited anywhere else. I applaud your diligence in worrying about this, as many people don't until is has already become a problem. I would suggest a few things:
There is nothing wrong with substituting wheat straw for barley straw. Our donkeys main diet is wheat straw and they do fine. The get a very small amount of grass hay, and a evening carrot/chard/cucumber salad (okay...that's a little off the wall but they really like it). However, the hay and salad are literally handfuls, with most calories coming from the straw. This includes two mini's who are doing fine.
Increase exercise: which is good for everybody. If you donkeys do not have a large paddock to roam in, start hiking/running with them, depending on your own exercise regimen. Consider teaching your mini how to pull a cart, snig (drag logs through a course), or do obstacles. Using up some of that excess energy will help.
While there is little toxicity associated with thyroid supplementation, this should ONLY be considered as a VERY last resort. Thyroid hormones have multiple metabolic effects and you don't want to cause a problem in trying to solve something that can be addressed other ways.
I have a 30 year old mini who lost weight and looks thin. He is up to date in vacc, dewormed and recently had teeth floated. Vet had me increase food . Eats senior equine, coastal hay supplemented with alfalfa and treats. I have increased feed to no avail. What diagnostics do you suggest? Plan to see vet again. I have limited funds so would appreciate your suggestions as to prioritizing tests. Donkey Oatie lives with Pardner a hinny who seems fine. Thank you.
One thing that comes to my mind, especially given his age would be Cushings. Cushings can cause muscle wasting (and therefore weight loss). Your veterinarian should be able to assist with making this diagnosis. A baseline ACTH level (from a blood sample) is one way to possibly make this diagnosis, but it can be difficult to interpret, especially this time of year. The other method is called a TRH response test (also run on blood, following an intravenous injection). Feel free to have your veterinarian contact me directly if he/she would like any further diagnostic guidance.
Great suggestion! I would also suggest checking his teeth and considering a dental exam. This could discourage the little guy from wanting to eat a dental disorder and cause him to loose weight. Other thoughts would be to do a fecal egg count and look at how often you are feeding, you may need to increase his diet and offer several small meals a day of his equine senior to meet his caloric needs but test for Cushing's' first because Equine Senior contains molasses and if he has Cushing's then you would need to consider a diet with less sugar- specifically nonstructural carbohydrate sugar and with Bermuda hay "if" he has Cushing's you can soak the hay in warm water to decrease NSC also known as water-soluble carbohydrates.
Hi, I’m need some help and thought you may be able to help me. I just rescued a 3 mo old mammoth donkey. His mom has already weaned him. He shows no interest in eating grain but does nibble on grass and drinks some water. What is the best thing for nutrition for him? What about worming him? Help! I haven’t had anything so young and want to give him a good start.
That is odd that the jennet voluntarily weaned her foal at 3 months. Was she in poor physical condition?
At 3 months of age the following are important:
He needs a higher protein intake because he is rapidly growing and developing. This would normally be provided by mother's milk but if there is no nursing, a milk based supplement is the next best thing. Land O Lakes, Purina, and several other companies make milk replacer pellets. The amount fed depends on which product is available to you , but they all have directions on the bag. Grain, by itself, is too low in protein and calcium to provide adequate nutrition. If he has not eaten a pelleted feed before it might take some time for him to get used to the supplement, but that's what he needs. The rest of the diet should consist of good quality forage (hay). Normally we would not recommend feeding alfalfa to donkeys but if half of his hay ration was alfalfa that would raise the protein and calcium intake too. The supplement should also contain fat soluble vitamins (E and A) as well as trace elements (Selenium, copper, Zinc).
Deworming is likely going to be important. It is always best to have a fecal analysis run as a base line to see if your worming program is working. If the foal is in poor condition or if the previous worming history is unknown, start by giving 1/2 dose of wormer every three days for 4 treatments. This will decrease the likelihood of killing too many of the large Parascaris equorum parasites too fast. Donkeys are sensitive to these and they are large enough to cause intestinal blockage if the foal is heavily infected and you kill them too fast. Ivermetin, Pyrantel Pamoate, or Fenbendazole are all appropriate. Again, doing a fecal analysis before and a week after worming would be ideal as it will identify the effectiveness of the treatment. There are problems with resistant parasites, but they only way to test that is to use a wormer and then check.
For psychologic development this foal needs a donkey "friend". An older gelding is often used for this purpose. Orphaned or early weaned foals who do not get this exposure and are just raised by humans never "learn to be a donkey". This gets expressed in undesirable behaviors as the animal gets older and can make them very difficult to socialize and train for interactions with humans.
Hey there, we have adopted a mature mini jinett. No info on her was given or known other than she was expecting in the spring. She foaled early May, everything about her seemed to be ok. Other than she had some hoof issues. Rolling in and some fungi and our constant wet weather not helping. We had her feet trimmed pretty regularly, about every 6 weeks or less. Towards end of pregnancy, it almost seemed she was going lame. After foaling, her hooves still need constant treatment and trimming, but she has seemed to "bounce" back quite well...our concern now is her weight...
Since shes delivered, here recently, she has seemed to really thin down to point of her hip bones protrude and her legs are very thin. She does eat well,doesn't seem to struggle or turn her nose to anything...
Is this common/normal/as to be expected after foaling and her body caring for baby through milk?
Also, any good supplements recommended for her hoof issue, and or supplements recommended for body being taxed with back to back to back pregnancies? We keep her separated from the Jack, we want her body to have a season of rest, think a good year or 2?
We know this pregnancy was right after her last one, and cant help but wonder if she's depleted, and now her weight...
Depending on the diet jennets can lose weight after foaling. She should certainly get a couple of years off, if for no better reason than that there are a great many donkeys in this country without homes and we try to discourage the production of more. He diet should still be primarily good quality hay and straw, but you might supplement her with a small amount of a highly digestible processed feed like Equine Senior. Some feel that adding California Trace mineral supplement will help with her feet. Jennets who have had multiple pregnancies will often have prominent hip bones (actually part of the pelvis).
HI ! I am still learning about donkey's, and i am planing on adopting one within the next few months. I was informed that a normal diet is 1.5%-1.8% body weight in dry matter daily. I have done some research, and it said to feed it 75% is barley straw, and 25% is grass hay like meadow,orchard etc. In the winter I was informed that the donkey's diet should be 50% barley straw, and 50% grass hay. I was also told to give him a salt block, and a forage balancer. I was wondering if this information is correct, and if you have any tips on taking care of them I would love to hear your feedback, thankyou!
I would agree with this feeding plan 100%. You can substitute wheat straw for barley straw, as it is easier to find in many parts of the USA. Of course, never feed wheat or barley HAY, as that contains the grain heads too and would be way to high calorie for donkeys. Beyond a proper diet, you also need to make sure that your donkey has environmental enrichment, which can take all sorts of forms, including going for hikes with your donkey . You should also work with picking up your donkeys hooves regularly, so that they can be handled by the farrier. In most situations in the USA, donkeys need to have their hooves trimmed about every two months. It is also important that donkeys hooves remain as dry as possible. They do not take moisture well, as they are adapted to arid conditions.
Donkey #1 I had my mammoth Donkey tested for Cushing's on accident. I wanted her tested for EMS. There was a mix-up somewhere. She gained a lot of weight fast. She is on grass hay. I wanted the EMS test do to her just turning 9. The Cushing test came back positive. I'm not sure of what test. The vet took a sample of blood. He gave her a shot in the vain and waited ten minutes and drew blood again. He sent it to Florida. I would attach it if possible. The pre number was 83. The vet said it was positive with that number already, the post number after the IV shot was 386. She does seem to be very tender footed. She is on a diet. before it was free choice
orchard grass or teff hay. We now feed her twice a day what she can eat in about an hour. I didn't know if putting her on a strict diet messed with the test results or not. I don't know what to do from here. I am hoping for advice. The vet said the meds for Cushings has a lot of side effects and some can't tolerate it.
Donkey #2 I bought a male 4 year old Donkey 2 months ago. He is just started his riding career. He was stumbling a LOT. He has even fell all the way down in the front a few times. He came for Kentucky. While the vet was here testing Kassy for Cushings, I wanted to test Keno for EPM just to make me feel better about the stumbling so I could chalk it up to being barely 4 and just starting his riding. I was also think that since is butt was like 2 inches higher than is withers at this time in his growth, I could blame clumsiness on that. I really never dreamed it would come back positive. ugh I choose the IFAT test. He pegged it out at 640. It went to UC Davis. My vet has never seen a case. I live in NM. he is going to talk to another vet. Can antibodies cause that high of a test? From what I've read, I guess taking him away from the only home he knew and transporting him 1500 miles stressed him enough to let EPM Get a hold on him. We live in a small town and nobody seems to really know the next steps for either Kassy or Keno. I am hoping you can help my babies.
EMS and Equine Cushing's have many similar effects: laminitis, obesity, abnormal fat patterns. In fact EMS is sometimes referred to as "Peripheral Cushing's". As with many donkey related issues there has been relatively little research in metabolic disease and much of the testing and treatment recommendations are extrapolated from horses. Assuming that the test your veterinarian did was for pituitary hormones, it does sound like your donkey may be positive for Cushing's. In any event the management of the two conditions is similar. Have your hay tested for soluble or non-structural carbohydrates and try to find the lowest hay that you can. Putting straw (barley straw is best but you can use wheat straw) in a hay net for the donkey to chew on through the day gives them something to do, fills them up, and won't contribute to increased obesity. You may have to supplement with trace minerals and that can be done by top dressing a "salad" of vegetables like carrots, chard, or cucumbers (we grow Armenian cucumbers for our donkeys because of their high production). These are high fiber and high moisture so feeding a small amount everyday for supplementation won't cause weight gain. While any medication can have side effects, reported ones for pergolide, the treatment for Cushing's, has few complications that I know of, except that there is a fair amount of expense involved. X-rays of her hooves would be a good idea to look for evidence of laminitis and also to serve as a baseline if she was to show more lameness in the future. On the 4 year old: that is a significant titer (blood level) for EPM. However, there could be other things causing the stumbling in a large, young mammoth. Before I chalked it up to EPM, it would be necessary to do a thorough neurologic and lameness exam. Mammoths are prone to bone growth abnormalities referred to as "OCD". These can effect joints, but also the spinal chord, which would look very much like EPM.
Because he is young and because stumbling is a potential safety hazard for you it would be a good idea to consider taking him to an equine referral center and investing the money in x-rays and sampling CSF fluid (which is the definitive way of checking for EPM) . There are equine referral hospitals in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Treatment for EPM, especially in a mildly effected animal, is pretty successful and well tolerated. Your veterinarian could prescribe appropriate medications (Ponazuril or SulfaTrimethoprim) and you could look for improvement. However, having a more accurate diagnosis would avoid potentially wasting time trying to treat the wrong condition. We really do need more research in these conditions in donkeys.
My miniature donkey has developed colic for the second time. I am not sure why, and not sure what to do for her. I gradually switched her food from Producers Pride 16% all-stock grain to Triple Crown Lite, one measuring cup in morning and one in afternoon. I was originally feeding her alfalfa, and have switched that to half Timothy hay and half straw. They get a daily total of two slices of hay and one slice of Timothy, which they share with 3 goats. Their enclosure is wooded with no grass. I switched their diet about a month ago, and the first colic incident was a month and a half ago.
Chronic colic can be difficult to sort out and diagnose. I doubt that this is diet related and I think that your current ration is much better than the previous one with grain and alfalfa. The approach should include examination of your donkey's teeth, a parasite exam of feces, considering sand or gravel accumulation in the large colon (this can be done by stethoscope, "panning" manure for mineral material, ultrasound, or radiographs), and a some blood work looking for chronic inflammation or metabolic problems. In some parts of the US feeding alfalfa is associated with the slow development of stones in the right dorsal colon (enteroliths) and your veterinarian would know if this is likely in your area. The exact symptoms shown during the episode are also important and may point to intestinal, gastric (ulcers), or other problems that cause unwillingness to eat, rolling, recumbency and other behaviors that are associated with abdominal pain. Examination and "work up" by a competent equine veterinarian would be a good idea, as is scrupulous record keeping. You did a good job of recording diet change, and it would be a good idea to include time of day, time fed, specific symptoms and when the resolved, and even stage of estrus (if this is a jennet). Sorry that there is not a simpler answer. I wish you luck and share your concern.
Is it dangerous for a donkey to eat 2x1 sugar beet?I saw him on a mountain bike trail. I gave 1 on monday and 1 on wednesday and now he isn't in his meadow any more. I am very concerned. I am googling it and I read it is not the best thing to feed him (I will never do it again!). But can a donkey die from it in such a short period?
Sugar beets, depending on their degree of maturity (and therefor sugar content) could cause serious problems in a donkey. Though it is unlikely that just one would cause founder (laminitis) it is certainly possible. The other danger from sugar beets is choke. Large animals tend to bolt the tasty tubers and can get them stuck in their esophagus. Many years ago, when farms around Davis, California, raised a lot of sugar beets, they used to graze cattle on the leftovers after the beets had been topped and harvested. Some of my classmates had jobs "ridin' beets", in which they would ride through the fields looking for cattle choking on beet tops. They would open the animal and reach down their mouth and gullet to pull out pieces of beet that were stuck there. Carrots, celery, chard, or cucumbers are fine, but no beets.
Is there a supplement grain or pellet I can give my donkey as a treat. She is on a grass hay diet and gets to graze in a field grass pasture about a half hour a day. Also can I give her more pasture time? She is not over weight and gets all her shots and is de-wormed 3x per year.
There are a variety of treats given that the donkey is on a good diet, like yours is. Some trainers like just plain whole oats as a reward or treat. A few handfuls of a high fiber grain like that is okay, as a reward in training. I have found small pellets and oats a little clumsy to handle and we use just thin carrot slices. One can also use celery or cucumbers....or chard, depending on what you grow in your garden. We grow all these, feed a "salad" to all donkeys once a day (in addition to some hay and straw) and they do great. Some like carrots more than cucumber and visa versa. You just have to experiment.
What sort of supplement do donkeys need? He gets grass hay. Is horse guard a good choice? Or do they have different requirements?
I am pretty conservative about feed supplements for donkeys, or horses for that matter. I am fortunate in that I live in the Sacramento valley where, for many millennia, minerals have washed out of the mountains of a large geographic area in Northern California. So mineral and trace element deficiencies are rare. Up where I used to live, where that water started in those mountains, things like Selenium and Copper deficiencies were not unusual. I guess the point is: it depends. The quality of forage fed and where it is grown has a large effect on the need for mineral and vitamin supplementation. I know of a colleague who likes California Trace. It is not only a good source of trace elements (Selenium, Copper, Magnesium, Zinc) but also it has a good mix of sulfur amino acids which some research suggests are good for hoof quality. Vitamins, other than Vitamin E (can be deficient in poorly cured hay), are rarely necessary. Donkeys (and horses) make B vitamins and others in their colon. So spending money on these supplements is not a good investment, though more of them has no deleterious effect. Horse Guard is okay too, as long as it does not contain molasses or other highly digestible sugar calories. I couldn't find a feed analysis for Horse Guard.
I live in California. We keep our 2 donkeys on dry lot and provide grass hay (and a salt block). Should I also be giving the California Trace minerals? If so, how much and how often? Thank you.
My short answer is yes. I live in central NY where selenium deficient soils are a huge problem. That may not be the case in your location. However, donkeys do need other vitamins and minerals that are typically not present in sufficient quantities in most dry forages. Also, in my experience, even providing the salt blocks that contain selenium and other trace nutrients are not usually sufficient either. I find that the donkeys just don’t tend to lick them enough to consume adequate quantities. I would recommend feeding California Trace once daily at the dose provided on the label. It is a great way to be sure they are getting the essential micronutrients that they need and, if your donkeys are anything like mine, they will even think of it as a treat too and look forward to it each day.
What is your opinion on Teff hay? Is that a good option for my donkeys?
We have fed Teff hay to donkeys with good results. It is always a good idea to have hay tested as it may vary in non-structural Carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and minerals depending on where it is grown and how it is cured.
I live in SC and have a 4 yr old donkey who has always been out on grass 24/7, he also has been getting a cup of grain twice a day and nibbles on my horses hay. I just noticed he has gotten fat pockets on the side of back and neck, seems to have come up over last month or so. I have had so many comments on social media about how he should and shouldn't be fed. No grass, no grain, dry lot, muzzle. Not sure what is best. Love this little guy and want to do best for him but also want him to enjoy life.
It would be very hard to keep a donkey from getting fat in a place with as much rainfall and grass as NC. Remember these animals evolved to live in an extreme desert environment and are MUCH more efficient in digesting forage than horses. We just identified a 30+ year old donkey that had lived its entire life in Death Valley and was it good shape. That is a tough and efficient animal. It is really important that donkeys not be allowed to get fat, because when they do, it is difficult to get them to lose weight and they are at risk for metabolic diseases and laminitis. Recommendations:
Do not feed your donkey grain ever. It is unnecessary and has way too much digestible calories for a donkey.
IF the donkey is going to be on pasture it needs to be pasture that is as dry as possible. The high energy spring growth should be avoided. This can be done by strip grazing or chopping the grass really short. Muzzles are another option, as is dry lot, though donkeys like to get out in a pasture.
Do not feed the donkey with the horses because horse nutritional requirements are much different and horse feed and hay is just too rich.
Feed a high fiber, properly cured, grass hay or straw as the primary roughage. We feed our donkeys primarily straw with just a little rye grass hay here in California and they do great. The Donkey Sanctuary recommends feeding barley straw. Costal Bermuda, Orchard grass, and Teff hays are okay, but should be tested to make sure they are not too high in non-structural carbohydrates. Hays differ around the country so it is hard to make blanket recommendations. DO utilize advice from The Donkey Sanctuary, especially since they are in an environment that has similar rainfall characteristics to NC. Do NOT use advice on Face Book, unless the content is curated (such as the PVDR site), there are just too many pseudo-experts on social media.
Finally: make sure your donkey gets plenty of exercise. You can easily train them to drive or pack, and hiking or running with your donkey is one of my favorites.
I have a 17 year old female donkey that has been diagnosed with PPID. She seems to have a sensitive stomach and has on/off diarrhea. You can feel her ribs and she has the "hay belly". I am looking to build her topline and add some weight to her. She is currently on a dry lot with having hay fed 2x daily- this usually lasts them throughout the day. the vet is coming out next week to check teeth. She is on Equioxx. I thought of giving some Triple Crown Senior to her for protein. this has come on within the last 6 months or so. I have tried other feeds but she would not eat them.Can you help me with this? If I should put her on feed, could you send along a feeding schedule for her.
Thanks so much.
First I would want to know: are you treating the PPID with Pergolide. We will have at talk on this topic at the DWS this year. With pituitary metabolic disease you are going to the a redistribution of fat to the ventral abdomen (which tends to occur in older donkeys either way). If diarrhea was an issue I would DEFINITELY have a veterinarian auscultate, ultrasound, and/or x-ray the abdomen looking for sand. Also, the teeth definitely need examination because PPID is associated with dental disease and the will affect feed conversion. I would not be in a great hurry to increase protein intake until these issues have been sorted out, as high levels of protein that are not used for muscle formation, which will only occur at a low level in an older donkey, will increase the nitrogen load on the old kidneys. As a feed in older donkeys, particularly if they have bad teeth is Purina's Equine Senior. We had a small standard donkey that was living entirely on Equine Senior at the rate of 9 cups a day. He really got no other feed. In an animal with some dental ability, no sand, and controlled PPID, one might start at 6 cups a day, but I would definitely measure the donkey with a weight tape regularly, to monitor weight game and avoid the development of obesity. Be realistic about 'building her topline'. Metabolic disease driven by a PPID will determine the donkey's body confirmation, no matter what.
I recently noticed my mini donkey is eating manure. He has a salt lick and a mineral lick and he’s on senior feed and hay. I’m wondering if you’d have an explanation for this? He’s eating fine and seems normal but this seems odd.
All equines of all ages, but especially younger ones, will do a little "coprophagy" (eating manure). There is no evidence that this demonstrates a deficiency of any kind. My adult donkeys do it from time to time. It does not hurt them in any way and the only thing that I would worry about is that the donkey may be looking for more "environmental enrichment" (toys, logs to chew on, other donkeys to wrestle with, or some human interaction). You might try taking him for a walk daily or other activity. However, either way, don't worry about it.
I am looking to adopt a donkey and one of the ones I like at the SAC has a broken crest. Is this something that I would have to be concerned with if I adopted him? He is not overweight currently. Thank you for your help.
A broken crest is not a health problem for a donkey, as long as it is no longer obese. This condition does not affect that animal's soundness in any way, just its looks.
I have 3 sheep and 1 donkey. I give loose minerals to them all making sure there is little or no copper that would harm my sheep. However I believe the donkey does need copper. I feed them all together so it would be quite difficult to give donkey a separate mineral. Is there a pill something I can give her and not the sheep?
It is EXTREMELY unlikely that a donkey eating good quality forage would need copper supplementation. Unless your particular part of the country has severely copper deficient soils and forage (local agricultural extension office could tell you this), do not worry about copper supplementation.
How many hours a day is it normal for a donkey to lay down? One of my donkeys consistently lays down much more often than the other. Thank you!
So it looks like the small amount of information available on the amount of time that donkeys spend 'down' suggests that it is something like 1.75% of their daily cycle. Some researchers are working on using some modern technology to measure this more accurately. I think the owner of this donkey should consider pain as a possible cause, even though it is eating etc. A symmetrical gait does not guarantee lack of pain. Veterinary examination and the phenylbutazone (2-4 mg/kg or 1-2 mg/lb) test for a couple of days would be warranted.
What and how much should you feed a mini donkey? Thanks
Approximately 2% of their body weight in grass hay spread out over 2 - 3 feedings per day.
My parents teenage male donkey, Jock, is a bit overweight and the vet they use recommends confining him to a smaller corral to prevent him from eating too much hay. Another visiting vet said that his weight could cause him liver damage. I’m not sure how to help him get to a healthy weight again. Thank you for allowing me to ask for your expertise.
These are always tough cases. Yes, your veterinarian is right in that obesity can result in liver damage or a "fatty liver syndrome". Just like in other animals (dogs, cats, and humans....) losing excess weight is hard and takes time. Don't get impatient. It also takes both a decrease in digestible calories AND an increase in exercise. What we have had the best luck with is using a high fiber roughage, because it keeps the donkeys happy, gives them something to do, and exercises their digestive track without providing a lot of calories. The Donkey Sanctuary recommends Barley Straw (the stems of the barley plant without any grain on it) as the best roughage. the trouble is that in most of the USA barley is not a common crop. So, instead, we have used wheat straw and it has worked just fine. This is usually reserved for horse bedding in the USA, but donkeys can use it quite effectively as feed. Make sure that there are no wheat heads in the straw and have your donkey's mouth examined to make sure the teeth are in good shape. Obviously, the donkey needs to be fenced out of places where it can "help" the horses with their feed and NO green pasture. Donkey are just not evolved to live on highly digestible feeds. Then, start taking walks with your donkey or teach it how to do obstacle courses or (what I have done) train it to pull a wagon. Donkeys enjoy "having a job" and "getting out". They are very easy to train and it is FUN! The nutrients that donkeys need that are not found in straw, are few and can be supplemented with a variety of calorie free additions to the diet, that you can feed with a low-cal treat like some chopped carrots, cucumbers, or chard.
I have a 9 year old John and I have been considering turning him out with my weanling/yearling foals. I usually put out a lick tub for the babies. Would that be safe for my donkey? He truly believes he is a part of the show string horses as he lives with them now with daily turnout but I think he would be a good buddy for my little guys. If it is not safe for him to have access to the lick tub I will let him stay with the show horses. Thank you so much for your time and all the wonderful work you all are doing. Bless you
It depends a lot on what is in the lick tub. If it is salt, other electrolytes, and trace elements, then there really isn't any danger to the donkey. On the other hand if it contains highly digestible energy sources such as molasses, beet pulp, or fats/oils it could very well be harmful to a donkey, with its much lower energy requirement and high propensity for obesity.
I have a kill pen mule and her belly very extended her back hip bones are protruding more each day. Was wormed last month.
I would start with a good dental exam. Particularly with age this can seriously affect body condition and feed conversion. Deworming is a good idea, but a fecal exam 2 weeks after deworming will tell you if she has encysted small strongyles. She may require a Fenbendazole power pack. Deworming should always be evaluated by fecal analysis. We were teaching owners how to do these at the donkey welfare symposium. All you need is a child's microscope. After that, assuming the diet is adequate, it may be necessary to investigate further by some blood work: complete blood count (looking for evidence of anemia or internal abscesses), fibrinogen or Serum Amyloid A (measures of inflammation), and serum chemistries (looking at liver, kidney, and other organ function). This sounds like a lot but it is only two small tubes of blood. As a basic principle: it is better to invest the money on the front end, and get a diagnosis, than to simply try things hoping for improvement. The approach can waste time and end up expending more money (not to mention the mule's welfare), in the long run. Many mules do have a body form with prominent hip bones and a pendulous abdomen, but if you feel it is getting worse rapidly, the above is the approach that I would take.
I would also add that, depending on where the mule has come from and the selenium content of the soil, as well as the feed it has been on, it may be worthwhile to check the selenium and vitamin E status of this animal as well. These can also be run on the same two tubes of blood mentioned for the other diagnostics listed. Deficiency in one or both of these nutrients can result in muscle wasting. Additionally, if the mule is older (like >15 years of age), it may also be worthwhile to have your veterinarian check ACTH levels (also a blood test) to determine if the mule has Cushing’s disease (another illness that can result in muscle atrophy and a pendulous abdomen).
Is it okay to give a miniature donkey a Banamine shot when I think she might be possibly be starting to colic, please? Also could you tell me what the dosage should be, please?
There is some controversy over the exact dosage of flunixin (Banamine) in donkeys. Because they metabolize more rapidly than horses do, some have recommended a higher dose or giving it more frequently. More recently others have suggested sticking to the horse dosage because of concerns about toxicity. We use 1 mg/kg which is the horse dose and have found it efficacious and safe. Two other things to point out:
- Flunixin has the potential for hurting a donkey in several ways: it can injure the kidney at high doses or if the animal is dehydrated, it can cause gastric ulcers, and when give by intramuscular injection it can cause a serious bacterial infection call "Clostridal myositis". Any evidence of swelling or pain at the injection site should be addressed right away. This may require antibiotics or surgically opening the injection abscess. I would avoid intramuscular injection. Flunixin is well absorbed orally. We only give it by intravenous injection.
- If your donkey is colicing repeatedly a you should have a thorough veterinary workup. This should include a dental exam, blood panel, and, potentially abdominal ultrasound or radiography. this sounds like a lot, but colic means that there is something significant going on in the donkey's abdomen which could get worse and could be serious. Having a baseline of information will pay off in getting an accurate diagnosis. It would also be a very good idea to keep a record of any colic symptoms (agitation, rolling repeatedly, anorexia, etc) AND the donkey's heat cycles if it is a jennet. I actually keep a jennet who has mild colic episodes as part of her estrus. We prevent these will flunixin given orally when we know she is coming into heat.
Anyway, this topic is a bit more complex than it may seem...the short answer is 1 mg/kg, but get a diagnosis on the colic first.
Do donkeys need grain?
No, healthy donkeys should be fed a good quality grass hay. Supplemental grain is rarely needed. At PVDR, we only supplement those in poor body condition and nursing moms.
What is the best feed for a healthy donkey?
Peaceful Valley provides a good quality coastal bermuda grass hay for all of our general population. We feed 1-1/2% of their body weight daily and allow for competition and waste (about 10 pound for a standard.
I’m making a donkey rub for face flies, horn flies and such - I have been told to use 13.3% permethrin diluted with mineral oil - I was told diesel at first, but then they said that could harm or even kill them. Is mineral oil ok? Or is there something better?
I would definitely go with the mineral oil, rather than diesel. The fuel oil has additives, is flammable, and really smells bad, making the donkeys unlikely to use it, even if it wasn't poisonous. They do make Permethrin liquid for livestock repellent oilers which you can buy premixed. We have also used Neem Oil, which is a non-permethrin or pesticide, and non-toxic product that works on lice and may also work on flies.
I just bought a 2 year old donkey (size is between a mini and a standard). We just found out she is about 5 months pregnant. They told me she has never been wormed or vaccinated. Am I ok to give her all of her shots and dewormer now or should we wait until a certain gestation for the fetus?
There is no problem with deworming or vaccinating her at 5 months of pregnancy. In fact you should do that right away. I would add that in the last (12 th) month of pregnancy, I would give her another booster shot (you are going to do 2 now, about 3 weeks apart). That will maximize the immunity that she will pass to her foal in the colostrum milk. Good luck!
I have a female minature donkey she is about to turn 2 years old in April, she is my first donkey and I don't know much about what regular vaccines she will need as the other donkeys she is with don't receive any, I want to make sure she receives the best possible care and is properly vaccinated and dewormed but I don't know where to start if there is any help/advice that can help me she gets her hooves regularly trimmed and has been handled more than the other donkeys but I don't know her weight
Great! Glad you have a well handled mini and you are getting her hooves trimmed. The basic vaccines are similar to those used for horses: Tetanus (this is probably the most critical), Eastern and Western Equine encephalitis, and influenza (which is a much more serious disease in donkeys than it is in horses). These come in a mixed vaccine, which decreases the number of shots that your donkey will need. In some areas West Nile Virus is also recommended. If you are in a rural area, particularly in the northern half of the USA, rabies is a good idea. Some owners vaccinate for Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), but it is unclear as to whether or not donkeys make a response to this vaccine. Unless your donkey is exposed to a lot of horses, it is probably not necessary. You will need to go through an initial two shot series (spaced 2-4 weeks apart) to establish initial immunity if your donkey has not previously been vaccinated or if the vaccination history is unknown. Then you can do a yearly booster, usually in the spring or at the start of mosquito season (these insects are the vectors for EEE, WEE, and West Nile). For deworming, it is best to have some of her manure checked for parasite eggs, in fact doing this at least every spring is best for all your donkeys and horses. Checking every 3 months is better. It is difficult to give accurate worming advice without knowing geographic location and exposure to pasture. However, the minimum is usually deworming in the spring after frosts stop and grass is growing, and then again after last frost in the fall to get the "bot" (Gastrophilus) larvae in the stomach. Ivermectin, Fenbedazole, and Pyrantel Pamoate are all effective dewormers in donkeys. They are also very safe, so if you overestimate her weight a little it won't hurt anything. You can get a good estimate of donkey weight by using a weight tape and a chart provided by The Donkey Sanctuary (look at their web site for weight estimation). I hope this helps
I gave my 1 1/2 year old donkey a shot of penicillin for a cough and I think I might have done the injection to low on her neck…will this hurt her?
IF you gave the penicillin injection at the lower border of the neck muscles or over the cervical (neck) vertebrae you could cause your donkey to have a stiff neck , which you would have noticed soon after the injection. These will resolve with hot compresses and an analgesic like phenylbutazone ("bute") or Flunixin ("Banamine"). Very occasionally an injection between two vertebrae can enter the vertebral artery and cause severe neurologic damage. Neck injections should not be give more than 4 finger widths below the top of the neck in a standard donkey. You should also learn to palpate the cervical vertebrae to be sure that you are in the right place, because the widest part of the neck is not where injections should be given. Your local veterinarian can help you learn to feel the exact position of the vertebrae.
Do you know why your donkey was coughing? Some causes will respond to penicillin treatment, but many will not. Some common reasons for a cough are influenza virus, lung worms, and a dental problem. None of these will respond to an antibiotic, like penicillin, and besides problems associated with injections in the wrong place, using antibiotics are not a "no downside" approach. Using antibiotics, when they are not absolutely necessary, promotes antibiotic resistance in bacteria and may also cause changes in the intestinal microflora that can result in diarrhea or endotoxemia. Generally, to be successful as a treatment, penicillin needs to be given twice daily for 5 days to two weeks. That is only if the cough is caused by bacteria that are sensitive to penicillin. We would recommend getting a diagnosis of the cause of the cough before using antibiotics.
My grandma have a donkey and she has not been able to take care of it. I was just asking a question this donkey has a sore in the neck from the rope that has been in it and for years and I just don't know how to take care of it right now the cut is smelling very funky so I don't know if you can help me. I can tell me now to take care of the wound.
The first step is to remove any rope or halter from the donkey. It sounds like you need to contact your vet immediately, as your donkey probably needs antibiotics. Until the donkey can receive vet care, you need to clean the wound a minimum of two times a day with betadine or chlorhexidine and apply an antimicrobial ointment to the wound.
No donkey or any other animal should ever have a rope around its neck long enough to cause a wound like this.
I live in Florida and would like to know how often my donkeys should be vaccinated and what type of vaccine is best to give them?
The basic vaccine for all equids is Tetanus Toxoid and this should be given as a two shot series, spaced 2-4 weeks apart. After that the particular diseases are somewhat location dependent. For instance, in Norther California where I used to practice or in the northern tier of Midwestern states, Rabies is also a necessary vaccine. Further south the risk of rabies in equids is lower. Donkeys should be vaccinated yearly or even twice a year for influenza, because it is a more serious infection in donkeys than in horses. So donkeys that live in a group, especially if that includes horses that travel to shows or trail rides must be regularly vaccinated for influenza. All the virus encephalitis diseases: Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis, and West Nile Virus should all be part of a vaccination program in Florida, which is far south and has mosquito vectors that these diseases require for transmission. Finally, Equine Herpes virus 1 and 4 are a consideration. They can infect donkeys, though donkeys have their own Herpes viruses, for which there are no vaccines, and occasionally cause disease in stressed animals. The efficacy of Equine Herpes vaccines in donkeys has not been studied and may or may not give any protection. So that is controversial. In summary : In Florida I would make sure that donkeys are vaccinated for Tetanus, Influenza, EEE, WEE, VEE, and WNV yearly after an appropriate two shot initial series spaced 2-4 weeks apart. Vaccination for EHV 1 and 4 is a consideration but you should ask your local veterinarian about their opinion. I 'high traffic' situations, vaccinating twice a year for Equine Influenza is a good idea. All these vaccines come in a mixed "shot", which minimizes injections and , therefore, donkey unhappiness. There is absolutely no evidence that multiple antigen vaccines "overload" the immune system. Do not pay attention to misinformation in this area.
My female jenny has just had a foal and can't get near either. Female hasn't got near since I got her 5 months ago.. the baby needs shots...
The foal does not need its initial vaccinations until it is 6 weeks old (some would say 8 or 10). So you have some time. It will be harder to train the jennet with a foal, but it can be done. It will take time and patience. You will need to herd her into a pen that is maybe 12'x20' or 20'x20'. You can set that up with some panels from the feed store. Then you need to start by "hanging out": just be in a corner of the pen until the jennet or foal or both start taking an interest in you. Have some treats (we use slices of carrot) so that you can offer them if they come close. The foal will probably be easier, because you don't know the jennet's background and she may have had traumatic experiences with humans. It may be necessary to feed carrot slices in a rubber pan with you further away until she figures out that they taste good. Depending on the animal this can take a long time, but we have used the slow approach with some really wild donkeys, horses, and mules, and you can get there. Eventually, you will want to just carry a halter and a rope. Don't try to put them on, though, until they are really comfortable with you. We recommend Ben Hart (hartshorsemanship.com) as an advisor. He has a lot of good training plans and a ton of experience with difficult animals. If you can get the foal to eat out of your hand it will be easy to catch, but you should have somebody with experience handling foals to help you. There is a technique for holding them without a halter, which will allow vaccination, and you can easily get that done in 6 weeks. You then need to go ahead and get the pair trained to catch, halter, lead, and allow hoof trimming. None of this is "rocket science" it just takes time and patience....and what could be better than hanging out with donkeys?
My donkey is about 25 years old. He lives in New Mexico with a mare. Does he still need spring shots at his age. They make him very sore.
IF your donkey has been regularly vaccinated for tetanus he can probably skip vaccination at his age and still be protected. Equine Influenza would be the other concern, as this is a more severe disease in donkeys than in horses. If you do not take the mare to places where she might become infected (and she is vaccinated) or have "horse traffic" on your premises the donkey should be pretty safe. The other diseases of concern are transmitted by mosquitos ( encephalitis and West Nile Virus). If your area is arid and mosquitos are not a problem you would, again, be pretty safe. When we have a donkey that gets sore from vaccinations, we treat them ahead of time, with flunixin (Banamine). This prevents the soreness from developing. So a little NSAID pre treatment can make vaccination a lot easier.
Can I give my 6 month old donkey it's first shot?
That depends on the state. I believe you can no longer do that in California, for instance. As to what vaccines ("shots") to give it also depends on the part of the country. The basic and most important vaccine is for Tetanus. Donkeys, like all other equines, are very sensitive to the tetanus bacterium and its toxins. In other parts of the country, Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis, Rabies, West Nile Virus, or Lymm's Disease may also be necessary. Because donkeys are very susceptible to Equine Influenza that should be included, as it occurs everywhere. Equine Rhinopneumonitis (EHV-1 and EHV-4) is not protective in donkeys and should not be used. When it all shakes out, the best thing to do would be to consult with your local veterinarian, as it is their job to know these things. It would also be good to establish a relationship with a local veterinarian at least so you know their level of comfort with donkeys.
My donkey has developed pimples the whole of its body,kindly assist.
There are a number of possibilities that could cause small lumps or pimples: bacterial infection called "dermatophilus" or "rain rot", skin fungus, or allergic reaction, usually to some kind of arthropod (insect or mite). Washing the affected areas with a cold tar shampoo and then thoroughly drying the hair and doing what you can to keep the donkey dry during the winter would be a potentially successful approach. Rinsing with a mild disinfectant: white vinegar, or dilute betadine or chlorohexidine would work. However, neither of these will treat an allergy. So the best thing to do is really to get a diagnosis, which would involve your veterinarian taking a skin scraping or skin biopsy to identify the actual cause. That would be the best approach.
My donkey is 3-4 years overdue for shots because he threw a fit the last time we had the vet out and she refused to vaccinate him. He had a reaction to shots, but we found that he does not react to intervet, so we can use that brand. Is there a hands-off way to vaccinate donkeys? I am now hesitant to handle him because his rabies vaccine is so overdue, so it is a vicious cycle. I've contacted every local vet I could find to see if there were any chap chur tranquilizer gun type vaccination options, but everyone just tells me to bring him to their vet clinic, which we can't do. Does anyone do hands-off vaccines? What options might I have? Thank you.
You can administer vaccines remotely by blow dart or capture dart gun. These are used for wild animals and in zoo environments. It may be a short term solution. However, your donkey really needs to be trained to accept vaccines and medical handling. Relying on darts for the rest of the donkey's life is not a good idea and will not endear you to them. Further, if there is an emergency or if the dart equipment is unavailable or malfunctioning, there will be negative consequences. Assuming your donkey is basically trained (leads, ties up, and accepts hoof care), start by pushing into their neck with your finger and giving them a reward (we like carrot slices). Do this harder and harder until the donkey is used to pressure. Then take an empty syringe (without a needle) and do the same thing. You may have to just touch the donkey's skin the first time, but be patient, use rewards, and gently increase pressure until donkey will accept the syringe tip pushed into its skin. Then you need to get other people to do the same thing so that the donkey generalizes the fact that it does not need to fear the syringe and procedure. Eventually, using proper injection technique, a veterinarian will be able to vaccinate you donkey. We do this all the time and it works quite well. If this sounds like a lot of work, it is! However, if you figure that your donkey will likely live another 30 years, this training will alleviate a lot of potential problems and welfare issues. Donkeys can be restrained more easily than horses. Using two panels or gates to "pin" them against a fence and just giving them a quick injection will also work, as will simply "snubbing" them to a strong post so that they cannot rear or back up can be done without injury. One would NEVER do this with horses. However, this sort of force should only be used in emergency situations, when there is no time to do the training. We really encourage you to work with your donkey. It will get over its aversion to vaccines given patience and enough time ("donkey time"). This has worked with donkeys and mules that are absolutely wild. We hope to get a video up in the next month demonstrating the technique.
Our 20 year old Donkey received vaccines a few days ago, because of a rabid Bat within 7 miles of our location they asked to ad Rabies to his vaccines he is also compromised with PPID , he has had severe reactions within the day of his vaccines, he became dripping wet within a short time as well as weakness in his back limbs, we were told that its because vaccines make the immune system work overtime and this is not unusual. I do not think this is the case, I have had horses for 40 years and not have seen this before, is it the Rabies shot..we have a horse also 20 wh had the same shots, he is also not himself but nothing like our Donkey
It would be helpful to know what brand of rabies vaccine was used. GENERALLY, rabies vaccine (which in all cases is a killed vaccine, that is there is no living virus in the vaccine) is one of the ones that are least likely to cause a reaction. I would not say that vaccines of any kind make the immune system "work overtime". They do expose the immune system to a foreign material that may, in the animal's future pose the threat of infection, thus readying the immune system for a normal response. When reactions to vaccines occur it is because the donkey (human or any animal) has developed a hypersensitivity (or allergy) to some part of the vaccine. this could be the killed virus, the carrying agent, or the adjuvant (something that is added to improve the normal immune response). You can test the donkey for its level of immunity to rabies. This would be a good idea rather than repeating the vaccination (usually done in 1 year). Vaccine reactions are very rare but any animal can develop a hypersensitivity to just about anything. The reason for this the subject of a large amount of research, and the causes are controversial. The most important vaccinations for donkeys are tetanus and influenza, followed by virus encephalitis (West Nile, EEE and WEE) in some parts of the country.
Hi, I own a mini mare hinny that was used for roping, she is affraid of human's. I purchased her and her sister from a local rescue. I've been rehabilitating my two hinnies for about 3 months. The sister is coming along nicely I can pretty much do anything with her. The hinny I'm writing about is very, very slowly learning to trust me. My question, the hinny has slip her halter off of one ear and the halter is rubbing her skin in front of her ear and behind the other ear, she came with the halter on. She needs to be sedated to remove her halter. My vet has tried 3 different type sedations. Using a blow gun, Doseamine IM, orally Acepromazine 1 1/2 ml in grain didn't work gave her another 1 1/2 ml with grain 40 minutes after the first dose, no effect. Today, 50 mg's of Aceprom tabs in her grain, no results. My vet is and equine vet, but because she is a hinny and weights about 275 pounds he's at a loss of what to give her and the dosage. Do you have any suggestions? The medication needs to go in her grain.
For mules you need to go with 1 1/2 to 2x the dose of Detomidine (Dormosadan). We would use 0.02 -0.08 mg/kg in a horse. So I would go at least 0.08 - 0.12 mg/kg IM or orally in a mule. Then you need to wait 40 minutes without ANY stimulation. Acepromazine will never adequately sedate a significantly scared animal. It just 'takes the edge off' and prevents windup anxiety. Detomidine gel is available and can be mixed with grain. Some will eat it, some won't. As with any sedation in a really wild or frightened animal you may get what appears to be profound sedation, only to have it spook and run off when approached. Personally, i would construct an alley with a side gate chute, as you see at rodeo arenas. Then habituate the mule to this restraint with feed. Allowing the mule two walk through the chute for several days. Once that is done using treats and calm words (and maybe a little Detomidine in the feed) you can slip the halter off or readjust it. You can also use the chute to help gentle the mule. The chute can be made with four 6" posts set in concrete so that the top rail is 5-6 feet high. Use 2x6 planks for the sides and put it together with screws, not nails. You will need a gate at the front, one at the back, and on at least one side, and an "v" shaped alley at the back to make it possible to get the mule in to the chute. All this minimizes trauma to the animal and makes it possible to quietly restrain them.
There are protocols for dart immobilization of mules, donkeys, and horses. As with any sort of drug based approach there are always going to be risks.
What do recommend for vaccines annually?
While necessary vaccines differ depending on management system and part of the country, the Core vaccines are:
- Tetanus (tetanus toxoid)
- Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis (EEE and WEE)
- Equine influenza (this is different from horses where influenza is not necessarily a core vaccine. "Flu" is a much more serious disease in donkeys.)
- West Nile Virus (WNV) (in most parts of the country)
Note: all vaccines should be properly started with a single injection, followed by a second ('booster') injection 2-3 weeks later. Failure to do this may result in incomplete immunity. Further booster vaccinations should be given on a yearly basis. EEE, WEE, and WNV should be boostered before the spring mosquito season starts. In parts of the country where mosquitos are active year around, repeating the EEE, WEE, and WNV vaccines every 6 months may be a good idea. If donkeys are transported frequently, or exposed to a large, transient horse population influenza vaccine may need to be given more than once a year.
Other vaccines that may be important:
- Rabies: in some parts of rural USA rabies is common in the raccoon, skunk, fox, or bat populations. In these areas equines, including donkeys should be vaccinated for local rabies recommendations.
- Potomac Horse Fever : donkeys are theoretically susceptible to this disease and in parts of the country where the disease is common (east and south east) vaccination should be considered. This vaccine can be purchased as mixed with rabies vaccine.
- Streptococcus equi or "strangles" : donkeys are susceptible to this equine disease. Control methods are controversial and should be discussed with your local veterinarian. Quarantine and Hygiene will generally keep this contagious disease out of a herd. Both live and killed vaccines exist, but they are associated with complications and should only be used in special situations.
What vaccine should I give my donkey?
It is always best to check with an equine veterinarian for any specific needs in your area.
At PVDR, we use the following:
Vetera Gold XP + VEE is a combination vaccine for use in healthy horses 4 months of age and older as an aid in the prevention of disease caused by: Equine Influenza Virus (type A2), Equine Encephalomyelitis (Eastern, Western and Venezuelan), Equine Rhinopneumonitis (EHV-1 and EHV-4), Tetanus and West Nile Virus. Vetera Gold XP + VEE aids in the reduction of severity of clinical disease caused by West Nile Virus. It protects against the Ohio/03 (Clade 1), Richmond/07 (Clade 2) and Kentucky/95 Equine Influenza Virus strains. Available in 1 dose/1 ml syringe or 10 dose/10 ml vial.
Hi from Australia!!
We have a small herd of mini and micro donkeys (14) and we have had a recent outbreak of salmonella. We have lost numerous young donkeys and I am extremely worried about the rest of my herd, it has been utterly devastating!
Ive been working with equine specialist vets, however no one here in Australia is particularly experienced with this condition in donkeys. I have strict bio security measures in place, including all feed off the ground, kept animals in the groups and paddocks they were in (as per vets advice for the next two weeks then move to fresh pasture). While hopefully things seemed to have settled for the time being (most diahorrea has stopped) Im really wishing to know what we can do to help them. There is conflicting advice between vets and I would really appreciate your thoughts. From my research, there is evidence adding pro biotics can assist in healing? I really dont want to lose any more donkeys, we adore them and they are family. Please help!! Many thanks, Kate
I am not sure that I can add a great deal to what your consulting veterinarians have already provided. Salmonellosis in donkeys has not been studied in any detail except on large commercial "feed lot" operations in China, where the donkeys are being raised for their hides, the raw material for traditional ejiao, a Chinese medicine supplement. So, most recommendations will be extrapolated from what has been done in horses. However, it is important to emphasize that in horses, and all other species of which I am aware, clinical salmonellosis is a disease of animals that are crowded or stressed. This includes swine, chickens, and cattle. It is seen in horses at large veterinary hospitals, racetracks, and breeding farms where animals, though they may be very well cared for, live in numbers and close quarters to which their species is not very well adapted. I do not know the size of your operation, but I would look at sources of stress and try to prevent crowding. Once pathogenic salmonella become established on a premises they can be very hard to get rid of. Suspect carriers or those that have diarrhea, should be very strictly quarantined, requiring at least six consecutive negative cultures from a laboratory experienced in growing these organisms, before they can be in contact with the general population. There is a PCR test that may also be helpful. It is very sensitive, but a positive test does not mean there are live salmonella because the test will amplify any piece of bacterial DNA. Probiotics are controversial. There is good evidence that they can decrease the chance of post operative colic surgery cases from developing diarrhea, but whether they can prevent or heal an invasive salmonella infection is questionable. They are often used because, except for their expense, they have no "down side". Again, I would look at ways in which your donkeys can be kept in small separate groups more in line with the way donkeys have evolved. I hope this helps.
Hi, I just recently noticed that today while my donkey was eating his jaw kept crossing over and locking. Almost like he was moving his bottom jaw to far to the right and locking it. He never locked it shut to where his mouth wasn’t opened, it would lock as he was chewing on his food and his mouth would be opened. I noticed that when they eat they don’t go up and down to chew they go left to right and it looked like his jaw was locking when he was doing that. I’m asking to see if this is tetanus as when I looked it up it said that locking jaw is a disease in horses that is caused by a bacteria that goes in through wounds. Most of them say it is a fatal infection unless you get shots. Does this sound like what he may have. If it is, should I get the shots I don’t think he has gotten any. I didn’t see anything on donkeys but I’m assuming horses and donkeys have similar diseases and problems.
Donkeys, like horses, are very sensitive to the toxin of the bacterium Clostridium tetani. ALL equids should be vaccinated for tetanus (the disease caused by this toxin) yearly, starting with two dosed given 2-4 weeks apart. This is, by far, the most important vaccine. So you need to get your donkey vaccinated (and any other donkeys or horses/mules that you may have). Because he has not been vaccinated before, he will require the two dose "start" for his immunity . This is given as preventative and will not help an animal that already has the disease. Your donkey DOES NOT have tetanus, though. The name "lock jaw" refers to the most prominent symptom in humans with tetanus. The toxin causes rigid muscle spasms which will result in the donkey arching its back, being unable to move, and eventually falling to the ground "stiff as a board". However, the earliest and most prominent symptom is a prolapse of the third eyelid, a pink piece of tissue that comes up from the corner of the eye that is nearest to the nose. I have never seen an animal with tetanus that did not do this, and it is caused by a spasm of the muscles that control this smooth sheet of tissue that wipes across the eye. Humans do not have a third eyelid. Animals with tetanus rarely recover, but with tranquilization to avoid spasms, penicillin (an antibiotic to which Clostridium tetani is very sensitive), and tetanus antitoxin (which provides immediate but short-term immunity and is different from a vaccine), some do survive. The chewing that you describe is almost certainly the result of a dental problem that is causing your donkey's jaw to "catch" as his jaw rotates in chewing. As donkeys age they wear their teeth, and this can result in an uneven chewing surface preventing the teeth from smoothly sliding over each other as they grind their food. You should have his mouth examined by a competent veterinarian or equine dentist as soon as possible. Another possibility is an injury to or arthritis of one or both tempero-mandibular joints (TMJ), that attach his jaw to his skull. Diagnosis of a TMJ problem will require x-rays, and can be quite treatable depending on the exact problem and degree of injury. So, don't worry about your donkey having tetanus now, but make sure you get any equids on the farm vaccinated with Tetanus Toxoid (the technical name of the vaccine for tetanus) just as soon as possible, and have his teeth examined at the same time.
Hi, we have two 3 year old Jennys on a dry corral in CA. Recently, they have begun rubbing their noses on the fences or on their legs and giving some snorts, and have watery eyes, one more than the other. So the hair is patchy and skin is showing through also on their chests and neck areas (basically wherever they can scratch. Diet is 1/2 orchard, 1/2 teff 2x a day; vaccinations and worming up to date- very well cared for, spoiled!
Any ideas or advice here. Thank you.
It sounds like your donkeys have developed an allergy or hypersensitive reaction to something in their environment. There are a lot of possibilities, and they are not always easy to track down. I would start by looking at the hay. Have you gotten a new batch recently? Is there any mold in the hay? Then I would consider insects. These can vary a lot from one geographic location to another, and because California rarely had serious freezes to kill insects (were are in the Sacramento Delta and that is certainly true here) the bugs are never completely gone. Are there changes in their bedding or any kind of excavations nearby that might be producing irritating dust? The good news is that these sorts of irritants are usually seasonal. Antihistamines or mild steroid medications may be necessary to get the hypersensitivity under control. Finally, look very closely at their mane and chest hairs for lice, which are about the size of a pen point and move. Their eggs or "nits" stick to hairs, again, often in the main. They are also tiny, but if you notice a lot of hairs with similar sized oblong bodies sticking to them, you probably have lice. Lice can be treated with Equispot (a pyrethrin) or Neem Oil baths. These need to be repeated in a week after the initial dose to kill the new lice when the hatch. Your veterinarian can look at donkey hair with a microscope to diagnose lice.
Are Panacur Power Packs safe for donkeys? A vet new to my area recommended this for my 2 donkeys as my horse is being treated with one. The doc didn't seem incredibly comfortable in his donkeys knowledge so I want to check with y'all.
We use Fenbendazole power packs on donkeys that may have heavy parasite loads and encysted small strongyles. This is when the worms infect the donkey, but instead of completing their life cycles and laying eggs, they burrow into the mucosa of the intestines and form cysts that antihelminthics (dewormers) penetrate poorly or not at all. This protects the parasite and they "hide" there until environmental conditions are right, usually spring increase in pasture quality, and "de-encyst" causing mucosal irritation and the production of eggs that contaminate the pasture. Fenbendazole is probably the safest of all antihelminthics and power packs are safe for donkeys. The biggest concern is that overuse and administering at sub-therapeutic dosages can result in the development of parasite resistance to the agent. For this reason we use other antihelminthics for most deworming, keeping Fenbendazole "in reserve". Using once as a "power pack" would not be a problem, however.
Does Ivermectin is good for a 6 months old donkey who never been dewormed? Thank you
Ivermectin is an appropriate wormer for a 6 month old donkey. Be sure and make an accurate estimation of its weight and follow the dosage directions on the paste or liquid that you will be using. In young animals that have not been previously dewormed, it is sometimes recommended that ½ doses of wormer be given daily for 2 days, then wait for 5 days before giving a full dose. The idea is to kill the large ascarid worms (Parascaris equorum) more slowly so that they do not create a small intestinal impaction. Also, because benzimidazoles like Fenbendazol (Panacur) do not paralyze ascarids as rapidly as ivermectin you might consider using this approach. However, in general both ivermectin and fenbendazole are equally safe and effective. It is a good idea to have a fecal egg count done to get some idea of the actual parasite load both before and after treating for parasites. These are easily done and inexpensive. Just get a fresh fecal ball from each donkey in a plastic bag to your veterinarian. If you need to, they can be refrigerated overnight to prevent destruction of the microscopic worm eggs that the test is made to detect.
I adopted a 4 year old gelding donkey that was headed to slaughter. He had areas of his coat that werealmost bald. I thought he would shed out more and even out, however, he has not in the past six weeks. I do not see signs of lice. I’m not sure what to do. I’m new to the donkey world. I love my guy. He’s incredibly gentle.
Glad you are enjoying your rescue donkey and I admire your willingness to worry about and care for him. The baldness pattern that you describe does sound like lice. So I would look again, very closely, combing through the hair on the sides of his neck and in his mane, under good light, because the little buggers can be very hard to see. However, there are certainly other things that could cause this condition. Making sure he is on a good diet, with a trace mineral supplement designed for donkeys, and maybe a tablespoon of flax seed once a day would be a good place to start. Simply grooming can help too. Getting rid of broken hairs that may be the result of previous poor nutrition and care, will improve how he looks and the brushing will stimulate circulation in the skin. Also fly control, using a good repellent like Piranha or a fly sheet (if the flies are really bad) would be a good idea. Finally, donkeys do tend to have sensitive skin. If bald areas persist or if you actually get ulcers on the skin, having a biopsy taken will determine if there is an allergic condition going on that might require anti inflammatories, such as an anti-histamine.
Our 2 week old baby donkey is getting ticks. What's your treatment suggestion?
Tick sprays (like fipronil) used on dogs will kill ticks on donkeys. You can also put liquid Ivermectin on individual ticks and it will kill them and make them drop off. While these are all safe for donkeys, even young ones, you might also consider sponging a Neem oil solution on your donkey. You can buy Neem oil in the garden section of the hardware store. Follow the dilution directions for insects on plants and saturate the hair coat.
We have 3 rescue donkeys and one in particular ha alot of hair loss, like like its been bit off, possibly by herself. They are all 3 itchy. We have not seen any bugs or mite but want to rule that out. They are not at all fond of baths so i don't know exactly how to do a medicated shampoo. It's there another option? How can we treat them?
The first thing that you need to rule out is lice. These are very common in donkeys because of their thick coarse hair coat. They can be hard to find, but if you look in the hair over the main and on the sides of the neck you will be able to see either the adult lice or their eggs (nits). The lice are about half the size of a small ant and do not move very much. You may need a magnifying glass to see them. If something looks suspicious pick it up with some clear scotch tape and look at it under a glass or a microscope. The eggs are smaller still, but can be identified by finding small dark bodies attached to hairs. You can tell them from dandruff particles because they will all be exactly the same size. Mites are much rarer and are smaller still. They require a skin scraping or biopsy to identify them. In donkeys the hair loss from scabies mites is usually on the side of the legs. The reason for making a diagnosis before treatment is that you may waste a lot of time, money, and energy treating for something that is not the problem. Lice respond to a topical agent called "Equispot", Ivermectin given orally, or Neem Oil baths. You would have to repeat the treatment in 1 week three times to be sure that you get rid of all the eggs, because these treatments only kill the adults and you will have to wait for remaining eggs to hatch. Mites are killed by giving oral Ivermectin paste or liquid (1 ml of 1% Ivermectin per 100 lbs), but this may need to be repeated. Another common cause of hair loss in donkeys is insect bite allergies. For whatever reason, donkeys seem to be more susceptible to this problem than horses. If that is the case, fly repellents or a fly sheet, along with anti-inflammatory ointments on the itchy/bald areas is the treatment. It was just a matter of keeping the flies off and his skin healed up
I'm not to sure if this would be considered parasites but worth the avian flu going around a lot of research i found said to add 8oz of h202 to the water of poultry. There is no way that i can completely lock down my birds. This is where the donkey question comes in. I read that it is safe and healthy fly horses cattle pigs and such but nothing mentions donkeys. As my birds will drink out of the same water troughs as my donkeys... would the donkeys be okay with h202 in their water. Thank you so much
While Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is safe for all species, including donkeys, in a dilute form, in water, I think it should be pointed out that its effectiveness against influenza viruses is as a cleaning agent, usually in the activated form with Peroxyacetic Acid. Simply mixing H2O2, as one might buy at a pharmacy, with water, is going to lead to a reaction that releases H2O (water) and O2 (oxygen gas), without having any residual virus killing effects. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (AHPIS) of USDA recommends peroxides for cleaning watering and feed facilities for poultry, not as a feed or water supplement. If you do decide to use it in water it will not hurt your donkeys.
Our donkey has not ate for five days.
He has red mucus membranes but a 2 second capillary refill.
Vet checked him over- heart, lungs, guts sounds all normal.
No elevated pulse or temperature in hooves.
No tenderness when hooves were tested.
Irregular gate- picking up feet higher than normal and not able to turn around in big strides. Small steps are required to create the movement.
Temperature was 32 Celsius. Tubed with minerals warm water and electrolytes. Double blanketed and in barn (Saskatchewan Canada so cold out).
Temperature has increased. Water consumed but only with us putting his head in the pail and being patient for 20 minutes while he drank. Has not ate.
Rectal exam by vet found Faeces in his rectum.
No idea why he is not moving properly and not eating or drinking. Was given electrolytes and banamine. No improvement.
There are a number of things that could be causing your donkey's problem. It is good that you have checked gums and taken his temperature. However, this is likely more complex than something an antibiotic and Banamine is going to fix. I cannot tell if he has passed any manure from your description. If not, he may have a large or small colon impaction. Donkeys will get these especially in the winter and can be hard to clear up. Giving fluids, either IV or by stomach tube may need to be done several times. However, the gait is also of concern and could still be from pain in his feet (donkeys don't react to hoof testers as well as horses do) or his muscles. You need to have your veterinarian do some lab work to establish if there is infection or inflammation ( this is done be a CBC or 'complete blood count') and look at kidney, muscle, and liver function with a clinical chemistry panel. I would also consider a neurologic problem, which is harder to diagnose. Your veterinarian should complete a neurologic exam.
Can my donkey groom himself after being sprayed with ultra shield ex absorbine? He is a 6 month old miniature and he has what I believe is lice. He is quite often grooming himself and biting to itch.
Ultrashield , most Pyrethrin/Permethrin insecticides, is pretty non toxic (do NOT use it on cats though....). So your mini grooming himself after being treated will not be a problem. If he is itching because of lice, you should be able to see the lice and lice eggs (nits) on his main region. You may need a magnifying glass to see them. Look for a bunch of pinhead sized structures that are all the same size. Of course if they are also moving they are the actual lice. We have used a product called Equispot or Neem Oil to treat lice. One reason for actually identifying the lice is that if they are NOT there and he is itching, it may be due to a skin allergy to something else, which would require a different treatment. Minis are especially prone to skin allergy.
Lice can be really hard to get rid of. We are struggling with an infestation in some research donkeys that we are going to re-home. You can apply diluted Neem oil by sponging it on or by spraying. The hardest part is that donkey hair is coarse and dry and it is really hard to get the solution down to the base of the hairs. I would seriously scrub it in and get them as wet as you can, once a week. You could also use a dog flea shampoo that contains pyrethrin. Similarly, get the shampoo scrubbed into the skin thoroughly. There are pyrethrin resistant lice. So if you are not making progress, you may have to do Neem Oil too. your donkey did not get the lice from the hay or chickens.. Lice are "species specific" so donkey lice only infect donkeys and chicken lice only infect chickens. they would have to have come fom another donkey, pony, or horse. It is possible to have animals carry lice for a long time and not show symptoms. Then the population can build up and start causing symptoms. They are not easy to see and are often missed until there are many.
My standard donkey experienced what I would call a severe case of lungworm- she was treated with ivermectin. Her symptoms ceased this was 6 days ago- she has not been eating or pooping she is drinking water. I think she may be constipated can I give her mineral oil?
It is possible that your donkey has an obstruction of the bowel, which could be an impaction or constipation. It could also be that she has some irritation of the intestines as a result of killing a lot of intestinal parasites with the ivermectin. There are also a number of other possibilities. If she has not been eating that long, she really needs a veterinary exam. To give mineral oil requires the placement of a tube through the donkey's nose into the stomach. The problem with giving mineral oil by mouth is that it does not stimulate a swallowing reflex and you will not be able to give enough to actually reach an obstruction of the colon. If you force it, the mineral oil can go into the lungs and cause real problems. If you want to try to lubricate the bowel, we would recommend feeding a mash of pellets soaked into a gruel with warm water and a cup of psyllium bran added to it. You can buy psyllium at health food stores or at a pharmacy, where it is sold as Metamucil. Again, a veterinary diagnosis would be the best idea.
I have a female miniature donkey who has a mite condition in both ears. At the advice of local veterinarians, I have treated her several different ways for 2 years. Ivermectin paste by mouth, ivermectin injectable(drops in each ear), and Martin’s permethrin synergized (lightly swab inner and outer ear) The vet is saying that she will probably only get well in a dryer climate. Do you know anything else I can do? I live in south Florida and am considering asking if she can be rescued and put in a dryer climate.
t is true that donkeys are adapted to an arid climate, and generally humidity and tropical moisture can cause a variety of health problems, ranging from hoof problems to excessive weight gain in a verdant pasture. I would be very interested to know what species of mites are in your donkey's ears and if your veterinarian diagnosed the problem with a skin scarping, ear swab, or biopsy. In North America, mite infestations are very rare in equines, including donkeys. You could send me the diagnostic information and a picture of your donkey's ears if possible. I have a colleague here at UCD who is a dermatologist with an interest in donkey skin problems and he might have an idea on how to successfully solve this problem. It could also be that your donkey has a hypersensitive reaction to insect bites and, if so, would respond to anti-inflammatory medications, insect repellent, and a fly mask with ear coverings. It would be worthwhile to look into these options before trying to re-home your donkey to Arizona.
Our winter was extremely wet and the ticks are horrible already, and flies will be along soon. I've been given conflicting information on what is safe to use for insect-control for donkeys, and I don't want to use anything that has the potential to harm my little herd. Are edible fly control products safe? What's the best product to repel ticks? I'm at a loss, so any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
Edible fly control products are safe for the donkey, but likely not too good for other insects and nematodes in the environment. We use Piranah Wipe and Spray for flies and it works well. However, those that are particularly sensitive may require leg protection such as "pants" in attached picture. We always use fly masks on our donkeys in the fly season as their eyes are much more sensitive than horses. We have used Equispot for lice and ticks, though the latter is not that common in our arid area. Other things that may work for ticks are sulfur powder or rinse. I use this on myself when in the tropics for ticks and chiggers. It does not smell great, but is very effective. Some research has demonstrated that Neem oil, which can be mixed 50:50 with some other light oil (vegetable, corn, peanut) and used as a wipe on tick prone areas. Neem oil can be used full strength on the ticks themselves as can Ivermectin liquid, to get them to release.
I am a Massachsetts sattelite for PVDR, awaiting more donkeys. I do my own local rescue as well. I have a very sick donkey seen and treated by 3 veterinarians. Most recent vet is suspecting a rare disease for donkeys called Besnoitia. The donkey is a standard female about 8 years old. she was part of a "donkey" train from TX about 7 weeks ago. dropped into a home with kids who had never owned equines. No paperwork, no contract. The donkey was sick with pneumonia and first vet treated for 3 weeks with antibiotics. the donkey got better but not 100%. was still intermittently spiking a fever up to 102. A second vet was called in and treated with more anitibiotics and ran blood work. blood work WNL. a few days later the donkey aborted a foal, no one new or had diagnosed pregnancy. The donkey attached one of the small children and the family asked the vet to find it a new home. He contacted me and I have the donkey. She has a good appetite but has not gained like I think she should have by now. She has had no fever for the past week. Her snotty nose has cleared. She does have an occasional cough. She has what appear to be old bug bites, crusty small lumps on neck. ( not rain rot). She seems depressed as I am keeping her alone away from others due to vet thinking she has Besnoitia. She can see other equines. She is still on antibiotics - SMZ's per vet. I am hoping, since his donkey travelled from TX, you may have something to offer in regards to treatment, ideas, or advice. I just want to see this sweet donkey thrive.
Thank you for your time.
Besnoitia is difficult to diagnose, and the mode of transmission is unknown. Probably the best one could do would be to biopsy one of those skin lesions to see if the parasite could be found there. Most cases have been reported in the North East rather than Texas or the desert west. So, while I cannot be sure this is not a case of Besnoitia, it seems less likely, given this donkey's recent arrival in Massachusetts. I would suggest repeating the blood count and including either a measurement of Fibrinogen or Serum Amyloid A (SAA). These are more sensitive indicators of inflammation and between transport and abortion it is very possible that this donkey has a pleural or uterine infection. I know it is getting TMZ but this antibiotic has a lot of bacterial resistance problems and will not necessarily protect the donkey. It would also be interesting to know what blood work was run, particularly in reference to liver function. The donkey's behavior may also be a result of separation, especially if it is not able to directly interact with other donkeys or horses. I understand that Besnoitia transmission is a concern, but as we don't know the way this parasite transmits anyway, you might be just as well off to put the new donkey in with others.
Three-year old white mini-donkey. Itching his forehead and neck so badly he has open, bloody wounds. I get the wounds healed and he scratches them raw again. Nothing in diet has changed. Gets sprayed for insects twice a day. Nothing there has changed. He wears fly mask and fly sheet. He is on an antibiotic course now because the wounds were so awful. Early on he got an ivermectin injection. We tried two steroid shots. He has just started anti-fungal skin allergy granules that I put with his flax seed in the morning. He also gets a few carrot bits in the morning. His wounds are also treated topically with antibiotic ointment and an anti-fungal antiseptic spray. Started with one little scaly patch over his eye on March 15. Little spots came and went. Now it has blown up. We live in Colorado. Last spring/summer he was fine. I am worn out. Help. ❤️
This does sound like a severe hypersensitivity to insect bites. However, it could also be a number of other autoimmune conditions. A couple of questions: What was the response to the steroid injections (and can you tell me which steroid was used and how much)? Was a skin scraping done to identify the presence of fungus, since he is being treated for that now? I know these skin conditions in donkeys can be very frustrating to treat and you seem to be doing everything that you can to prevent the insect exposure. The problem is there just isnt' a repellent that is 100% effective and, in a hypersensitive animal, it just takes one little bite. It also seems paradoxical that this sort of condition can develop when the donkey did not have the problem in the past. However, allergies can develop over time and there is a myriad of interactions between the animal, its immune system, other creatures, and the environment that can make skin lesions come on without an apparent reason. I would recommend a careful skin biopsy (this should include samples from several different lesions that include the overlying hair and dry skin layers). The first thing is to be sure what you are dealing with and microscopic analysis of the lesions, with the need to do special stains to identify the type of reaction, is the only way that I know of to decide on a therapy. Trying to save money without doing the diagnostics will result in more being spent on unsuccessful treatment, not to mention prolonging the misery that your donkey is experiencing. There are several medications that can quell these hypersensitivities, though they may take some time to work. We can also arrange to have a dermatologist expert in donkey skin issues consult on the samples. Good luck, and, as one who has a donkey like this himself, I completely understand your frustration.
I have a 4 week old mini baby jack that is shaking his head and itching his ears against everything he can, including us and only stops if we rub his ears for him. At that point he is in total heaven. I believe he has mites. How can I treat them?
Before I thought about mites, I would think lice. Bovicola equi is common in donkeys and can cause considerable itching. The parasite is hard to see and often lives in the mane and on the ears. There are a number of treatments that range from Equispot to Neem Oil. Flea sprays that are used on dogs and cats will also work. You can look for the lice eggs in the mane and on the hair. They are tiny (pin head sized) grayish ovals that are attached to the hair. Whatever treatment you use, repeat in 1 week or a new "hatch" of lice will come right back again. Also, if one donkey has lice they probably all do. Mites (Sarcoptes) can occur in donkeys. If you swab the inside of the ear or take some crusts off the skin to your veterinarian they can identify these rare parasites. In some parts of the country there is also a "spinous ear tick" (Otobius megnini) that can live and reproduce down in the ear canal. This is easy to treat with a commercial tick spray, Neem oil, or a pyrethrin. To find these you would need an "otoscope" to look down into the ear canal. I have never seen ear ticks in donkeys but they do occur in horses and cattle, and there is no reason why the might not get into donkey ears. Again, these are rare, and usually cause a little head shaking and no itching.
Is there a particular Strongicide Based wormer that you recommend for donkeys?
Ivemectin, Pyrantel Pamoate (Strongid), and Fenbendazol (Panacur, including the Panacur "power pack") are all safe and effective in donkeys. Unfortunately, this is not based on the same sort of research as has been done in horses, but that would require killing experimental animals and counting worms in their intestines, which I will not do. This is based on a lot of experience doing the next best thing: counting parasite eggs in the manure after deworming. Remember that deworming programs only work if you take the environment, climate, and individual immunity of the donkeys into consideration. This is best done by fecal analysis and good manure control, followed by the use of dewormers when necessary.
Question on worming
Jan/July you use Ivermectin
I have 5 Australian Shepherds and they can’t be exposed to that wormer due to drug sensitivities.
If they eat livestock poop treated with ivermectin they can become very ill.
What else can I use comparable to Ivermectin???
I’ve used the other products as those are not a problem
This is a question I get fairly frequently at the lab, and I’ve spoken to our Toxicologist about it extensively. The maximum excretion of ivermectin in the feces of horses happens around 24 hours but it can then linger for several days—up to 9 days or so. That said, for a 50 lb dog, it would have to consume about 2 kgs of manure (at peak levels of excretion) to get a toxic dose. That’s a lot of poop that would have to be eaten! The bigger, and more common occurrence (and I have seen this happen!), is dogs consuming de-wormer that has fallen from a horse’s mouth. So it is definitely a good idea to keep your dog in the house while you are actively de-worming your horses at the very least.
While individual collie breed dogs can be sensitive to ivermectin, there are no reported cases of intoxication from eating the feces of herbivores that have been treated with ivermectin. It is likely that the concentration is just too low to be a problem. Other anthelminthics can be used for all parasites except bots, which will require treatment with ivermectin. This should be done after the first hard frost in the winter. As always, deworming plans should be based on regular fecal analysis to insure that treatments are at the right time and neither done too frequently or not often enough. All anthelminthics can have effects on environmental invertebrates such as soil nematodes and dung beetles. So over worming not only wastes money, but affects the environment.
Should donkeys be wormed every month?
The most important part of a deworming program is the analysis that you do by running a fecal analysis, from time to time on your animals. Worming every month may be too much or just right depending on the microenvironment on your pasture. This is almost impossible to evaluate in every individual case. So collecting a few fecal samples, and having them analyzed for worm eggs (which are microscopic) is essential to getting parasite control right. You should be able to get with your vet about doing the analysis. The analysis does not require expensive equipment: basic microscope (the kind they use in elementary or HS biology labs will do), some glass slides, and kitchen salt (and a few measuring tools).
I have two donkeys and three goats with plenty of room to roam on five acres. There is also plenty of weeds/grass to browse in Spring and early Summer.
Per your website, I have been diligently deworming them every three months. However, with such a small population over such a large area, I’ve heard that this frequency is not necessary.
The most important part of a deworming program is the analysis that you do by running a fecal analysis from time to time on your animals .Both donkeys and goats are sensitive to what are called "strongyle" parasites. However, they do NOT cross infect each other (goats get goat worms, donkeys donkey worms and "never the twain shall meet"). Worming every three months may be too much, not enough, or just right depending on the microenvironment on your pasture. This is almost impossible to evaluate in every individual case. So collecting a few goat & donkey fecal samples and having them analyzed for worm eggs (which are microscopic) is essential to getting parasite control right. You should be able to get with your vet to do the fecal analysis. The analysis does not require expensive equipment: basic microscope (the kind they use in elementary or HS biology labs will do), some glass slides, and kitchen salt (and a few measuring tools).
How often do I need to deworm my donkey?
It is always best to check with a veterinarian in your area.
At PVDR, we deworm twice per year in the Spring and the Fall as the weather changes.
How do I know which dewormer is right for my area?
PVDR performs fecal parasite studies prior to dewormer to determine what is required. We then retest a few weeks after application to ensure we have a "good kill".
Hoof and Leg Issues
Our female donkey is 14 months old and she has an issue with her back legs, usually the right leg. She would sometimes drag it and then pick it up in an exaggerated manner, as if she stepped on a nail. She can trot with no issue and the dragging seems to have stopped but the exaggerated manner of picking that leg up is still there, although infrequent. Is this a developmental issue? We have had her for three weeks now.
What you are describing sounds like your young donkey is locking its patella. This corresponds to our knee cap and is part of the "stifle" joint (the first joint below the flank in the hind leg). Horses, donkeys, and mules have a mechanism that allows them to "hook" their patella and its ligaments over a boney process on the end of their femur (the "thigh bone"). This allows them to rest while standing because they don't have to expend muscle energy to keep their hind leg straight, allowing them to stand up and doze at the same time. Since donkeys and other equids are "prey animals" this is important, because it is way easier to escape a stalking predator when one does not have to go from a lying position to fully standing and running. Since donkeys have an anatomically straighter stifle than horses do (less angulation) they seem to be more prone to accidentally "catching" their patella over that hook on the femur, when they didn't really want to. This keeps the stifle from flexing, which has to happen if the donkey is going to move. As the muscles tighten the "stuck" patella usually slips off the femur with a "pop" that makes the leg over-flex. That is why you are seeing her drag the leg (the stifle won't flex) and then lift it abruptly (it comes loose). As far as treatment goes, a young donkey is highly likely to grow out of this problem, particularly if it is getting adequate exercise. Walking up and down hills has been recommended as physical therapy for this condition. Trimming the hooves leaving the lateral heel slightly longer than the medial also helps. There are a variety of surgical approaches for animals who persist with this problem. They range from injecting or just sticking the medial patellar ligament to "fatten " it and decrease the space that catches on the femur, to actually cutting the ligament. All of these procedures are done under local anesthesia with the patient standing and have very low complication rates. The exception is if the ligament is actually cut there is a small chance of the patella fracturing. I would emphasize that this is a very small chance, and i have not had to cut a medial patellar ligament in 40 years. This procedure is reserved for those where the patella gets stuck and will not release at all. This is not a huge problem, but if it continues for years it will result in degenerative arthritis of the stifle joint, which you definitely do not want. Social media is full of a bunch of claims about trace minerals curing locked patellas. These have no basis in fact and should not be relied upon. Again, exercise and time cures the vast majority.
What can I give him to relax
if your donkey has anxiety about having his hooves trimmed there are several things that you can do. I would always start by concentrating on making the hoof trimming as pleasurable an experience as possible. Pick his hooves up every day and clean them out. You can even get a small rasp (Cody James makes a nice light farrier's rasp or you can get an inexpensive one at Centaur Forge https://www.centaurforge.com/14-Diamond-Rasp-File/productinfo/DIARASP/)
Diamond 14 in Hoof Rasp
This American pattern double farriers rasp is extra thin and has an aggressive cut. Both sides are 7/8 / 22mm at point. While other horse rasps have 5 teeth per row, the Diamond rasp features 6 teeth per row, making it a more efficient choice. The rectangular shape is easy to work with.
Just have it with you when you clean out his hooves and start running over the soles of his feet a couple of times, just so he gets the sound and the motion. You don't have to take much off and you won't hurt him (but wear gloves as the rasps can hurt your hands). Reward him for standing still with a piece of carrot. Start holding the hoof for 2 seconds, then reward. Then go to 5 sec., 10 sec., a minute, 3 minutes, 5 minutes etc. This may take a little while in a really upset donkey, but anybody can do this. Always try to give him his hoof back BEFORE he gets anxious and tries to move. This is not a race, it is a slow process of building trust. Then get a friend to stand there while you are doing this. This person can then (after several sessions) start doing the same thing with your donkey. Then pay your farrier to stop by and introduce themselves to your donkey and maybe feed him (the donkey) a carrot slice or two. Then have your farrier start picking up the hooves and for the first few trims if he/she doesn't trim them in super detail that is okay. Just do it once or twice a month for a while. I KNOW this will take some time and it will also cost something. However, in the long run you and your donkey will be much happier. There are sedatives that can be given. The safest and least expensive of this is Gabapentin, which can be given orally, by mixing crushed pill with a little molasses and apple sauce to make a tasty paste or we use little balls that are made out of flax with just enough molasses to make them stick together. Something about the size of a golf ball is good. There is a potent sedative, Detomidine (sold as Dormosodan) that can be given as an oral gel. It is somewhat expensive and you have to be careful with the dosage. As a former farrier myself I really do not like working with heavily sedated animals because they tend to stagger and startle themselves when they lose their balance. Also, Detomidine (and the other "alpha 2" sedatives like xylazine and romifidine) will rarely cause very adverse reactions in individual animals. People who say they don't just have not sedated many horses or donkeys. Detomidiine, xylazine, romifidine, butorphenol, and acepromazine all have sedative effects. They require a persccription and a veterinarian to administer them. There are certainly times when these can be very useful, especially in animals that are in pain or need to be trimmed on a given day with no alternatives. However, the time put in building trust and confidence is more than worth it by comparison. The "vitamin based" over the counter "calming pastes" are a waste of money and have no objective proof of efficacy. If you are going to do that, just feed carrot slices while your donkey is being trimmed. It works just as well.
My donkey started having shaky legs, taking small steps, and just was very lethargic. We got a vet out and he treated him for founder. Didn’t work, and now he has passed on. Any thoughts on this and if it is something I should be worried about with my other donkey and cow?
Without more information it would be very difficult for me to tell you whether or not your donkey was foundered. The fact that he did not respond to treatment for this condition does not mean he did not have founder (laminitis). This is one of the most difficult (if not THE most difficult) conditions to treat in donkeys and horses. There are a host of causes and types of laminitis and a corresponding large number of treatments, which are generally only moderately effective on the best day. On the other hand, the symptoms that you describe could also be the result of a neurologic or liver disease (usually caused by viruses), or a metabolic condition called "hyperlipemia". These would require a good physical exam and some blood work to diagnose. Your cow is not at risk from any of these. To make sure your donkey is as protected as possible, making sure it is up to date on vaccinations for encephalitis viruses (in the regular 4 or 5 "way" equine vaccines) and that it is not obese. When donkeys carry an excessive amount of fat, anything that will stress them and make them unwilling to eat (pain, transport, bad teeth, loss of a friend) will result in excessive release of lipids (fats) into the blood stream, causing hyperlipemia. So, a proper diet, high in fiber and completely lacking in starches and sugars (found in grain, and rapidly growing spring grass) , coupled with adequate exercise is important. These recommendations would apply to any donkey, but they will decrease not only the risk of encephalitis and hyperlipemia, but also laminitis (founder).
My three year old jack right hind leg is making a popping noise and shows stiffness. It seems like it's coming from his hock, but maybe his stifle? When he goes to walk after standing, he extends the leg stright back until is 'pops' back in place under him. This happens for a few steps and then he takes normal steps. He seems to stand with his hooves closer together and slightly knock-kneed now. What is going on?
It sounds like your jack is "locking his stifle". This is an abnormal process where the ligaments that normally allow a donkey or horse to rest standing up by fixing its stifle in place, fail to allow the stifle to unlock when they want to walk. The stifle is the same joint anatomically as the human knee, with a "kneecap" or patella that rides over the junction between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone). Two of the three ligaments that attach that patella to the tibia catch on the end of the femur so that the stifle can't bend. This allows a prey animal to rest standing without having to use muscles to keep itself upright. In some individuals these ligaments don't release as they should, and you get the effect of the stifle catching or popping when they try to walk. This can be serious to the extent that they have great difficulty flexing their leg and walking, but most of the time it is just intermittent popping as with your jack. However, over a long period of time this can lead to the development of stifle arthritis. So, it is worthwhile treating. There are a variety of approaches. The best place to start is to trim the hind feet leaving the outside heel slightly longer than normal and increasing the amount of exercise that the donkey gets. If you have hills locally going up and down them is said to be helpful. In my experience this solves the majority of these problems. If it is more frequent or severe, some simple procedures such as injecting a mild irritant into the medial patellar ligament or just putting a large needle into this structure will cause enough "tightening" of the ligament to prevent locking. In extreme cases the medial patellar ligament can be cut. However, there are more complications associated with this procedure vs. the injection approach. I have not had to cut a medial patellar ligament in 30 years in a horse or a donkey. Again, just increasing exercise and trimming will most likely have a positive result. I have read on social media sights comments stating that this is a vitamin or mineral deficiency. There is absolutely no evidence to support this opinion. So don't waste your time with it.
I have a long winded story that will lead to a question…Adopted twin donkeys last July and in January the smaller twin got very colicky and after treatment from the vet she passed away within a few weeks. The alive twin (much larger in size) was definitely grieving and we ended up adopting another donkey and our big one seemed so much better. 2 weeks ago we noticed our big donkey would not get up. After helping her up we found a wound on her inner right upper leg. Called the vet and she was given antibiotics and banamine. The antibiotics are finished (as of this morning) but she will still not get up on her own and looks as though she is still in pain. The wound is healing nicely but I am wondering if anyone has any other ideas what the problem could be. We are stumped at this point. Note: When she is up she eats/drinks/uses the restroom and everything appears normal. Any advice is appreciated.
Sorry to hear this about your donkey. Some questions that I would have are : how old is the donkey? What is its body condition? What is she normally eating" and Does she have any signs of laminitis? It would be helpful to see what she does when you help her get up, and you can send a Video to this site or to email@example.com. If there is a small healing wound on the leg, it is pretty unlikely that is causing enough pain to explain these symptoms. Does she walk as if one leg hurts after she stands up? I am most worried about laminitis, which is an inflammation of the attachment of the hoof wall to the inner part of the donkey's foot. Donkeys, particularly if they are over weight or on certain diets, are prone to this. Another possibility is that if she is old she may may have arthritis in one or more joints. Watching her move would allow us to see that. Finally, when she is eating when she gets up, does she actually swallow the food after chewing? Donkeys can "sham eat" where they just chew or nose their hay but aren't actually eating it. If this is the case, she could have metabolic disease .
My Donkeys hooves are trimmed two days ago and ever since the trimming he’s been limping and now his front hubs are hot can a hoof trimming cause laminitis?
While hoof trimming is unlikely to cause laminitis, if the hooves were trimmed too short or at an improper angle it could certainly cause lameness. If bruising of the sole causes an abscess to develop the hooves would definitely be warm and develop a stronger pulse. I cannot rule out the possibility of laminitis from some other cause, depending on the donkey's body condition, diet, and history. This could have happened at the same time as the trim, by coincidence, if the donkey is overweight, on a high carbohydrate diet, or has a metabolic disease. The problem could be solved by something as simple as putting some rubber boots on him. Cavalo makes the best ones, and they fit donkeys. If the trim was too short, protecting his hooves for a week or so will allow them to grow out and he will get better. Ideally a veterinarian should look at the hooves just to be sure.
I have two female donkeys and I have noticed they are limbing on one front leg. I cleaned their Hoove and it had some cow poop in there, but nothing else., their feet stunk pretty bad. any ideas of what's going on?
very concerned about them!
This time of year it is really common for donkey's hooves, which do not take moisture well to become infected with anaerobic bacteria. These organisms require a lack of oxygen and moisture to survive. They produce enzymes that digest the proteins of the donkey's hooves and produce a foul odor. It is common for these to "eat away" at the frog, and donkeys often loss much of their cornified frog in wet environments. Unlike horses, this causes actual lameness even though the sensitive frog (the part that contains blood and nerves ) is not exposed. Alternatively, these bacteria can find weak spots in the junction between the sole of the hoof and the hoof wall (called "the white line") and get between the sensitive (living) sole and the cornified (dead but protective) sole. This results in a "sole abscess" and causes pain by putting pressure on the nerves in the sensitive tissues. This can be quite severe, but it is very treatable. The cornified covering of the sole can be removed with a rasp or hoof knife to allow the smelly fluid which is causing the pressure to escape. This is what a physician might do for you if you had an infection under one of your fingernails. It does not require a large hole, but just enough for the abscess to drain and the pressure to go away. The foot can then be bandaged or put in a boot to protect it until the abscess heals. If you use a boot, it is important to take it off and clean it every day. This care may require the help of a veterinarian or farrier. To prevent these problems , make sure that the donkeys have a dry, clean place to stand in wet weather. Mud is worse for donkey's hooves than for horses. So, they actually require a clean dry area. Picking their hooves out every day to avoid packing wet mud into the grooves around the frog (the "lateral sulci" or "commissures" ) will also help. Trimming away excess dead from will too. There are a variety of agents that are sold to treat "thrush" in horses, and they have some efficacy. They generally contain some combination of copper sulfate, formaldehyde, or Iodine. We have had very good success with using a powder made of metronidazole, an antibiotic that is very effective against anaerobic material. Systemic antibiotics are not useful for these hoof conditions and should not be used. There is a little research that mineral supplements containing zinc, manganese, and copper can make hoof problems less likely. However, relying on medications and supplements by themselves is not going to be successful unless the hooves are trimmed, cleaned, and in dry conditions.
My 30+ year old healthy mobile miniature donkey holds his back hind left leg up every now and then. He walks fine and trots (with a little hesitation) and eats just fine. Our vet and farrier both tested him for laminitis, abscess or founder. No signs of any of those. Currently giving an 1/8th of a Previcox for pain which helps a tad. Any other suggestions you could give me would be appreciated. Our veterinarian has no other ideas on what it could be after his exam. I sure love my little guy.
in a rear leg in a miniature donkey, I would definitely consider the possibility that he is "locking his stifle". In this condition the medial and middle patellar ligaments become temporarily stuck over the end of his thigh bone (the femur). This makes it impossible for him to flex his stifle and hock joints. Donkeys will hold the leg up in an attempt to get the leg to become free again. The episodes will also cause some degree of inflammation in the stifle joint, which will lead to pain and lameness. I can be treated several ways: more exercise (especially going up and down hills), hoof trimming (leave the lateral heel on the affected leg just slightly longer, or sclerosing of the medial patellar ligament (there are several ways that your veterinarian could do this). In really severe cases the medial patellar ligament can be cut, which is done with light sedation and local anesthetic, in the field. It is a simple procedure, but generally regarded as a last resort.
I’m sending this in on behalf of one of my neighbors. I haven’t seen anything like this (the combination of issues) in my professional career and my vets haven’t either.
Since you get a lot of people who write into you from all over, I thought it may be worth a shot to see if you had any experience with it.
Neighbor’s donkey who was said to be 5 on her Coggins (so now 6), was purchased in August 2022. It’s possible that she is more along the lines of 15 after multiple people mouthing her.
She began having lameness issues when we had our first cold snap in October. Before then she was just not a super active donkey. She would walk around but never having a wild day. She went back to what she had been doing after that short cold snap was over. We are in Tennessee, so experience lows in 20s or days 70 or higher all thru October to April. Never know what we’re going to get. It’s currently just shy of 70 at this moment, but 5 days ago it was barely 30 and an ice storm.
Every time there was a cold snap she would be really off. I figured was some sort of arthritis going on. My farrier had been working on her feet since she arrived every 3 weeks or so as her growth was irregularly shaped and he didn’t want to take off too much at a time. Three of her feet have improved drastically, but the fourth remained a problem. Her feet were not the sole issue. Her fetlock and pastern area on that hoof felt very loose. Way looser than it should have felt for sure. The vet seemed to think it was a ligament issue at that time, but higher in her leg and from potentially being kicked.
I couldn’t tell if it was the footing she was on (becoming frozen and hard while uneven) or if it was the actual cold snap causing the issue. But 10 days ago or so she took a downhill turn and went from gimpy to crippled. The vet was called out again. This time X-rays were shot of that hoof. It showed a good sized keratoma ~ spherical on toe~ (so issue 1) followed by what appears to be her coffin bone being eaten away at some point in the past and looking like it’s being shoved up her leg (issue 2), the bones in her pastern and fetlock being crammed up together and slightly arthritic looking due to the changes taking place in them (issue 3), and some other small things which I am not remembering at this moment.
So there’s sort of a question as to if the keratoma is removed if the other parts will be able to be worked on by the farrier and over time with lots of orthopedic work to ventilate get to where she is comfortable. Or if after the keratoma is removed that after basically a year of recovery time that she will be crippled still due to the skeletal issue in that leg.
We’ve started inquiring as to costs for the keratoma procedure as it’s not something that financially she’s going to be able to put a ton out there for. I am also putting the questions out there about if she’ll be able to be comfortable after it with the skeletal issue responding to treatment. However, I also am asking about if amputation (fetlock or below) is the better way to approach this due to the skeletal issue and the keratoma. I know that amputation can be very risky, has to be carefully recovered from and there’s a constant adjusting of artificial limb and checking of the stump. But I know it can also be the better option when dealing with multiple issues with an area.
We don’t know what caused the apparent infection which led to eating away the bone and to the keratoma. That was way before she ever got her.
Please let me know if you have any experience with these sort of combined issues, keratomas in donkeys in general as I’m sure like all else that it doesn’t behave in the same way as it does with horses, or with amputation in donkeys.
After we receive all the quotes, information from those with experience, etc, it will be a decision of euthanasia, neighbor being able to treat and keep, or having to give her to a rescue with experience in things like that (such as the gentle barn who dealt with a steer who had an amputated rear leg). Treatment choices are either amputate or remove the keratoma then treat the skeletal afterwards.
She had her first shot of Polyglycan a week ago. Shot 2 will be today. She is also on Previcoxx at the moment. She had a complete change in pain levels within 2 days of the shot even though temperatures had not greatly changed and the ground was in the same condition. So it has seemed to help with whatever is going on skeletal and joint wise in that problem leg.
Thank you for any assistance and guidance in advance.
You are right that it is hard to determine the actual age in donkeys by their teeth . Dr. João Rodriguez, who has made a complete study of donkey dental changes feels that you really cannot age them accurately after the age of 6. There do seem to be a number of potential causes of this donkey's lameness. I cannot tell from your description of the hooves if they may be involved. Is it just that they were growing crooked or was there evidence of chronic laminitis or White Line Disease? However, a keratoma could certainly cause lameness, especially on frozen, uneven ground. That may explain the increase in pain in the winter. At the same time the changes seen on x-rays of the pastern and fetlock could be expected in an older donkey, especially one who walked around for years on untrimmed or improperly trimmed hooves. To differential Keratoma from chronic changes in the joints seen on the radiographs, it would be necessary to isolate the problem by using local anesthesia with lidocaine either by putting a small amount in the nerves that service the hoof or into the fetlock or pastern joints to see if removal of pain sensation erases the lameness temporarily. Changes seen on radiographs, unless they are very severe, don't mean much unless the problem has been isolated to a particular joint or part of the skeletal structure. You need the "nerve block" approach with lidocaine. These are simple to do, safe, and would guide treatment. The changes in the coffin bone are to be expected with a keratoma, because of the pressure that the keratan buildup puts on the bone. The keratoma definitely needs to be removed. However, amputation is a very very very bad idea. I know that in the popular literature you can find people who will tell you that this procedure can be done successfully in an animal over about 60 lbs. However, actual veterinary experience and the surgical literature demonstrates that not only do the vast majority of limb amputations in large animals fail but they require huge amounts of aftercare and expense to deal with the complications. Most importantly the patients suffer terribly until the owners finally decide to give up and euthanize them anyway. In a donkey with a treatable keratoma, who responds to NSAIDs (Previcoxx) and Polyglycan injections there is absolutely no reason to consider amputation. You can rotate Previcoxx with other NSAIDs like phenylbutazone and flunixin to decrease cumulative toxicity. You can also try Gabapentin, which as a very wide safety range and helps with pain.
It’s been -40 c for a few days now and my donkeys have poop frozen to the bottom of their hooves. It is like they are walking on a ball. I tried to pick it off but it’s -40 and very frozen. I don’t want to hurt them either. They aren’t shod. Everything I google talks about it sticking to shoes. I don’t have anywhere heated to bring them and they are unlikely to want to come in the house to unthaw. They are mammoth donkeys too so not small. This is my first winter with donkeys. Help!
That sounds really tough. I am in California, so I haven't dealt with - 40C since my days in Ames, Iowa. We had draft horses, but they would also get huge ice balls in their hooves. I agree that it is hard to deal with, but here are some things to try:
Rubbing alcohol will help melt the ice balls, so that you can break them out with a hoof pick or nippers. This will not hurt them and use the highest concentration of alcohol you can get. 90% if possible.
Do everything that you can to keep their feet from picking up moist poop. If they are going in a stable, the stuff will stick in their hooves and freeze when they go outside. This starts a ball which just gets bigger and bigger. Cleaning the area multiple times a day (yes, that sucks when it is that cold...) and giving them deep bedding with wood chips or shavings will help keep stuff out of their feet.
Keep their hooves trimmed short, so that there is not redundant hoof wall to trap moisture and ice. This includes keeping the sulci (the grooves next to the frog) open, as moisture will otherwise get trapped there and start ice forming.
Tell me if any of this helps, as this is a real problem, which is even worse in donkeys than horses, because of their narrow hooves.
My 3 year old donkey is laying down and hasn't gotten up since yesterday. She is eating and drinking fine, but just won't get up. I'm afraid if I make her get up and her leg is hurt it will make it worse. I have seen her front legs and she straightens them fine but she is laying on her back legs so I can't get a good look. She belongs to my daughter and she is her best friend I need help. We can't lose her right before Christmas, and with that being said I can't afford for the vet to come out until after Christmas.
Without knowing where your donkey is, her body condition, diet, or previous health problems. There are a few things that I can tell you: first, it is not normal for a donkey to remain recumbent for that amount of time and, second, you are going to have to try to get her up to get any idea of what the problem is, and third, there is nothing in your doing that (making her stand) that is going to make matters worse. It is a very good thing that she is continuing to eat, though you need to look closely and make sure that she is not just chewing on her forage, without really eating it. Donkeys will "sham eat" and actually be much sicker than they appear. Please do the following: 1) try to make her get up, even if that means making noise to annoy her and have your camera ready to record what she does when she stands 2) tell me about what she normally eats , how long you have had her, and other donkeys or horses that she lives with, 3) try to get her temperature, pulse rate, and respiratory rate. The respiration is easy, just look at how many times her chest moves in and out in 1 minute (usually count for 15 seconds and multiply by 4). You can use a regular digital thermometer with a little KY jelly or soap on the end for a lubricant, inserted in her anus, under her tail. You can get these at any pharmacy and they are the same as the ones they use on people orally. Unless you have a stethoscope the pulse or heart rate will be hard. So don't worry about that. 4) send me a picture of her and the facility in which she lives.
How much bute do I give a standard donkey for knee pain
While phenylbutazone (Bute) is metabolized somewhat more rapidly in donkeys than in horses, we use the horse dose. The maximum is 4 mg/kg at a time and not to exceed 8 mg/kg in 24 hours. I would try half this level (2 mg/kg = 363 mg for a 400 lb donkey), and see if that gives you relief. At the higher doses you are more likely to get gastric ulcers and if you intend to use this medication chronically, giving a gastric protectant would be a good idea.
I have a 10 yr old mini Jenny whose hind legs are stiff. It will appear that she cannot bend a leg and then it snaps into action. She used to just occasionally have a hitchy hind leg, which I used to attribute to flies, but now fly season is over, and both hind legs are "hitchy" on a more regular basis. I have had her for three years. She was obese when I got her. Her weight is much better now. She eats a Timothy/grass hay, has access to fresh water 24/7 as well as a mineral salt block.She gets minimal grass. She is wormed according to fecal checks, is up to date on vaccinations, and her feet are trimmed every 10-12 weeks. Thanks fo any ideas!
Your mini is locking her stifle joints. That is the joint at the top of their leg, just below their flank. In all equids (horses, mules, and donkeys....including minis) the hind legs have a system called the "reciprocal apparatus". This allows them to rest without having to expend muscle energy keeping their hind legs straight so that they can stand. It is an evolutionary adaption in a "prey animal" , which might have to run away from a stalking predator very suddenly. The way it works is that there is a system of ligaments that makes the hock (second more angled joint in the middle of the hind leg) and the stifle work together. If one is stiff the other is too. If one bends, the same thing happens in the other joint. The anchor in this system is at the end of the "thigh bone" (the femur) where there is a bony hook that the patella (part of the stifle joint) catches on to lock the hind leg straight during the donkey's nap time. Unfortunately, over the period of time that donkeys have been domesticated a slight abnormality in this system causes the stifle to "lock" improperly and not release until the leg snaps into normal function. Mini's seem to have this trait especially bad, probably as a result of the inbreeding required to develop their small size. This is treatable as follows (try them in this order):
With increased exercise many animals will simply overcome the problem by using their ligaments and improving muscle tone. Running or hiking with your donkey, especially up and down hills would help.
Hoof trimming in which the farrier leaves the lateral heel a little longer than normal also helps. Often this is all that is required.
There are two ways of directly treating the medial patellar ligament (MPL), which is the structure that actually causes the problem. These are simple and can be done with light sedation and a local anesthesia. They basically make the ligament rounder and thicker, so that it doesn't get stuck on that hook.
Finally, the MPL can be surgically cut, which will always solve the problem. This is a simple surgery that only requires 2-3 mls of lidocaine for anesthesia and is done standing. Very rarely there can be complications, as with any surgery. So, it is recommended that patients are rested for 2 months afterward and only exercised on a lead.
You should start the process of treating this condition, because if allowed to go on too long , soft tissues of the stifle can be damaged, leading to arthritis.
9 month old mini donkey drags his back legs for a bit after getting up from laying down, he is knocked kneed in the rear legs
Without seeing a video of exactly what your young mini is doing when it stands up, it is a little hard to make a definitive diagnosis of the problem. If you want to send one to firstname.lastname@example.org we would be glad to look at it. By far the most likely cause of hm dragging his hind legs and then "walking out of it", is that he is locking his stifles. The stifle is the large joint in the hind leg, that is right next to the abdomen, and it corresponds to the human knee. The stifle was a couple of additional ligaments that can become "hooked" over the thigh bone or femur. This prevents the stifle from flexing and makes them "drag" their leg. Usually after moving around for a while the stifle comes loose and they can walk normally again. The condition is common in minis, especially young ones. Often, they will "outgrow' the problem, especially if they get some exercise. Muscle tone seems to help and can be developed by walking up and down hills. If the lameness persists, there are a number of treatment options ranging from hoof trimming to direct treatment of the offending ligament.
My Georgie is 4 1/2yrs old and has had laminitis every winter since her 1st yr. The vet has me treating her with bute which she doesn't like. Her front hooves are not normal- she seems like her feet hurt and she walks on her heels with distal hooves off ground. Can you offer advice- for the recurrent laminitis and the hooves? I realize I dont know what I'm doing and vet isn't interested in donkeys.
Sorry about the laminitis problems as that can be a frustrating disease to treat. I do not know where you are located, but the development of laminitis in the winter suggests a dietary cause, with too much easily digestible sugar in the rough, or, more like, the pasture. Also, is you donkey overweight? If so, that is a big problem because excess fat is "pro-inflammatory" and tend to produce laminitis episodes because of its effects on the endocrine system. A serious consideration of diet would, again, be called for. Most of her diet should be a grass hay (teff, orchard grass, pasture grass, but definitely NOT a grain hay like oat or Tritical, OR alfalfa. While Phenylbutazone (Bute) may be okay for acute flareups it is not actually treating the main problem. One might also consider an anti inflammatory like Flunixin (Banamine) or an analgesic like Gabapentin. Either way, diet and weight control are critical, AND you need a skilled farrier who will work on donkeys to get those hooves properly trimmed. The excess heel growth is tilting the coffin bone and will eventually damage it. Another thing that can help a lot are Cavalo boots, https://cavallo-inc.com/this-is-to-say-thank-you-from-cavallo/daisy-foundered-donkey/ . We have found these to be very useful.
My donkey fractured its back right leg cannon bone. Would a splint boot help with healing?
That is really awful! I am so sorry for your donkey. For an actual fracture, splints do not give adequate stability for healing without the development of a "fibrous non-union", which means that the bone ends get attached with fibrous connective tissue and not actual bone. This leads to motion at the fracture sight and a lot of pain. There are several better options: Probably the best is internal fixation with a plate and screws to stabilize the fracture. This would require a skilled veterinary surgeon at a referral center and would be the most expensive. Second would be an fiberglass cast with transfixation pins. This is a less complicated procedure, but for a hind limb they can work quite well and more veterinarians are able to do this. A fiberglass caste, by itself, would also work. Finally, we have used a device called a Schroeder-Thomas splint, which is the least expensive, though it would require a veterinarian with some engineering skills to make one. Donkeys have healed fractures in the wild without any help at all. I have one of these right here on our ranch. I would NOT recommend this, because, while old Rosie did heal her fractured radius, she probably spent a couple of years in real agony while it healed, and she was lucky. This usually doesn't work. The best thing is often to invest the money "on the front end" and get the problem solved, rather than trying less promising measures and ending up with a lot of pain, more expense, and a failure. Good luck !
My 1.5 year old Jack has been struggling with swollen joints, have tried many things but has been a full year of struggling with it. I would appreciate any help.
That is awfully young for a donkey to develop arthritis (joint inflammation). Before experimenting with treatments, what you need is to identify the root cause. Is the swelling in the joint cavity itself, or in the external tissues over the joints? Allergy can cause swelling in the legs, and, if that is the case, the treatment will be way different than if it is actual arthritis. This donkey should be examined by a veterinarian who can determine what is causing the swelling. This may require lab work, ultrasound examination, or x-ray depending on what is found on the physical exam. If you can give me some more details on this donkey (amount of work, diet, vaccinations, stabling) and maybe a picture of the legs or a video.
My jennies back right hoof wall cracked off on the outside part of hoof. Not limping or lame. They get trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks. Farrier out last, said that their hooves seemed very soft especially the white hooved ones. What can I do or give to harden the hooves?
Donkey's hooves are much more sensitive to moisture than are horses'. So the first thing that I would do is look at possible issues of mud, stall moisture, bathing, creeks, or waterers that may be sources of moisture. We are in a low lying area and bed the areas in and around our donkey houses with dry wood chips, which help keep the hooves dry. Regular cleaning with a hoof pick will also remove damp manure and trampled grass from the lateral sulci, next to the frog, which can keep the feet moist. We have also found that ensuring that the diet includes supplementation with trace minerals (Zinc, Copper, Manganese, etc) helps the donkey's own hoof growth mechanisms produce a tougher, healthier hoof. California Trace, is a good supplement. Most hoof ointments made for horses are designed to increase elasticity of the hoof wall, which can make them softer rather than harder. Astringents, like turpentine and formaldehyde, have been used to harden hooves, but they are toxic, can burn the coronary band, and may promote hoof cracking. I would stick to : ground moisture control, hoof cleaning, and trace mineral supplementation.
My husband purchased a donkey and was told she was tame. She is not tame and is scared to death of everything. We need to do her feet and want to immunize her. I’m wondering if there is a sedative we could use to get these things done safely for her and us. She is very sweet but scared. My husband has been able to pet her butt for brief moments but that is it. When he does touch her for those brief moments she is so scared and tense. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.
I am glad you have taken on the task of trying to make a good home for a donkey who evidently did not have good experiences previously. There are several options for sedation which can be done either orally or by injection. These include Detomidine oral paste (Dormosodan is the proprietary name), and other alpha 2 agonist sedatives. If the donkey is that scarred you will likely have to try to hide the drug in some highly desirable food, or you will need to place the donkey in a chute restraint of some kind to have your veterinarian administer an injection. If your veterinarian knows how to use a blow dart or a dart gun, medications and vaccinations can also be given in this way. HOWEVER, while these approaches are okay for an emergency situation, in an animal that may live 30 more years, it is not a long term solution. Also, even though the person administering the sedative may be skilled and understand donkey behavior, there is some trauma involved in the process. Putting your donkey in this situation will not make future training easier, especially since donkeys and mules seem to resent being "tricked". (That is a personal reading of their behavior, based on a lot of interactions, not an objectively proven fact.) So there are a couple of things that you can do before considering sedation, which you are going to need to work on anyway. First, it would really help if you had more than one donkey. While these animals are often solitary in the wild, they do like social interaction with other donkeys and can become quite bonded to an individual. I know you may not want or have room for another animal, but two donkeys are not that hard to care for, nor particularly expensive. You don't need to "go off the deep end" like Cindy and I did: starting with 2 and ending up with 12. However, a second jennet, especially if it truly trained (you can catch it, lead it with a halter, tie to hitch rack, groom it, and pick up its hooves) would make your donkey happier and more relaxed. Second of all, make some "donkey contact time" a priority every day. Initially, this should be you or your husband standing in a pen with the donkey. Eventually, it will get curious and come closer, at which point you should have a highly desirable treat (we prefer carrot slices) to offer. It may take a couple of weeks in a really scarred donkey to get it to come up to you, but investing an hour a day will eventually win them over. Then gradually start making contact. We often begin with "air petting", in which you make a slow, non-threatening, hand motion as if to touch but not actually touching. Don't get impatient, and forgive yourself if you get too far ahead and the donkey gets scarred. Just back off and try again. Depending on a lot of things: your body language, your personality, your donkey experience, and the donkey's history this may take a longer or shorter period of time. Cindy, my wife, has spent over a year making friends with a mini mule that was considered to be terrified and dangerous, but is quite gentle now. A good resource for training plans can be found at Ben Hart's website: hartshorsemanship.com. Ben works for the British Donkey Sanctuary, and is a consummate expert in dealing with difficult and frightened donkeys. I think that if you put the time in, you and your donkey will be much happier, and you both will enjoy the journey.
For the last 2 weeks my miniature therapeutic donkey has been going down hill he seems very unsteady and unsure and I'm sure I was treating him with penicillin we have now started exenel Handsome beautiful pain until his blood test come back in A-day or 2 he doesn't stand up on his own anymore he tries and his back end pushes him forward and his front legs seem to be knuckling I thought it was neurological fluid on the brain or maybe some pressure and our vet doesn't know a lot about miniature donkeys but thought it looked somewhat similar to tennis and horses but yet his stool sample and his breath smelt very bad like an infection somewhere but we checked all his teeth and they look really nice he was eating and drinking and pooping But has an aint nothing for the last day now I'm hoping this stronger penicillin will kick in or kill any infection what else could be wrong
This is clearly a very serious situation. However, I am not sure that your mini is suffering from a bacterial infection. Did it have a fever? I assume that your veterinarian took the temperature, which would have been more than 102 if there was an infection. There are many other things that could cause this condition. I agree that Tetanus could be causing the problem. If it is tetanus, the "third eyelid", a flesh colored membrane that covers the eye from the medial side (the side closest to the nose) should be in spasm across the eye. Another common problem in miniature donkeys is liver disease, which would cause these "neurologic" symptoms because when the liver doesn't work toxins that are absorbed from the intestines are not metabolized. The laboratory tests for liver function are "serum enzymes", Tryglycerides, and bile acids. I hope that your veterinarian has done these tests with the other laboratory work. A third possibility is a viral encephalitis, West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine encephalitis, or equine herpes virus can cause this. Has your donkey been vaccinated for any of these? They could also be identified by a blood test.
what can be done to treat cracks and chipped donkey hooves? medication, feed, supplements?
"medication, feed, supplements?" is all of the above, but by far the most important two things are controlling moisture in the ground and have hooves properly trimmed. Donkeys have evolved hooves that are designed to deal with hard, dry ground. Where we work in the mountainous deserts in Mexico, the burro's hooves are always perfect. There is actual research that, while donkey hoof is structurally very similar to horse hoof, it has slight chemical differences that prevent it from dealing with a lot of humidity and water. Here in California, which, with climate change, is rapidly turning into a desert , we make a real effort to give our donkeys a dry place to be when it does rain. We also, use bedding pellets in the communal urination areas that they make to keep them dry. Then, we trim their hooves regularly, which not only prevents chipping, but also keeps dirt and moisture from packing next to the frog and at the junction between the wall and the sole (the "white line"). This would not be necessary if the donkeys were exercised for at least 5 miles a day on a dry abrasive surface, but right now I have not been able to drive my donkey team as much as I would like to. There is some evidence in cattle that trace mineral supplements can strengthen hooves and make them healthier. However, objective research on this has not been done in donkeys and only a little in horses (where the findings are equivocal). There are a huge number of supplements that purport to improve hoof quality, prevent chipping, and so on, but without any actual objective evaluation of efficacy. The amino acid, methionine, along with biotin (aka vitamin B7 or Vitamin H) may improve the hardness and elasticity of hoof wall. Trace minerals Zinc, Copper, Magnesium and Manganese are likely beneficial too. Be careful of supplements that are high in sugar (usually as molasses) or digestible calories in general, as these can lead to obesity and laminitis. Medications either given orally or painted on the hooves are not useful, beyond the nutrients mentioned above. A good quality diet, that provides several different plant sources, is low in soluble and non-structural carbohydrates, coupled with exercise and trimming will provide the best hoof quality. Of course, this means that the donkeys need to be accustomed to having their hooves handled. They are very easy to train, given time and patience. Further, with a little training anyone can learn how to trim donkey hooves. We can provide you with references to places where you can learn.
Looking for a grain or tablet to calm our donkeys so the ferrier can trim hooves. Last time we had to pay a vet to come out and dose them. Very expensive. Our donkeys are rescues and we love them. We just are looking for a true alternative to bet charges. A grain or tablet that can actually calm them a lot. They are very large, skiddish and kick. I can halter them. Thank you.
This is probably the most common question that we get. I understand that it can be difficult to get donkey's hooves trimmed and that veterinary intervention can be expensive. Further, you don't want to have to give your donkey tranquilizing drugs every 6-8 weeks. On the other hand, the various supplements and diets that claim to calm or tranquilize animals really do not work. They are not based on any reliable research, and are, basically, a waste of your money. Especially since this is something that you (and your donkeys) will have to deal with for the rest of their lives (which may be 30 years), by far the best approach would be to get your donkeys used to having their hooves trimmed, using a gentle and consistent training program. Even if you have no experience training donkeys, you can do this, because these animals are easy to train. It does take patience and a willingness to try to see things from the donkey's standpoint. For guidance I would suggest "shaping plans" by Ben Hart at www.hartshorsemanship.com or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeR2nO_sLsE.
How to work with donkey feet - handling issues
This webinar recording explores why feet handling is such a common issue for donkeys. We will explore why your donkey may have an issue with their feet being handled and what you can do about it safely without pain, force and fear.
You will also need a farrier who wants to work with donkeys. They are not "horses with long ears". Also, they are not "stubborn", "naughty", or "difficulty". They are just acting in what they perceive to be their best interest and it is worthwhile putting in the time to work with them. If you can halter your rescue donkeys that is a good start. I encourage you to work with them and go further.
Hi, I was hoping you may offer some guidance with how my donkeys' hooves will be affected by some work I'm having done. Because of a mud issue, I am having a contractor install a product to alleviate drainage problems (Lighthoof material). They recommended 1/2' or 5/8' crushed stone and said it should be no problem with a donkey's hoof. Before I purchase tons of this stuff, I'd love an expert's input! The options are larger or smaller stones. Thanks for any help you can offer!
I don't know where you are, but mud and wet ground can definitely be a problem for donkeys, who have evolved to live in very dry environments. I am familiar with Lighthoof panels and have a friend who uses this with their donkey housing and it works great. It is expensive, but it does keep things dry. Hoof cleaning and care will still be important, especially in the wet season, but this looks like a good option. We have just used coarse wood chips (cedar), 4 inches deep, to keep the mud at bay. This works well and keeps the donkey's hooves from getting saturated. They also like the soft bedding effect, especially when the sun comes out. The chips do break down to powder after several months, and have to be replaced. I have never priced out the difference between the Lighthoof and the chips. So I don't know what is the most cost effective. However, both work.
We had a miniature donkey just born two days ago and it looks as if one of the rear hooves is not fully formed. As if the hoof if the right side of the ankle area almost and no hoof aspect is actually on the bottom of the foot. She was initially walking on all four, but today went out and assessed mama and baby and the baby is not using the rear leg at all and limping using the three good legs. My question is there anyway to help the animal and if there is, how? or will it be pure torture for the baby because i can't handle the baby suffering?
The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that the foal is not wearing a hole in the skin on the end of the leg that is missing a hoof. If this happens and the bone becomes exposed and contaminated with dirt, it will be very hard to successfully do anything for this little guy. It would be very helpful if you could take a couple of pictures (side and front to back) and send them to me. That would allow me to get an idea of possible surgical options for this foal. It is possible that a procedure called "fetlock arthrodesis" may be able to straighten the lower leg and put hoof material in contact with the ground, but it is hard to tell from just a description. To protect the lower leg, just pulling a sweat sock with cotton stuffed inside may be adequate. If you do that and then tape the top of the sock to the foal's hair somewhere on a straight bone above the ankle, this will give some temporary protection. Use white medical tape (the cloth kind) or Elastacon. Do not wrap it too tight and do NOT use Vetwrap. Otherwise the tape could act as a torniquet and impare the blood supply to the leg. IF there is any good news it is that this is a hind leg on a mini. Because they don't weigh as much as full sized donkeys this one may be able to do okay with a custome made boot to protect the skin, even if the leg cannot be repaired. However, it will take a lot of time and dedication, and, possibly , some expense to deal with this leg. You are a kind person who worries about the foal's suffering, and I admire that . So you will have to decide whether you want to pursue treatment, which may last all of this mini's life, or whether you should give it relief by preventing suffering now. Thank you for being diligent.
Can you put boots on donkeys and where can I find some that fit?
You can absolutely put boots on donkeys. We like Cavallo hoof boots and have used the ones for miniature horses (sizes M1-M4) or small horse ones (size 0 -1). https://www.cavallo-inc.com/product-category/hoof-boot/?gclid=CjwKCAiA0KmPBhBqEiwAJqKK49udD2UyJt0LGEzskb7T1Q7Hi7MpKbr4neZC5jkToloFbmwVCWfsuxoC7NQQAvD_BwE
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These work well, stay on, protect their hooves, and are easy to clean.
My donkey seems to have sensitive back hooves in the super cold winter weather
I am assuming that your donkey is otherwise healthy and he has a place to go where he does not have to stand in snow or frozen mud. I very cold climates donkeys need a place where their hooves can on dry bedding. They are not evolved to live in very cold or damp conditions. Another thing to consider is that donkeys, unlike horses, will develop laminitis (founder) in their rear hooves, without having the problem in their fronts. Your farrier, hoof trimmer, or veterinarian could help you determine if this is the problem. Cavallo (https://www.cavallo-inc.com)also makes boots that will fit donkeys. It is important that if you were going to go that route to keep your donkey's hooves warm that those boots are removed and cleaned at least once a day, and that the donkey is not in a wet environment.
Cavallo Hoof Boots - The World's Most Trusted Hoof Boots!
A good hoof boot is made of a strong upper material that is flexible and strong. It should comfortably cover the horse’s hoof and fasten easily. It is securely connected to a hard wearing sole that provides support and protection for the barefoot horse to be ridden over and through any terrain at any speed. A good hoof boot should be simple and quick to put on.
Hi, a few months ago we purchased a small male donkey from an auction. He wasn't the best looking guy, underweight, rainrot but sweet as can be.he had a check up by vet, shots given and farrier out to check hooves. About a month ago we found him down and no matter what we couldnt get him up. Vet came to the farm and gave him banamine, antibiotic and said to not expect much. Well he made it thru. I gave him jumpstart, selenium, vit D and wormed him also. He has been losing weight steadily since then and goes down multiple times a day. He is unable to get up on his own but when we lift him he can walk. It appears he has weakness in his rear hips/legs. He is on good hay, unlimited amount because he is so skinny, goes out in pasture everyday, I started him on trophy high fat/protein feed a few days ago. Small amout morning and evening. Vet is stumped and doesnt know what to do. Thanks so much for any insight.
There are a huge number of potential problems here. Since, I don't know exactly what your veterinarian did to examine your donkey, I am going to start at the beginning. You have already done what is probably the most important "test": feeding him well, with what sounds like a highly digestible feed. Any healthy donkey should gain weight on such a diet. After all, these are animals who maintain body condition in places like Death Valley or doing heavy work and eating nothing but straw. This means that your donkey has a serious physical abnormality which needs to be diagnosed if he is to survive. I would approach it as follows (you can check off anything that your veterinarian has already done):
A good complete physical examination, paying particular attention to feeling all parts of the body, joints, and bones, in addition to a detailed auscultation (listening with a stethoscope) to his lungs and chest. I would add chest percussion or a chest ultrasound examination to look for fluid or abscesses. This can all be done in a relatively short period of time. Auctions are festering masses of respiratory disease, and chronic pleural or broncho pneumonia is an important cause of weight loss and weakness in all equids. A single shot of an antibiotic would not fix this.
During the physical, he should have a detailed examination of his teeth, including looking way back in his mouth for sources of dental pain that would make his chewing ineffective. Most donkeys (unlike horses) will accept this without sedation.
Since he is having trouble standing and walks abnormally, a neurologic examination should be included. Spinal injuries, parasites, viruses, and vitamin deficiencies call all cause damage to the central nervous system. This will involve you veterinarian watching the donkey go through a series of movements to determine things like his ability to know where his legs are (proprioception), the existence of muscle weakness, the functioning of various nerve tracks, his ability to see, his level of skin sensation, and a variety of other things. If your veterinarian does not feel qualified as a neurologist, I would suggest they look at presentations and articles by my friend Dr. Monica Aleman, who did an excellent video of the neurologic examination of the donkey for our Donkey Welfare Symposium a few years ago. You could also video the donkey walking in a straight line, up and down a small hill, and turning in a figure 8 to me at email@example.com and we can give you suggestions on possible neurologic problems.
Do a manure analysis for parasites. If the donkey was poorly cared for prior to the auction it could have a very heavy worm load. Because some of these worms form cysts in the wall of the intestine, a single worming will not kill all the parasites. It is really important to follow up worming with a "fecal egg count" to get an idea of the level of ongoing parasitism. These little invaders have been around for many millions of years and they are sneaky. Do not take them for granted.
A CBC (complete blood count), with a test called 'plasma fibrinogen' should be done on a blood sample. This will identify things like chronic inflammation or an internal abscess. While the blood is taken, include a serum sample on which a basic metabolic panel should be run. This will look at the possibility of liver disease, kidney problems, and other internal abnormalities that are hard to see from "the outside" . Other tests such as trace mineral levels or heavy metal toxicities may be necessary, but a CBC and Chemistry Panel are good places to start. The values for donkeys are not always the same as for horses and many laboratories don't give normals for donkeys. However, The Donkey Sanctuary web site has a library of normal donkey blood and chemistry data. It is also published in other places.
There are few other things that might be done to investigate your donkey's problem, such as abdominal ultrasound, biopsy, or centisis (removal of abnormal fluids). However, these would be "down the line" from the above.
This is going to require some effort and, likely, also some expense. However, it is an axiom that "your treatment will only be as good as your diagnosis". So investigating the cause of your donkey's weakness/weight loss is critical. I
My donkey has seedy toe from white line. He has an infected area that the doctor had to dig out. We have put him in a large stall and bedded him on wheat straw that he loves to nibble per info on your webb site. What can I do to protect all of his hoofs from white line and other moisture issues. Will hoof flex help
This is so tough, protecting donkey hooves from moisture. They are simply not adapted to moisture and their hooves are so much more sensitive to wet conditions than are horses. Where donkeys exist in really wet, tropical environments, they really suffer. There are three components that will help, though. First is very regular hoof care. All separated hoof should be removed completely down to normal wall and white line with every trimming. In my experience you cannot control white line disease without doing this. Further, get a good hoof pick with a semi-sharp end to daily remove any bits of sand or gravel that may have gotten pushed into the moisture softened hooves. Bedding with straw is okay, but you also have to be judicious in cleaning out the "pee spots" and using either wood bedding pellets or lime powder to dry up these areas. They can provide enough moisture to cause problems even when it isn't raining. We us coarse wood chips (cedar) as bedding because they make a mat in the stall through which moisture can pass away from the surface. They are also mildly astringent. I would continue to put some straw in too, because the donkey will chew on that and not the wood chips. Item number two: feed a trace mineral supplement to ensure that your donkey is getting adequate Zinc, Copper, and other trace elements. While this has not been proven to help donkeys, research has demonstrated that it does decrease abscesses and lameness in dairy cows in wet environments. We use California Trace. Finally, while Hoof Flex may have some benefit, your hoof ointment probably has the least to do with successful prevention of hoof problems. I would use one that has lanolin and/or pine tar in it, because these provide a temporary barrier to moisture. That said, any hoof ointment needs to be applied daily to have any chance of effecting moisture absorption by the hoof. Anyone who has donkeys, in a place other than a desert, is going to have some hoof issues.
I have two miniature donkeys who have never ever lived separately. They both have had a weight issue their whole life. Keeping them off grass is so hard in Central Texas. We give them thyroid medicine aswell. They are very very loved but they can’t seem to loose weight. Now my Jack has trouble walking. He has too much back fat. Today we grass muzzle him, but I am worried. Pleas please what can I do or not do. They can live without each other l. No, I don’t have a dry-lot. We don’t feed them a lot, but they do graze on a mowed field. They are boarded since we lost our ranch and I don’t want to separate them ever not simply gift them to someone who will not love them as I do. But my love might be killing them. ????
I am really sorry to hear of your difficulties with the minis. It is nearly impossible to keep them from getting overweight if they are exposed to pasture. This is a problem that most donkey owners in certain parts of the country share. The muzzles will help, but if they have gained that amount of fat a serious dietary plan will have to be instituted to have them lose the weight safely. Withholding all feed too fast could trigger hyperlipemia. Increasing exercise is important, but if your jack is having trouble walking that may mean he is developing laminitis, which will make exercise more difficult. I guess I would start with making arrangements to find a dry lot. I realize this may be difficult, but there really is no alternative. Dr. Tadros, who has studied the use of pasture muzzles has found that eventually, even if there is initial weight loss, they learn to eat enough with the muzzle to stay fat. Then, you need a veterinary exam to identify if the jack has laminitis and get treatment going for that. At the same time, starting a weight reduction diet, based on recommendations which can be found at https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/what-we-do/knowledge-and-advice/for-owners/feeding-donkeys or at the attached presentation by Dr. Clair Thunes. The Donkey Sanctuary site has other PDFs too if you need more specific information. Eventually, you will be able to start giving your minis more exercise (hiking or just walking with them, even if you have to hire somebody to do it). This will not only help reduce their weight but make them happier and allow them to stay together.
I have a 20 year old standard donkey that has laminitis with 8 % rotation. On top of that he’s positive for lymes disease and probably Cushing . ( still waiting for test results). He’s started on Doxycycline for 30 days for the lymes. Been on 1 gram of bute for a couple weeks and is on thyroid-L. He doesn’t seem to really be improving. He doesn’t want to eat and has lost a lot of weight. Have had his feet wrapped with pads. He’s such a sweetheart and I hate seeing him suffer. Are we on the right track with the meds and is there anything more I can do? He’s supposed to come off the bute this week. Is there another painkiller I can give long term? I’m afraid he’s really going to suffer coming off the bute.
I am really sorry to hear about your donkey and especially because these are really difficult cases to treat. The things that I would look at would be, first, how are the hooves being trimmed? If he is wearing pads but is remaining lame looking at the way that that the hooves are trimmed. Looking at the hoof angle and the amount of sole that is remaining on the coffin bone are important. If your farrier is not familiar with trimming donkeys with laminitis they can get more information from The Donkey Sanctuary website or from Megan Hensley at https://www.holistichooves.com. We also like Cavalo Boots for hoof protection is the sole is thin. They are available in sizes that fit donkeys. Another consideration that would be related to his not eating well include liver function tests, because when donkeys go "off feed" they can accumulate fat in their liver. Besides liver enzymes a test called "bile acids" would be a good idea. When the blood is being tested they should also look at the triglyceride level, because increased circulating lipids (hyperlipemia) can cause depression and liver damage. A donkey with Cushings would be more prone to this problem. Finally, consider treating him for gastric ulcers, which donkeys get, especially if they have been on phenylbutazone or related analgesics for a long time. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of other pain killers available, though you might try Gabapentin, which is a totally different class of analgesics. We have had some positive results with this approach, and Gabapentin can be use very long term (I take it myself for pain in one of my own legs). I hope this helps.
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Had my minature donkey and minature horse hooves trimmed by our usual farrier and they are both walking slowly and gingerly. Were their hooves trimmed too short?
That is possible. You could test this by letting them walk around in very soft ground. If their soles are too short the soft ground should make them more comfortable. Farriers who don't regularly trim donkeys can make too mistakes commonly: 1. Donkey hooves, particularly the sole, should be a bit longer than what we leave in horses, 2. Donkeys normally have a steeper hoof angle than horses. You can get advice for trimming donkey feet from The Donkey Sanctuary's web site under hoof trimming. A farrier here on the west coast, Megan Hensley (https://www.holistichooves.com/about) is also a good place to go for advice and farrier training.
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My donkey is limping so we wrapped it with poultice and cotton then vet wrap. Will this help?
Assuming that there is no injury or swelling in the effected leg, it is reasonable to assume the foot is the source of lameness. The most common reason is a sole abscess. Donkeys are prone to these, especially if there is moisture on the ground or their hooves are not regularly trimmed. Depending on what you used for a poultice (there are thousands of poultice recipes) it may soften the hoof and allow the abscess to open, thus relieving the pressure. If this does not relieve the lameness in a couple of days, you should have a farrier (with experience in handling donkeys) or a veterinarian look at your donkey. You can learn to trim your own donkey's hooves with a farrier's rasp and sometimes this is easier (and cheaper) than having to rely on a farrier or hoof trimmer. You can go to this blog : https://www.holistichooves.com/classes for more information.
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How do i get my donkeys hooves trimmed when they wont even let me get halter on them they are very cracked and long. Also how bad is castration? I hear they can fie
Castration need not be dangerous or difficult. You should find a veterinarian with some experience in anesthetizing and castrating donkeys. The same would be true for your hoof trimmer. However, the very first thing that you need to do is to get your donkeys gentle so that they can be caught, led with a halter, and have their hooves picked up. The best place to start is by getting a lot of carrots and slicing them to make oblong carrot "wafers". Some people use other kinds of treats but carrots are universally safe, inexpensive, and donkeys like them. Go out to your donkey's pen and start by hand feeding them carrots. Until they know that they taste good you might have to throw some on the ground next to them. Eventually they will take them from your hand allowing you to get close. Then start carrying a halter, so that they realize that it is normal for humans to carry ropes and halters. Eventually you will start touching the donkey with the halter, and , little by little, slide it on. This slow stepwise approach takes time and effort on your part, but there is no way around this. Two important tips:
If they start to push on you or nip trying to get carrots, don't hit them or raise your voice. Just turn away and don't give carrots until the stand and kindly take them from your hand. Many people worry about donkeys and horses getting "mouthy" when fed treats, this only happens if your forget this rule. Once they learn that pushing does not get a reward they will stop doing it.
Be absolutely consistent and reward even the slightest improvement. A desirable behavior should be rewarded within 3 seconds, or the reward will not be associated with the behavior. It is really important to not try to go too far. You want to stop BEFORE they get scarred and run away.
We highly recommend Ben Hart's materials at www.hartshorsemanship.com. Ben is a behaviorist at the donkey sanctuary in the UK and the best person I know for training donkeys, and teaching people how to train donkeys. Please get started on this process right away. Time spent now will result in a healthier donkey and more happiness for you. Donkeys live for 30 years and can be wonderful companions, but only after you have reached an understanding....carrots are good for that.
Last Wednesday my jenny had a farrier trim; the (extremely experienced) donkey farrier said her feet were looking good, the (diet related) laminitis had significantly improved over the past five months, and gave a general good report.
Since bringing her home (Thursday), right away I noticed she seems to have difficulty with her front hooves while standing. She will lift one front leg, hold it up for a minute or two, then do the same with her other front. She walks a bit gingerly, but most ok while moving.
She has had regular hoof trims & care for the past five months. It looks like her hooves have had a deep trim (perhaps to get rid of dead tissue?). Could it be she is just slightly sore from the trim? (Somewhat like if fingernails are clipped super short, or is this something that should be cause more concern?
Without looking at your donkey's hooves it is a bit hard to tell. However, it is possible that even an experienced trimmer may have removed a little too much hoof wall trying to get rid of separated wall and dead tissue. If this is the case your donkey should respond to just being bedded deep wood chips or other bedding material (6" deep at least). You might also put on a pair of padded boots. We like Cavallo Boots, but there are a number of companies that make hoof boots for donkeys. However, if your donkey does not respond to more padding, you may be dealing with another bout of laminitis, which, as you know, is a serious condition requiring veterinary care.
Had a bad Experience with Ferrior now my Jenny won’t let you pick up Feet. Is there a way to calm her down so her hooves can be trimmed without medicating or causing more tram-a
The best thing to do is to just work on the donkey yourself, or have a friend with whom the donkey is familiar, start working with her feet. I realize that she is scared and resistant, but donkeys will learn that hoof care is not painful or traumatic, if you take your time and are patient. Ben Hart has shaping plans for training donkeys to allow their hooves to be handled at www.hartshorsemanship.com specifically https://www.hartshorsemanship.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=controller.viewPageBasket
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We use small slices of carrots as rewards. Start by getting donkey to allow you to run your hand down the leg to the hoof. This may take a while, but just go slow. Try to stop before donkey resists and reward small things. For instance, if the donkey will allow you to run your hand to their knee, reward with carrot treat in 3 seconds. Then keep going just a little further, rewarding each improvement. Do not use punishment, it will only make them afraid and more willing to fight. Eventually when you get to the hoof, ask the donkey to flex its fetlock a little, and reward when they do. Don't try to lift the hoof until donkey allows you to touch the back of the fetlock and flex it willingly. How long? In a donkey that basically was okay with its legs and just had a bad experience , this could take just a few days. We have trained a completely wild mule to pick up its hooves and be trimmed, but that took 4 months. It just depends. You need a new farrier of course, but if you want to, you can learn how to trim your donkey's hooves yourself. If you just have a good rasp, you can rasp a little every day and avoid a long trimming process.
One of my donkeys is limping and not putting any pressure on her front foot at all which has me to believe there is a fracture or a broken bone instead of an abscess of the hoof. Our farrier cannot come out until Friday to take a look. She won't let me get anywhere near her and just starts trying to run on 3 legs. There are no mobile farm animal vets around my area..
If there is a fracture the leg will be swollen somewhere and/or there limb will be bent in an abnormal direction. Fractures of the bones of the hoof do occur but, in donkeys they are very very rare. A sudden severe lameness like this is most likely a sole abscess ("hot" ones can cause severe pain that looks like a fracture) or, potentially, a sharp object has penetrated the hoof. I would try to find an experienced horse person in your area, get the donkey in a small pen, and use a portable panel to trap her so that the hoof can be examined. If there is no nail or screw in the hoof and you cannot get a farrier to examine the hoof for an abscess, put a plastic bag filled with a warm Epsom salt solution on the hoof and tape it around the pastern. Soaking the foot is warm Epsom salts will soften the hoof wall and encourage the abscess to open and drain. You can also use a material called Icthamol to coat the bottom of the foot. You can hold it in place with an old sweat sock and cover with duct tape or a plastic bag. This will also help get the abscess drained. These should be available at a pharmacy or feed store. Other appropriate poltices would include "Reducine" (at a tack shop or feed store) or pine tar (hardware or feed store). If it really is a fractured bone in the hoof you will need an x ray to diagnose it and the only treatment is rest in a stall.
What health issues may be involved if a donkey is born with white hooves, not dark ones? Any problems with the animal?
Assuming the foal has no congenital abnormalities or health problems, the whit hooves should not be a problem. The mechanical characteristics of hoof material with and without melanins (the color producing chemicals in skin, hair, and hooves) have been studied in the laboratory. As it turns out hooves that lack melanin are somewhat softer and, presumably, more prone to wear. However, I have seen horses and donkeys whose white hooves are extremely hard and durable. There are a large number of environmental factors from nutrition to ambient moisture that affect hoof quality, and they tend to overshadow the effects of hoof color. So, while there is a difference, I would not consider white hooves a serious compromise to the donkey's health. I imagine that this foal has some other unpigmented areas in its hair coat.
My friend's donkey who I've cared for has founders and a club front hoof. He is a rescue appprox 10 yrs old and I love him. He gets vet care but we are in Western North Carolina and he's always on grass and wearing a muzzle. I would love to know if there is avway to get better care for him. He's as sweet as could be.
In that environment it would be difficult to not have your donkey get overweight and founder. It is just that there is too much available grass due to moist climate. Besides veterinary care, regular hoof trimming by a farrier who understands donkey feet would be critical. There are very good resources on donkey hoof care from The Donkey Sanctuary and the Donkey Welfare Symposium. Their contacts are:
We were given a 14 year old donkey by BLM with laminitis. X-rays show no rotation. Our vet suggested boots with gel inserts and measured her hooves as being 3.14 inches wide by 3.93 inches long. I cannot find boots that will fit her per multiple sites sizing charts. Can you recommend where I might find them?
We have had the best luck with Cavallo mini boots (https://www.cavallo-inc.com/product-category/hoof-boot/mini-hoof-boots/) . Even if they don't fit exactly by the chart they seem to work on donkeys as long as you don't buy a version that is too small.
He has a never had a nail trim and is in great need of one is limping because of it but does not let anyone touch his legs
It is easy to train an donkey to pick up its feet. You just have to be patient and persistent. Start by just touching the legs and reward with a small piece of carrot when he stands still. Then slowly start working your way down the leg to the hooves. This may take a couple of weeks or just a couple of days depending on the donkey and your timing. Ben Hart Horsemanship (https://www.hartshorsemanship.com) has a training plan for hooves in horses and donkeys. It is easy to follow and safe. If the donkey is really lame and the feet are extremely bad it may be necessary to anesthetize the donkey and do one good trimming before starting training. A competent veterinarian can do this for you.
9 yr old donkey gelding. After a muddy winter, my guy started acting sore in one front hoof. No sign of abcess other than some heat, no bounding digital pulses. Vet called. Still no abcess detected. Hoof testers used and no indication of founder. Vet diagnosed it as a hoof ligament strain. We put donkey on stall rest for 4 weeks, with bute 1x daily as needed. Pain/injury appeared to be resolved after 1 month of rest. 2 months later, the same symptoms have appeared. This time, I've found thrush beneath his frogs (both front feet) and treated. I realize we may be dealing with 2 issues here.
He is on a dry lot, with light grass access. We live on steep terrain in the Smokies. The dry lot is level. The lameness and laying down resurfaced after access to hills.
If this is a ligament injury, what is the prognosis on a donkey? The vet said that there is no way to see the ligament without an MRI, which is extremely cost prohibitive.
I want my buddy to heal, and to be comfortable,without suffering.
While it is difficult to diagnose this without seeing the donkey, there are a couple of things that need consideration: first is that, while a ligament injury is not impossible, with the environment that you describe, I am still suspicious of an ongoing sub-solar abscess. While I find hoof testers very effective in finding these problems in horses, they don't work as well in donkeys and have been fooled a number of times by an abscess that did not result in a reaction when hoof tested. Also, unlike horses, where all but the most severe thrush does not cause lameness, in donkeys, I've seen several where the sulci (grooves next to the frog) became very tender due to the anaerobic infection referred to as "thrush", and required treatment to resolve lameness. My preferred treatment for this is packing the sulci with metronidazole powder, which is easy to do as donkeys have a large frog and deep sulci. Has a farrier looked at your donkey's feet and trimmed them? It may be necessary to "shop around" a bit to find a farrier with donkey experience. To help with both the diagnosis and the farrier's hoof trimming it may also be valuable to get some x-rays of the donkey's hooves, particularly in the lateral view. Sometimes abscesses and a condition called "false sole" can be detected with an x-ray. This will also help your farrier determine how much hoof can be trimmed away both to find an abscess and to be sure that the donkey's hooves are well balanced. Hope this helps. I used to be at the Veterinary School in Knoxville, so I am familiar with the Smokies and the wet environment there. Donkey's hooves would require regular trimming.
Hi! I'm' awaiting help with my feral jenny. Meanwhile, [and guessing a bit], she may have foundered. She doesn't walk, but rather steps carefully when she moves at all.
Yesterday, I started her on Bute, a half scoop in the AM and another half in the PM mixed in with a small amount of soaked Timothy Pellets. Is there anything else I can do for her while we are awaiting help? Anything I should not do? I can't get her into a pen at this time as I am alone in the attempt; so she is in pasture.
I suspect that the pasture is the problem itself. This time of year, most parts of the country have plant growth that is too high in soluble carbohydrates for donkeys. Donkey metabolism is different from that of horses, because of the extreme desert environment in which they evolved. Also, is she over weight? The combination of the proinflammatory effects of excess fat and the high sugar content of grasses further promotes laminitis. Other things that can help: soaking feet in ice water has proven to be one of the more effective approaches to acute laminitis. You will need to get veterinary and farrier assistance soon. Part of this will be a planned weight reduction diet, which usually involves feeding straw as a roughage. These can be difficult to treat and we wish you luck.
We have a 14 YO and a 4 YO donkeys, the 4 YO is unimpressed when hooves need trimmed, would dormosedan be a good product as the farrier has a bear of a time finding neck vein.
Detomidine (Dormosedan) gel would be a reasonable thing to do, assuming the younger donkey will allow you to put something in its mouth. I will say that putting effort into training your donkey to accept hoof trimming is a better and safer idea in the long run. Start by just getting the little guy to pick up its feet easily and hold them as he would have to for the farrier. Just a few seconds at first, followed by a reward (we prefer carrot slices), gradually increasing the time until he will tolerate, and look forward to, a process that takes a half hour. Then get yourself a small hoof rasp and rasp the hooves a little: again, short periods followed by rewards. Then have the farrier out to just to pick up feet for short period, even though you will have to pay them for their time. Eventually you will have a compliant donkey and it will be much more convenient. Since donkey is going to need a lot of hoof trims in the remaining maybe 35 years of its life, putting in a little time now will really pay off. If you need a plan for hoof training go to www.hartshorsemanship.com. Some farriers these days will only work on sedated animals. If that is the case...get another farrier.
I have a donkey who is about 28 years old and pregnant. Her hooves are in really bad condition from years of neglect. Recently had them trimmed, but they have infection in them. What, if any, antibiotics can be used to help?
While antibiotics will not interfere with pregnancy, they also will have very limited effect on hoof infections. These are best managed by judicious trimming by a skilled farrier and local (on the hoof) treatment with antiseptics and antibiotics.
Spring 2020 mule got vaccines and started to not feel well. 2 months later was diagnosed with Potomac fever. Developed laminitis. X-rays say she has not foundered but remains sore and walking slowly. Lacking normal behaviors like braying and meeting at fence. Started laying down a lot. No heat in the feet. Is Cushings negative and not insulin resistant according to blood work. Slightly elevated calcium levels is the only thing off. She is on three doses a day of gabapenton as she has developed neuropathy in her feet. We have Weaned her off banamine but she doesn’t seem to be improving.
I will contact you directly by email to get some more laboratory information, but, basically, if she had PHF, laminitis is a very very common part of that disease. It may be worthwhile re-x raying her feet to see if there has been slow change resulting from an initial bout of laminitis that had not changed the alignment of her coffin bone and hoof wall at the time the original radiographs were taken , but has resulted in more changes over time. Donkeys and mules don't always rotate the way horses do when they founder, so unless the person reading the radiographs has some experience beyond horses and doesn't actually measure the distance between the proximal end of the hoof wall and the extensor eminence on the coffin bone it is possible to miss laminitis. Of course there are other possibilities and would need a complete chemistry panel and Complete Blood Count to rule some of those out. Depending on what part of the country you are in a Lyme's Disease test might also be necessary. Sorry for your trauma and wish I could help more.
My donkey is about 5 years old. His back legs seem to lock up when he goes to walk? He was malnutritioned before we got him. Wondering if a supplement will help him? Thank you
Your donkey is locking its patellar ligaments over the end of his femur (thigh bone). Equines of all species can do this because it allows them to rest standing, which is important in a prey species. However, in some animals the space between the middle and the medial patellar ligaments is abnormal and the structure "catches" on a prominence on the end of the femur. In extreme cases it will actually lock the stifle (knee) joint, making it impossible for the animal to flex its hind leg. More commonly it catches and then pops free, giving the let a jerking motion when moving. Depending on how badly the joint catches or locks, this can eventually contribute pain and arthritis in the joint. There really aren't any supplements that will help, other than standard good nutrition. Poor nutrition during the growing years is a predisposing factor. Donkeys are also more prone this problem than horses or mules. Minis are especially commonly effected. Fortunately, there are a number of effective treatments:
Many just grow out of the condition as they mature
Exercise is beneficial, as improved muscle tone in the hind legs seems to keep the catching from happening....especially climbing hills will help
Trimming the hind hooves so that the lateral wall is slightly long , thus tilting the hoof laterally, will often solve the problem, in my experience, and is something that I would always try first. This should not be done radically, but a couple of extra 'licks' with the farrier's rasp on the inner wall will usually do it.
Various techniques to cause a small amount of scar formation in the medial patellar ligament will change the conformation of the inter-ligamental space and prevents the triangle formed by the two ligaments from getting caught. These involve either injecting a mild inflammatory agent into the ligament or just inserting a needle or small scalpel blade to spread some of the ligament fibers and start a very small amount of bleeding. The resultant scar makes the space smaller. All this can be done with a local anesthetic and sedation. It takes a few seconds, can be done at your farm, and has nearly no complications.
In the most persistent cases, the medial patellar ligament can be cut, because it is not essential to the functioning of the joint. This changes the inter-ligamental space the most and is always curative. Again, this only requires sedation (or mild field anesthesia in an untrained patient) and local anesthetic. It is recommended that the donkey or horse be kept in a stall for month afterward, as there have been very rare reports of patellar fracturs following this procedure, though I have never seen this happen in 43 years of practice.
Exersice and hoof trimming resolves milder cases, in my experience.
My two year old mini donkey was fine last night when stalled and this morning she is limping on her left front leg. She will not put weight on the hoof only on the toe of the hoof? Any ideas, she is in pain and hanging close to me. She had never been ill and is in great health but sure hurting today. No swelling in the lag and she has a normal healthy hoof. Thank you
While there are a lot of possibilities, I would be almost certain this is a so called "sole abscess", which could be under the sole or hoof wall and are common in even 'healthy' hooves in the winter. They can also be quite painful even if they are very small. We find that they are often found at the angle of the bars toward the heel of the hoof. For the most rapid relief, have a veterinarian or farrier out to remove a little of the overlying keratinized sole or wall and let it drain. You can poultice the hoof (Icthamol, Pine tar, Warm Epsom Salts solution, or others) to soften the sole and allow it to drain on its own. However, this will take longer and the poor little donkey will be in pain for more time. Do not give antibiotics, as they will not help the problem and have potential side effects.
I have questions regarding behavior/training and skin issues. We have a mini donkey we rescued from a well meaning neighbor who did not understand equines. They are cow people. The son bought a year old mini donkey stud and planned to breed him. Life got busy and the donkey was kept in a small pen with a goat (which he killed) for a companion and a plastic calf hut for shelter. His hoofs were often overgrown and I began scheduling the farrier to go there. The donkey was minimally handled for about 6 years. I asked the owner to work with him on picking up his feet. He didn't and I got a black eye the first time we trimmed him. We live in MN where winters can be brutal. Two years ago we set all time records for cold (30 below). Before the worst of the cold set in I asked the owner if we could bring the donkey to our place so his ears didn't get frostbite. We have a horse and several large ponies. The donkey was still a stud so this was a rough transition. He had to be kept completely separate. The donkey bit and kicked regularly. Eventually we got him gelded. This helped immensely. We still have the donkey. I have learned a lot about donkeys but don't understand things he does. He has a deep comfortable three sided shelter connected to our outdoor riding arena which is next to the paddock for the horses. He insists on standing in the rain even when it is cold. He gets rain rot every fall because of this. The rain rot is difficult to treat because the donkey's coat is very thick. If we leave him out overnight he brays loudly early in the morning like a rooster, waking us up. Due to this we generally keep him in a stall overnight. We can't get him to walk willingly on a lead no matter what we have tried. He mainly drags behind but when he is fire up he runs wildly ahead. At times he does a weird thing with his body where he does one shake of his head, body and swish of his tail at us. Is this irritation? This donkey is SUPER smart. He already knows 4 tricks including how to fetch (which he does reluctantly LOL). When we are with him loose in the arena and try to work with him he often lays his ears back and tries to stay directly behind us, especially if we are having him follow us without a lead. He appears to be trying to herd us. I can't break him of this habit. When we got him he bit and kicked terribly. We have gotten past most of that but he bit me again the other day from behind as I was leaving his pen. I can't figure out this spontaneous aggression. He is wormed regularly, up to date on vaccines and his hooves are trimmed on schedule. We also had his teeth done a year and a half ago. He does go out on pasture with the horses for 45 minutes to an hours when weather/days permit. He play/fights with our big horse and large pony gelding like he is their size. I very much limit his time in the pasture for safety and nutrition concerns but he LOVES to be with the guys. Is their someone I can speak with to give me guidance on working with this donkey? Thanks Vanessa
You clearly have a very complex problem with this mini and some of these behaviors will require patience and time to reverse. I would recommend contacting Benjamin Hart at https://www.hartshorsemanship.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=controller.viewPageContact.Ben has a world of experience in donkey behavior problems and is the behaviorist for The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth UK, the largest donkey sanctuary and welfare organization in the world. He is also a good friend who has helped us a lot with donkey behavioral issues over the years. When you contact him, tell him that Cindy Davis recommended that you ask him for help.
On the rain rot: that is also tough as donkeys tend to have skin (and hoof) problems in wet climates such as the northern States and the South East. Their skin and hooves are just poorly adpated to moisture. I wonder if he would be better about going into the shelter if he had another donkey as a friend. Our donkeys have no interest in being out in the rain, even when the horses are just getting soaked. They stay in their barn together at the first droplets. That is just a thought and cannot guarantee that it would work. You can also help prevent rain rot by regular grooming and by brushing a mild disinfectant like white vinegar into the areas where the moisture tends to accumulate.
Need to trim my donkey's hooves. The farrier is suggesting giving them an oral sedative to help calm them. Do you reccomend this and if so what sedative would you suggest?
I would suggest Dormosedan gel given at the horse dose. It HAS to be given 40 minutes (can be longer) before he starts.
I forward the Dormosedan gel suggestion. For oral dosing of Dormosedan gel, my experience is that a recalcitrant donk may take almost twice the horse dose. And waiting the 30-40 minutes is really important, even if they start dropping their head after 10 minutes. Better to have the farrier working on another animal if possible as the sedation takes affect. Farriers are understandably impatient because they are not usually getting paid to wait around.
For these cases, I usually have them try and schedule me and the farrier together for the first visit and I administer the Dormosedan intravenously (or sometimes intramuscular depending on restraint capabilities and cooperative nature of the donkey in question.) That gives us an idea of how much Dormosedan Gel should be dosed in the future for dispensing to the owner. If there needs to be a redosing on that preliminary visit, I am there to do it with intravenous injection. This keeps the farrier happy and more likely to come a second time (and third and fourth and…)
All that being said, sedation is only a temporary solution. It is absolutely vital that the donkey owner spend daily sessions (less than 10 minutes a day) training their donkey to have their feet picked up. They will save hundreds of dollars in vet and farrier bills in the long run and may even save the animal’s life.
Flies are biting his chest and legs. We wrap and spray him but they drive him nuts and he ends up chewing himself up.
We recommend swat, continue fly spray and use external measures such as fly bait (we use fly strike) and we use clarifly tubs to prevent flies from breeding in the manure
We just inherited 2 extremely fat jennies, aged 18 and 12. Mother and daughter. They were fed strictly horse feed and coastal hay. Feet in very poor condition. The mother just had her feet done today and successful at the correcting trim. The farrier told us the daughter is lame and needed to be put down. He would not touch her. We would very much like a second opinion before we look at that as the final call. We were told she fell about a year ago running in mud and they thought she tore her ligaments but they did not seek medical treatment. Said she would limp on it, but was getting better. We did not see the condition of the 2 before they were delivered to us. She has her hoof completely rotated back and puts pressure on what should be upper front part of her hoof (a part that should never be touching the ground). She tries to walk correctly, but hoof falls back because it is not trimmed for a very long time and there is no other way for it to fall in its current state. We were hoping for maybe an orthopedic shoe for her, but the farrier said that's not an option. This was the first time we had worked with him, so that is why we are seeking other opinions before euthanasia as an option. I can send pictures, too, if that helps. We don't want her suffering, but we don't want the mom so grief struck, either.
If the problem is a hoof that is bearing weight on the dorsal wall, there are a number of treatments that range from hoof trimming to a fairly simple surgery to release the deep flexor tendon contracture. I think photographs, video(s) and even radiographs would be helpful as well as visit with their veterinarian to assist with making the best decision for this donkey.
Hello! I have a jinny who is foundering and my vet and I are horse people. We started her on banamine but are wondering if it is the best nsaid since we have read it is metabolized quicker. We are giving her the dose for a horse if her small size. She’s about 400 lbs. any suggestions on which NSAID is best for this situation would help us.
Flunixin (Banamine) is probably about as good as anything and is safer than Phenylbutazone ("Bute"). It does metabolize faster, but as a practical matter most use the horse dose and dosing interval. As you know the main issue is addressing the cause of the laminitis with diet and hoof care. Short term Flunixin will give some relief as will cold water soaks (in the most acute phase).
I have recently purchased two donkeys, born this past spring. They're friendly, but not used to people handling them. they are not tame and I need to tame them in a gentle manner so I can halter them and castrate one and trim them both when they need it. How do I tame them? I'm had extensive experience, since 1999 With Parelli Natural Horsemanship but not with an equine that had never been haltered. How to do I go about this?
Most importantly is time and patience. Donkeys are incredibly smart and the best way to train them is through positive reinforcement. Take your time. Spend 15 or so minutes every day. We have several "how-to" videos on our YouTube channel which can be found at www.donkeyrescue.tv -- examples include "How to Trailer your donkey" and "How to pick up donkey's hooves."
My parents and I have a new 8 year old female donkey who has never had her hooves done. She threw my father and the hoof dr against the wall.....bucking etc, even after she watched our male of 17 years have no problem getting them trimmed. What should we do?
Here is a link to our YouTube channel which if you scroll down a bit, has lots of "how to" videos on this particular subject: www.donkeyrescue.tv -- Most importantly is time and patience. Donkeys are incredibly smart and the best way to train them is through positive reinforcement. Take your time. Spend 15 or so minutes every day, even if those steps are baby steps.
If after reviewing these videos, you still have some specific questions, please let us know -- we're happy to help.
Advice please. I’m grasping at straws to make my donkey better.
6/27/19 first visit, vet wrapped hoof both hoofs for abscess, worst hoof was front right. Unwrapped 7/02/ 19, abscess blew out of the coronet band, soaked several days in Epsom salt, donkey still limped some, after 2 weeks donkey still limped some but not as bad, messaged the vet to see if I needed to do anything else he said No, healing from coronet band abscess is a long healing process. Still limping on 7/28/19 I rewrapped with ichthammol, unwrapped 7/31/19 and could see a pinkish puss draining by the coronet band, soaked my in Epsom a few times. Some days he doesn’t limp as bad and walks with a fairly good gait, was putting weight on his hoof. Last 2 days he’s giving into his hoof again but still walking. “Friend” that has horses (not a vet) looked at his hoof and said he thought his coffin bone was effected and should think about putting donkey down. I think x-rays should be done to confirm that. I’m thinking of wrapping him today in sugardine for 2 days and see how he does. I don’t want to lose my donkey, he’s a big donkey pet. I appreciate a reply of your thoughts. I will get my vet back out this week. Thank you for your input and time. I’m desperate to make him better
Before assuming that the coffin bone is involved you should definitely get radiographs (x-rays). Even if it IS involved , as long as the coffin joint or navicular bursa are not involved, this is likely treatable . To get abscesses to heal you need to:
1. Remove any hoof wall or sole covering the abscess material as the bacteria that cause the infections are sensitive to oxygen AND you have to get any dirt or sand out of the area that is trying to heal.
2. Get rid of the bacterial infection, without using caustic agents which retard healing by injuring the hoof tissue. Antibiotics used locally (NOT by injection or feed into the donkey), such as metronidazole or tetracycline work well for this.
3. keep the hooves scrupulously dry (again: no caustics, just a dry environment). It does take months for the hoof wall that separated at the coronary band to grow all the way out and be replaced by normal wall. However, once the infection and dirt is remove from the abscess track the tissue should start to granulate and heal and the pain should resolve. The fact that you still have exudate (puss) suggests that there is still infection lurking under the wall or sole.
Radiographs can help identify these and also tell the farrier where they can trim more, without contacting bone. Sometimes removing the wall/sole can be done more exactly with a Dremel tool. Also, there are times when so much wall needs to be removed that you lose more than 2/3's of the circumference of the normal weight bearing wall of the hoof. If this happens you may need to put a padded boot or other protective device on the hoof. This will need to be removed, cleaned, and the tissues treated daily. It is hard to recommend the exact location of trimming or of boot placement without seeing the hoof and x-rays. So these are general recommendations.
We have two older donkeys, standard and a mini. We have had our standard for 12 years and she is approx 30 years old. The mini came to us from the SPCA 3 years ago. We are located in North Texas (Keller TX) and due to this years weather, our pastures are very green and proving to be dangerous to our donks.
Both are suffering from beginning stages of Laminitis. We are currently housing them in a small area so that can not graze. However, I'm finding it very difficult to come up with a low sugar hay for them. I was able to find Timothy and Teff. Not able to get straw. What would you recommend?
Grass hay is the number one feed choice for donkeys. Types of grass hay include: Bermuda, Coastal Bermuda, Orchard, Timothy & Brome.
Our standard donkey who is the easiest keeper came up lame in one leg about 5 days ago. We began soaking in Epsom salts 2x day and gave him butte. Not much changed. A farrier visit had already been scheduled and she said it was white line in all 4 feet. I ordered Magic Cushion, and Clean Trax. I figured I would do one or two Clean Trax treatments followed by the Magic Cushion. Is this the right path? In the meantime while we wait for this stuff to arrive, we will keep him off pasture, keep the hooves clean, and brush with 50% water to bleach ratio? He had only been on pasture 1 hour twice a day with a pound of hay after.
I sympathize with the owner (and of course, the donkey) and recognize that what we call lameness is often brought on by a combination of factors. To really come up with at diagnosis, one would have to know a little more about this case, primarily: "how lame is this donkey?" If we make "1" as a case where it is very hard to see any abnormal gait at all, even at the trot, and "5" where the patient will not bear any weight at all on the leg, where is this donkey on that spectrum? I am also assuming that you cannot feel or see any swelling somewhere else in the leg. It does sound like the hoof is the site of the problem and that he may very well have "white line disease" in all 4 feet. However, WLD only causes severe lameness in extreme cases, and since your farrier feels that all 4 feet are affected, yet the lameness is primarily in one leg, you have to wonder if there is something else going on with that lame leg. Was a 'hoof tester' used on the affected hoof? It does sound like this might be a wall or sole abscess, which the donkey could have in addition to the WLD. Hoof testers are a good way to isolate the area of the abscess. There also seems to be some concern over laminitis. Does the donkey's hoof growth or previous x-rays suggest that this donkey has chronic laminitis? Is the donkey obese? For the time being, your treatment of the White Line situation is appropriate. My experience is that all the separated wall must be removed, back to normal white line and hoof wall tissue, to achieve a cure in WLD. This often requires some kind of hoof protection to allow the more sensitive structures of the hoof from bruising. So your hoof packing and, perhaps, a boot are good ideas. Scrupulous cleanliness and the local treatment you are using , along with hour farrier's help, can overcome WLD. If the lameness is in the 3-5 category, and if it persists for any number of days, we would also recommend a veterinary visit.
What is your best treatment for white line disease in donkeys?
White line disease can be frustrating to deal with for sure and seems to be very common in donkeys. Depending on the severity, treatment often entails a hoof wall resection by a farrier. This procedure allows for oxygenation of the affected area so that the causative anaerobic bacteria can no longer survive. Treatment and prevention should also be focused on good hygiene and keeping the hooves as clean and dry as possible.
I think our 3 year old mule might have an abscess near the frog on his left front hoof he has always been really sensitive on the left side what can I do to help him?
It would be best to get a veterinarian out to the farm to take a look at your mule. Since it sounds like he has always had some sensitivity in that area, a thorough exam is a very good idea. It may be an abscess, or it may require further diagnostics such as x-rays to determine the cause of the sensitivity and then come up with the best treatment plan. Further, mules and donkeys, unlike most horses, can have pain in the lateral sulci (deep grooves next to the frog) resulting from chronic anaerobic bacterial infection thinning the keratinized covering of the sensitive tissues that form the sole and frog. They will react to minor hoof pick pressure. They respond to treating the infection (sometimes called "thrush") and allowing the hooves to dry out and toughen.
How often do donkeys need to be trimmed?
Hoof growth is impacted by many variables. Donkeys on hard rocky ground may never need trimming, wild burros hooves are typically perfect. Nutrition and time of year can also influence growth, hooves grow less in colder months as the donkey's metabolism switches gears and uses more energy to keep warm.
I recently adopted a young donkey (estimated a year old). She has been awesome and healthy until a couple days ago. One nostril has some white, thick discharge and some of it has dried around her nostril. It doesn’t seem to smell of anything and isn’t running out a bunch to the point where I would be alarmed enough to call a vet, and she is acting completely fine. Eats all her food, happy to see me, breathing fine, temperature is fine… from the visual aspect she seems completely fine. Recently we have had some bipolar weather (sunny for one day then a storm hits the next day, wind, cold then hot temperatures) and she is in a dirt paddock with my horse so I know dirt has had to gotten in her nose. I also read that this could potentially be in relation to a tooth issue? Hence, why I’m putting this in the tooth category.
My question is should I worry too much about this? Possibly some dirt that got in her nostril and is trying to make its way out? Just want to make sure that if a vet is needed then I contact them.
It is unlikely that dirt is causing this. Donkeys have excellent ability to clear dirt and dust from their nasal passages, as they are desert adapted animals. In a young donkey this could be a simple sinus infection from an of a variety of viruses. Donkeys are more likely to have symptoms from an equine influenza virus than horses are. They also are notoriously stoic. So even if she seems fine, if the discharge persists for more than a day, I would take her temperature (use a regular digital thermometer inserted with some lubricant in her anus for 2 minutes). If the temperature is over 101.5 F you need to have a veterinarian look at her. Another more serious possibility is a bacterial infection with a Streptococcus. Feel around her throat and under her jaw to see if she has any swellings that may be developing abscesses. Again, if these are present they should be examined by veterinarian. You are right that tooth root abscesses causing a sinus infection and nasal discharge are rare in young animals. They are also associated with a very foul odor. However, a tooth problem is not impossible and an oral exam and a dental x-ray may be necessary if this problem persists or if you notice an odor in her mouth or nostril.
Can donkeys have sulphur? (I offer to my other animals for pest control) and wonder if safe for mini donkeys.
I offer white salt block at all times.
I also occasionally set out a selenium block.
Sulfur is a nutrient and is healthy for all animals in small quantities. It has also been used topically for external parasites. There is no objective research showing that it is particularly effective against internal parasites. So, to be on the safe side, you might consider giving to your mini as part of a mixed trace mineral supplement or salt block. This would avoid mistakes in dosage and still give your donkey some of this important mineral.
I have a BLM burro that is 4 years (approximately) old. She likes to suck on my fingers why is this? Have you ever seen this behavior before?
Donkeys are extremely inquisitive and will nibble and actually suck on a variety of things. It may also be that she did now wean until she was 3 or so. In the wild jennets often will nurse a foal intermittently long after we would expect a domestic foal to be weaned. They will even nurse with the next year's foal at side.
Our 18-year-old Jenny recently was hospitalized for high triglycerides due to a dental problem. The dental problem was addressed a feeding tube was placed due to 636 triglyceride count. They came down and after a two week hospitalization she came home. She’s been home for less than 24 hours and is still circling will eat grain ,nibbles on hay , nibbles on grass but tends to be circling in a stall a lot. She’s receiving a 200 pound dose of Banta mean morning and night for the first two days that she’s home and then once a day for the next three days. My main concern is the vets in our area do not know an tin on donkeys but enough to treat. I’m concerned if the circling doesn’t stop that she’s going to go into a negative energy balance again due moving most of her day and not grazing on grass or hay as usual
Thank you so much for your time
I am sorry, but do you mean "Banamine" instead of "Banta"? If not and she is getting something called "Banta". I agree that not eating normally could put her in negative energy balance again. My first thought is that the circling is a result of being worried and anxious. Is it possible to put a donkey "friend" in with her? It is possible that the transport to the hospital, a return, and, perhaps, a change in routine at home could be causing this. Unfortunately, another concern on an animal that is circling has a neurologic cause. If your donkey was hyperlipemic (fat/triglycerides in the blood) there may be chronic liver damage, which can result in neurologic disease and confusion from a liver not detoxifying certain products of digestion. Liver function can be investigated using a laboratory test called "Bile Acids" .
We are adopting a donkey from the BLM. He is between 1-2 years old. The trainer noticed yesterday that all of his bottom left teeth are missing. She thinks possibly they were kicked out. She said the gums are sealed. Do you think his adult teeth will come in? Any issues to worry about if they do not?
I am pretty sure that you mean this young donkey's incisor teeth, as those would be the ones that could be examined without a speculum. Yes, at this donkey's age the teeth were likely broken off by a kick. If that's the case the permanent incisors should erupt through the gums starting at 3 years old. It might be possible to feel the permanents under the gum, if the donkey will allow that. Otherwise, the only way that you could tell for sure would be to x-ray the jaw. However, even if your donkey was missing incisor teeth they are only important for cropping coarse grass or for biting other donkeys. Donkeys and horses do fine without any incisor teeth under the feeding and management conditions that are used in domestication.
I have 2 Jennies aged 3 and 4. Are they likely to need their teeth floated soon? Should I be getting their teeth examined under sedation every year like my horses or is that not necessary yet?
Yes! They should have their teeth evaluated every year like a horse.
Not sure if this is a tooth issue. This morning I noticed a small lump on the left side of one of my mini donkey's face. It is about 1.5" long. It feels rock hard, not soft at all. Does not appear to hurt when I pushed on it. She is eating her hay as normal and also her small piece of alfalfa cube treat. Other than the lump she appears her usual self. My vet coming Monday. Anything you can suggest I can or should do until then?
No this is not something requiring immediate treatment. If the donkey is chewing normally, there is no blood coming from mouth, and no excess salivation it is VERY unlikely to be a foreign body. As teeth erupt sometimes the pressure on the inside of the alveolus (the hole that the tooth originates from) will cause bone on the outside of the face or jaw (usually the jaw) to grow abnormally and form a bump. These are usually not a problem for the donkey and often resolve as a young animal gets older and the deciduous "cap " comes off the growing tooth, relieving the pressure. Your veterinarian can look in the mouth and maybe take an x-ray and diagnose this pretty easily. Very very very rarely bone tumors can develop in the jaw and facial bones. I would not worry about this, but do get the cause diagnosed.
How often should my donkey have his teeth checked?
Here is PVDR Policy:
A donkey's teeth can acquire sharp edges from years of grinding their food. These edges can cut the inside of the mouth making it difficult for a donkey to chew properly. A warning sign is wet clumps of undigested hay laying in the feeding area. A procedure known as "floating" grinds the sharp edges down and creates a more even bite. The procedure is usually done under a light sedation and the donkey must be immobilized.
All donkeys teeth will be checked annually by our in-house medical staff, this can be done in conjunction with annual vaccines. Any donkey over the age of 10 should be checked annually for teeth problems by a certified professional. Aside from sharp edges, another major problem is lost teeth. Old Age, poor food quality and fighting are the most common causes of tooth loss. Without the upper and lower tooth working together, a donkey cannot chew food properly. Weight loss is a sign of chronic tooth problems.
All senior donkeys 20+ should have their teeth checked every six months by a certified professional. They should also be assessed for additional feed requirements. Sweet feed is a good choice as it is easy to chew. All dental work must be recorded on Lightspoke.
Hello, my standard donkey, Alfred, was diagnosed in late April with a quiet and mild sounding diastolic murmur but also has jugular regurgitation extending 1/2 way up his neck. His pulse was normal. He had been laying down a lot and I called in an emergency one morning, they found the murmur, saw he was fine on banamine I gave him though too, they just said I need to accept him laying down due to the murmur. That day I gave his last 1/3 bag of equibits so he had those then I planned on giving him Quest the next day (my vets office slow kill method he usually needs every spring but I did not test before starting) but the vet told me to stop deworming him and he doesn't need it and he is just tired. anyway, he did not excessively lay down at all for 21 days since that very day the vet came on 4/24. Meanwhile, I am asking the vets why he hasn't laid down if it is heart disease. They said they don't know. His CBC looked great from 4/24 and I found out on 5/4 his lyme level was in the 3,000s so they said treat him for lyme and maybe that is what it is and so I did and I think it gave him ulcers because he started laying down again on 5/16 the day after another vet came to repull his blood for ACTH because they forgot to send in for that. He was very stressed during both blood pulls (4/24 and 5/16). His ACTH level came back 52 units. I started him on prascend like they advised but it seemed to make him dopey and stumbly once he was finally on it successfully. He was also on Previcox after i was giving him bute and banamine trials and I added in ulcergard too. It was all sorts of confusing watching my donkey lay down for 3 hrs at a time and the vets telling me he may have severe arthtitis and to do previcox...i suggested EPM but then I realized It really seems to be stomach discomfort only. New vet came said he looks fantastic for 30 plus years old. Need to lose a little weight, not in heart failure right now, confirmed dopeyness and said I can try taking him off previcox and even the prascend too and the next day he improved greatly. I probably shoulsve just dropped the previcox only but i didnt. I forgot to say that I also did a powerpak 6/2-6/6 and he seemed to greatly improve after it. I think this was/is parasite and ulcer issue but i will never know I guess. The new vet gave me the green light to do quest for my encysted strongyle theory. I did that 3 weeks ago and also did ten days of 3/4 tube Ulcergard and he almost never lays down during the day that I see. Except I think he may need more ulcergard that is coming tomorrow. Not sure. I would like to retest him this fall for Cushings and hopefully he won't be stressed for it. Do you think it is necessary or do you know if a 52 ACTH level when stressed with fighting the vet is indicative of PPID? Sometimes I think he urinates exessively because I see him pee multiple times a day, but idk anymore. I Also think he takes more breaths than he should. He plays with my horse still. He has a great appetite. He stoppped resting his right hind so much and completely stopped crossing it over his left once i did the panacur pak. Sorry if the story is confusing. I am also trying to get a cardiac workup done at my house so I may have a prognosis and help him live happily longer with any meds. I love my donkey Alfred ao much and want to so everything I can for him. I have him on Foxden Balance EQ for Cushings only. Should I put him back on Prascend? Should I worry about his murmur and mitral or aortic regurgitation? Thank you in advance.
An ACTH of 52 in a donkey undergoing stress and between July and October is just a little high. He should be retested in the fall if there is concern about PPID, which one might have if he had other symptoms like a distended abdomen, hair that won't shed out, laminitis, or dental infections. Especially if he seemed to be lethargic on Prascend, I would not start it again without more reason to suspect a Pituitary adenoma. Alfred's heart murmur may or may not be significant. Basically, the loudness of a heart murmur is poorly correlated with the degree of compromise in the heart and circulatory system. For this reason, you pretty well have to do an echocardiogram with Doppler measurements to determine if this is really a problem. Unfortunately, treatments for mitral regurgitation or an aortic aneurism, in equids are pretty limited. I think keeping him healthy with proper dental care, hoof trimming, and a good balanced diet are the best that you can do to keep your friend happy in is later years.
My donkey, Lily has her stomach extended on both sides. I have been sick my own self and somebody else has been taking care of her. I see that she has not gone to the bathroom. What can I do to make her go?
If your donkey has not made any manure for a day, even, I would expect her to be showing signs of colic. These would include laying down a lot or rolling. If that is the case, she should be examined by a veterinarian. She would also stop eating. If she is only passing small amounts of manure or the balls are small you might be able to improve her passage of feces, and she is still eating, you might try to feed her some bran soaked in warm water to get more liquid into her digestive system. Warm feed also has a tendency to increase intestinal motility. There are drugs that can increase intestinal motility and act as a laxative, or things like mineral oil or magnesium sulfate can be placed in the donkey's stomach by passing a tube. These require the skills of a veterinarian to administer. Do not try to give them by mouth, because if the donkey doesn't swallow properly the fluids could go into her lungs and cause severe problems. Also, so not try to give her an enema. The rectum in donkeys is very fragile and can be ruptured if an enema is not administered very carefully. So, the best thing for your donkey is for you to get a veterinarian out and help you with her.
What can cause diarrhea in a nursing donkey? It isnt everyday buy every once in a while.
Occasional diarrhea occurs in all ages of donkeys. When a nursing foals develop diarrhea, it can be from hormonal changes in the mare as she progresses through the estrus cycle, mild virus infections, digestive upset from changes in the intestinal bacteria (microflora), or for other reasons that seem to be very hard to diagnose. As long as this involves an occasional "squirt" of loose feces and the foal is bright and eating, it is not a big problem. Mild diarrhea in an otherwise healthy foal will respond to Peptobismol. If the foal is over a month old it would also be a good idea to have its feces checked for worm parasites, as these can cause loose stool.
I think my senior donkey is constipated. She stands at the manure pile with her tail raised like wants to poop, but nothing comes. She is able to occasionally get out some small balls, but not her usual. She is somewhat listless as well. Afew weeks ago, we stopped letting her out to pasture as the field has gotten too lush and green. So her diet changed to hay mostly. I love in southern Indiana and we have had 2 vets in row retire. We can't get a vet to return our calls
I am sorry to hear that you are dealing with not only the health of your elderly donkey, but a major shift in the veterinary profession that is sweeping the rural United States. Our non-profit is struggling to interest young veterinarians in working in rural communities, but the economic and educational forces are on the other side. I could go on in more detail, but your donkey needs help now. There may very well be intermittent or partial blockage of the loser gastrointestinal track, mainly the small colon and rectum. Unfortunately, structural causes like internal abscesses or tumors would require a veterinary exam to identify, and I would urge you to continue trying to identify a veterinarian to help you. I don't know how far you are from West Lafayette, but transporting your donkey to the veterinary college at Purdue may be necessary. Other things to consider would be the donkey's teeth, especially if it is old. The inability to masticate feed properly can definitely lead to intestinal impaction. If you can find an equine dentist to look at your donkey's teeth and potentially fix any problems that could help. Often with very old donkeys the teeth become "expired" or too short to be effective. We have a couple of donkeys like this and feeding Psyllium mixed with hay pellets soaked in warm water really helps the avoid impaction (blockage by poorly chewed forage). So, I would definitely add two heaping tablespoons of psyllium to the diet , again, in a soaked hay pellet mash. Good luck with finding the veterinarian, because that would really be helpful, and I am sorry for the way my profession has tended recently.
We have a 3 day old foal whose stool looks like a milky yellow substance. On day two it was pretty watery and day 3 there was more consistency to it. What is new foal stool supposed to look like?
Assuming your donkey foal is otherwise bright, alert, and nursing, those feces are not particularly abnormal and I imagine that they will start to gain more substance.
My donkey is laying down and not talking. I think it's mild colic since he is not thrashing or sweating. He hasn't had hay from his previous owners and we just gave him a big round bale. I'm am keeping him up on his feet. He won't let me touch him so I am keep him moving. What else can I do that's not medicine?
Donkeys often do not show abdominal pain the way horses do. They can be quite colicky and not sweat or roll. Walking may help increase gut motility, but for pain relief he really needs to be seen by a veterinarian. A veterinarian could also give him fluids by a stomach tube , since an impaction from hay is often dry and hard and needs moisture to soften it. You can't give enough water with an oral syringe and you may put it into his lungs if you try. If he is not halter trained, you can pin him with a panel tied to the fence, which will allow the veterinarian to give him a sedative, which will also ease his pain, make him relax, and allow the obstruction to move through. You should do this as soon as possible.
I went out to feed my 3ish year old donkey today and saw that 2 of the plastic covers for the lights that are hung in the barn are missing and not to be found. I’m worried my donkey ate the plastic. What should I do? What should I look for?
While eating plastic certainly is not ideal, donkeys in many parts of the world exist on eating garbage, which often contains plastic. The chew things very well and this allows the undigestible material to pass through MOST of the time. There are a couple of places in the digestive track where plastic can cause an impaction . There is not much that you can do about that, but you do need to watch for signs of colic such as unwillingness to eat, repeated rolling, and pawing at the ground a lot. If this occurs you will need to call your veterinarian for treatment, which could include mineral oil or DSS given by nasogastric tube and IV fluids. There is a good chance that he will be fine.
Hi, please could you help me with an aprox 3 mnth old orphan.
His mom came in with a very bad infection and had to be pts.
The vet said that the young jack had most likely been drinking bad milk and grazing more than actually getting anything good from mommy.
He generally has a thin frame and huge hanging belly and knock knees, please can you suggest what would be the best diet for him. As well as any extras we can give, our vet said not to put him on milk as he did not think he had been drinking from mama for quite a while but only nuzzling.
Your orphan donkey foal has PEM (Protein Energy Malnutrition). This is what starving children famine countries undergo when they develop the distended abdomens and thin limbs. If it continues the foal will be permanently stunted and potentially have bone deformities. It is essential that a 3 month old donkey be on a diet that contains the constituents found in milk. He may not drink from a bucket or a bottle, since he was not getting milk from his mother. I think that may be what your veterinarian meant when he told you not to feed the foal milk. You can use a product like "Mare's Match" or "Foal-Lac" pellets to make up for the lack of nursing. These pellets are made of dehydrated milk, with some added vitamins and minerals. There are detailed directions on the buckets that these supplements come in and you may have to coax him to eat the milk pellets because he will not know that they are food. What we have done is to take a sweetened pellet like Equine Senior (Equine Junior would be better nutritionally, but we've found that in reluctant foals the Senior is more desirable) moisten the pellets with warm water (usually equal volumes) until a soft mash is formed. Mix the milk pellets with the mash and maybe put a little apple sauce or Karo syrup on top. Once he gets the idea that the pellets are good to eat you can feed them without the mash. I would feed him Equine Junior along with the milk pellets for several months at least. Foals in the wild will nurse their mothers until they are a year or more old and this poor little guy is already behind. I would begin this feed transition immediately and be sure that any hay that he is eating is high quality and digestible. This is one instance where one might feed a donkey some alfalfa, because of its higher levels of protein, digestible energy, and minerals (Calcium and Magnesium). A foal in this condition should also have its manure checked microscopically for parasite eggs. Deworming should be done slowly, starting with a half dose several days before a full dose is given. He could also have developed a severe load of Parascaris equorum and you have to be careful not to kill the too fast, as they could cause an intestinal impaction. Pyrantel Pamoate or Fenbendazole would be appropriate treatments.
Burro is not interested in water or food. Acting disinterested and shows little activity. Colic??
Approx 250 lbs.
We have bananine and can offer some.
Suggestions on amount to administer.
Abdominal pain, also known as colic could be keeping your donkey from eating and drinking. Besides his general level of health, it also depends on how long he has been not eating. If it just today (last 12 hours) Banamine (Flunixin meglumine) could make an impaction in his digestive track feel better, allowing the return of normal motility, and get him to be interested in food and water. However, there are a lot of things that can make an animal not want to eat. Does he have a fever (rectal temperature over 101.5 F)? Does he have any signs of chronic laminitis (founder)? When were his teeth looked at last? Although Banamine given at the normal horse dose 1 mg/kg, which would be about 2.5 mls in your donkey's case is generally pretty safe, like all NSAID's it can have side effects on the gastrointestinal track and kidneys, especially if given frequently or if the animal is dehydrated. So, you could try the Banamine once. However, if this does not change the situation, or if the problem has been going on for a day or more, you really need to have a veterinary examination. As with all herbivores, not eating palatable food when offered is abnormal, and, because donkeys are very stoic anyway, your donkey could have a serious health problem which will only get worse without diagnosis and treatment .
What can you do if donkey is impacted . 18yr old Mammoth Jack. Wouldn’t poop or eat. We had vet come out and pumped him with mineral oil and fluids, also removed some stool rectally , still nothing. Called back and they are suggesting we put him down????????????isn’t there any other solution. We don’t want him to suffer but this seems extreme wondering if there is anything else we can try before resorting to losing him
It is hard to give specific suggestions without a little more information, such as : How was the impaction diagnosed? What was the diet? I the donkey showing signs of colic (rolling, laying down) ? Is there any abdominal distension? What analgesic drugs have been administered? Temperature, pulse, and respiration? Has any laboratory work been done? What did the manure look like that was removed manually? However, in general, impactions in donkeys can be difficult to treat. Besides the fluids and nasogastric fluids, giving IV fluids at the rate of 25 mls/kg over an hour, followed by the same amount if there is no improvement may help a lot. Fluids orally or by tube may not "get around" an impaction, whereas when given IV they will "leak" through the mucosa into an intestinal blockage and soften it. While it is not a good idea to force animals with an impaction to move until everyone is exhausted, some walking can stimulate intestinal motility. If the actual impaction could not be palpated rectally, it is possible that other things could be causing blockage, such as sand or a displaced colon. The first may respond to Psyllium , but displacements usually require surgery. If this has been going on for a day and drugs, exercise, fluids, and mineral oil are not helping , surgery may be the best option. A healthy 18 year old donkey would be a good candidate for surgery, although it would be important to check the blood triglyceride levels and liver enzymes to be sure that hyperlipemia has not already developed. Another option, which is less expensive than referral to a surgical center and can be done "in the field" is to do a "flank laparotomy" (an incision in the flank under local anesthesia with the donkey awake) which would allow the veterinarian to feel the abdominal contents and make a very accurate diagnosis. Certain types of obstructions can be treated by this approach too.
My donkey has diarrhea. Can I use deworming meds that I give my sheep and goats or is there equine specific formulas?
There are equine specific dewormers such as Vetrimec Paste (Ivermectin 1.87%), Safe-Guard (Benzimidazole), or combo dewormers like Zimecterin Gold and Quest.
Diarrhea doesn't always mean that a donkey has parasites. I highly recommend calling your local vet and having him seen. Having a fecal done would rule out parasites or direct you to the right dewormer for the specific parasite.
My mini is dragging her butt against the fence and wearing off her hair. She gets wormed regularly. What is this and what should I do?
If worms are causing the problem, they would be "Pin Worms" , Oxyuris equi. They live in the colon and cause itching when the females migrate down the rectum and out through the anus where they lay their eggs. We used use Scotch tape to pickup the eggs by a horse or donkey's anus, for diagnosis. However, with modern wormers Oxyuris is rarely found. Other causes of itching (which usually involves the tail) are lice (Damelina equi or Haematopinus asini) or insect bite hypersensitivity (common in minis). The lice are very small and can be found, along with their eggs, most easily in the mane. You can tell the eggs (nits) because there will be very tiny bodies attached to the hairs, which are all the same size. It may be necessary to have a magnifying glass to see them. With patience you can see the adult lice move, though you may need a magnifying glass. Lice in donkeys can be treated with Carbaryl, Equi Spot, or Neem Oil baths. Anything that will cause skin hypersensitivity can cause them to itch, and, again, this is common in minis. That can be treated with antihistamines or anti-inflammatory steroids. We have one mini here that requires a fly blanket in the summer, because any amount of fly contact sets off a serious scratching episode which can cause her to lose all the hair on her rump. I would start by ruling out the lice, and then considering treating her for skin allergy.
I'm in a remote village and saw an injured donkey with a broken leg (the bone is sticking out and there are maggots). There is no vet here so rescue options are extremely limited. We cleaned the wound and fed it some food and tried to give him water. He readily ate the food and even stood up in about 10 minutes, but he refused to drink water. He was also salivating a lot. Is this normal? I also wanted to ask about rabies in donkeys- I was not bitten, nor do I have open wounds but just as a precaution. What else do you think I could do?.
This is a tough one. I am not sure what country you are in , though I guess it might be Mexico. This makes a difference because the incidence of rabies differs between countries, as does the type of fly that may have caused those maggots. North of Panama, the screw worm fly has been eradicated, but in other parts of the tropics and south Asia these insects exist. This is important because regular maggots of the house fly or stable fly only eat dead tissue. Screw worm fly maggots will eat into living parts of the animal and cause severe disease. A compound (open) fracture like that is very unlikely to heal on its own, depending a little bit on what bone is actually broken. In fact, in a modern veterinary surgery I would give the owner a poor prognosis for success, with IV antibiotics, and orthopedic implants. However, I have seen these heal, and actually have a donkey that we rescued from Mexico with a radial fracture that healed on its own. The problem is that this poor animal is going to suffer for months and months, on the tiny chance that the fragments may form some kind of union. More likely it will die of starvation or being eaten by dogs when it gets to the point that it cannot mover around. For this reason, we would generally recommend euthanasia, which in many parts of the world is a problem in itself. In the years that I have worked in Central America and Mexico, "putting an animal to sleep" is not culturally accepted. Occasionally, an incapacitated horse will be slaughtered and butchered for meat, but donkey meat is not eaten in those countries. Then there is the problem of how one would euthanize under those circumstances. Without a veterinarian available, about your only option is gunshot, which while effective and humane, has all kinds of legal and safety implications in the countriside of many places. Believe me, I have come across these cases a number of times, and , even as a veterinarian they are very very taxing on the soul. I guess I would provide this donkey as much feed as you can, and possibly find some straw, leaves, or corn stalk for it to bed on. Don't worry about the water. Just make it available, If the donkey needs water it will drink. The only other alternative would be to pass a nasogastric tube and put water in its stomach, but that will require a veterinarian or skilled technician and is likely unnecessary. Attempts to splint the leg, unless you plan to be in the area for months and care for it daily, are likely to just make matters worse and create more pain. I am sorry that I cannot help more with this, because I have definitely been there.
We couldn't find any hay in our area for about 3 months so we have the 2 donkeys Triple crown light feed as vet advised. Hay has now become available again so got some orchard grass giving them hay and still about half the feed. We keep the water container clean and full. The poop has turned to a pile of nickel size balls. I guess they are constipated. What should I do?
If they are not straining to poop or showing colic symptoms ( not eating, laying down more than normal on their sides, rolling repeatedly) it is unlikely that they are constipated. With the higher digestibility orchard grass hay and the pellets, it may be that the diet is so digestible that they are not getting enough mass to make regular fecal balls. How much hay and how much Triple Crown are you feeding. Donkeys are extremely efficient and will digest and utilize roughage much more efficiently than horses. You could put more bulk in the diet by feeding straw. We use wheat straw and try to get the long stemmed bedding kind. They don't necessarily like the straw as much as hay, but if fed in appropriate amounts (we feed twice as much straw as hay), they eat it, giving them something to do without making them fat.
I am fixing to treat my pond with Copper Sulphate but I have grown and baby Donkeys drinking from it. Is it safe to use considering they will be consuming it?
Copper can be an extremely toxic compound. It would depend on how much was going to be put into the pond. While equids (horses and donkeys) are pretty resistant to copper toxicity , sheep and goats are very sensitive to copper poisoning. So if you have small ruminants around I would not use copper sulfate. Are you using it for snail control or for fish parasites? If possible I would consider alternative measures.
My 2 day baby jack donkey is running and playing one minute & lartargic the next treated him for colic today pees a lot has a swollen balloon look on end of penis which doesn’t seem to affect his peeing but he doesn’t draw it back in is there a reason
In a foal that young I would be very worried about sudden lethargy. They are so susceptible to infections that can come from the umbilical chord at birth or through the lungs. At 2 days is about the time that symptoms would develop and, if infection becomes established, these can be fatal. A veterinarian needs to do a blood test called a CBC (complete blood count) and measure a protein called "fibrinogen" to see if there is an infection. The overall blood protein and antibody levels should also be checked. Since there is a potential urinary problem, blood urea nitrogen, electrolytes, and other blood values should also be measured. I hope this is not a serious, post-natal infection, but because there is a chance that it is, you need to have this foal examined, tested, and a diagnosis made right away. The exam and tests should be done today.
My young donkey - 3 years old has diarrhea occasionally. It’s more like cow plop and seems to resolve itself within a few days. She does chew wood and tree, and also will dig and eat straight up dirt. She is on free choice minerals…so not sure what she would be missing. My other donkey occasionally has it too… it not as much. Just wondering what could be causing it and if I should worry?
I feed them a mix of Timothy, wheat straw & small amount of orchard grass.
Some donkeys will occasionally have soft feces or diarrhea. It does not seem to be a problem for them and is probably the result of them chewing on a particular branch or weed, or, possibly, something that is making them upset. However, particularly if your donkey eats dirt, it would be a good idea to be sure that she is not accumulating sand in her large colon. To do this get a handful of her poop, put it in a plastic bag with water and shake it up until it dissolves. Then hang it up for 5-10 minutes and see if any sand accumulates at the bottom of the bag. If there is more than a teaspoon of sand, she may have sand in her large colon. Your veterinarian can also diagnose this by listening to the bottom of her abdomen with a stethoscope. Sand in the colon responds to feeding psyllium, which can be purchased either as pellets or in bulk from Bulk Foods. com (this is cheaper than the pellets). Long term sand in the colon can result in weight loss and, if it gets to be too much, can also cause a small colon impaction, which can be serious. I would try to rule this out as a cause of her soft manure.
I just inherited a small donkey,not a mini but little.ihave been feeding grass hay or grass alfalfa. I fed this am and just went out and he has swelling in front of hind quarters.no rolling no apparent pain.horses I know donkeys Help.
Without a little more information, such as other donkeys or horses in the corral, access to other feeds, and the consistency of the swelling it is a little hard to give you a good idea of what may be causing the swelling. I would not feed any alfalfa to a donkey though. It is too high digestible energy and will cause them to become obese. It is also very fermentable and may be swelling this donkey's colon with gas. I would stick to just grass hay (orchard, rye, or Teff) and mix it with some straw. Donkeys are much much better at extracting nutrients from feed than horses.
I have a mini 35in tall, I witnessed him drinking water for 29 minutes straight. The drinking a lot of water is a new behavior when the weather was getting hot. The weather has changed off and on, but he is still bloated belly full of food, water and poo. He has always eaten his poo. What can I test for?
I have signed up for the Donkey Symposium but I don't think I should wait that long.
Drinking for 29 minutes is definitely abnormal. Your donkey requires a veterinary exam, and, while I appreciate your registering for the Donkey Welfare Symposium, that would be way too long to wait. There are a number of things metabolic conditions that could increase water consumption, but it may also be that he is experiencing oral or gastric (stomach) pain, which might result in him keeping his nose in the water trough. He might also have a chronic fever, raising his body temperature. So a veterinarian would start with a complete physical exam, which, of course, would include an examination of the oral cavity and taking his temperature. Then there would be some blood work required, looking for kidney problems, inflammation of any kind, or elevated blood glucose. The blood chemistry should include a test for triglycerides, which sometimes is not on a chemistry panel for horses. So your veterinarian should include that as part of the initial work up. I would encourage you to have your donkey examined as soon as possible.
My donkey is approximately 15 years old, we just got him about 5 months ago. He has been doing fine, gaining weight and enjoying life then it seems overnight he has lost almost all his weight! He is still eating like normal but not pooping and is very lethargic now. I don't know what the problem could be but he doesn't look like he will last long... we plan on taking him to the vet as soon as my husband gets home from work.
There are a number of possible causes for rapid weight loss in donkeys. One problem is that they will "sham eat", which means that they will chew on feed but not actually swallow it. People watching will think that they are eating when they really aren't taking in any nutrition. You are absolutely right in taking your donkey to the veterinarian. They will want to do some basic lab work, particularly looking at liver function, as fatty liver syndrome and liver damage from toxins could cause this weight loss, and these conditions do occur in donkeys. A more immediate possibility would be bad teeth. So a dental exam would be an important part of the initial exam. Depending on what part of the country you live and how many other donkeys or horses you have, he should also be tested for parasites. Listening to the abdomen will be important, as mineral material (usually sand) is a common cause of donkey weight loss. An abdominal ultrasound, looking for masses, the condition of the intestinal wall, and other bowel abnormalities. There are a host of other less common conditions that can be diagnosed with a thorough exam and basic lab work. We hope your donkey can be successfully treated and would be glad to consult if your veterinarian wants some help.
One of our donkeys got into a big bag of carrots I left within reach. She probably ate 2-3 lbs. Besides diarrhea, what should I watch for?
Carrots, even 2-3 lbs are unlikely to cause a problem, particularly if the donkey is used to eating carrots anyway. With a sudden increase in energy, which would be MUCH more likely with grain or sugar, you would worry about laminitis (founder) which would present as unwillingness to walk, lameness ("walking on eggs" gait) or laying down. However, with carrots you should be okay.
I have a new donkey that was a wild burro rounded up in Arizona. He is gelded/John that is approximately 3-4 years old. He was not tame by any means when I received him, he is now letting me brush him and we are getting close to getting a halter on him. But HELP tonight he ate at least three fly wipes, they are all natural, herbal, mostly oils and citrus but still they are not supposed to be eaten! Can these go through his digestive system? Or are they going to be stuck and cause a blockage or colic?! He is pooping good right now do I just monitor that?
Donkeys are capable of eating all sorts of coarse materials that would be undigestible for most animals. The Citrus oils in the fly wipes will not hurt him and he has probably ground the material with his teeth so well that they will pass through just fine.I would monitor but not worry.
My Standard Donkey got into and ate insulation from out barn. What do I do?
It depends on how much he ate. Most insulation, unless it is very old (40 years or more, and might contain asbestos) is not toxic. However, if he ate enough it could cause an impaction (blockage of intestines). This would happen fairly rapidly (in 48 hours or so) from ingestion. You might feed him psyllium (like "Sand Clear" although it is better to buy bulk psyllium bran from Bulk Foods) to lubricate digestive track. Otherwise you just have to watch him and make sure he keeps eating and does not colic.
Why does my donkey have diarrhea and how can I help her?
There are literally hundreds of possible causes of diarrhea, some serious, some not so much. I would start by making sure the forage (hay or straw) was of good quality, that the deworming program was successful for your environment (have your veterinarian check a fecal sample for worms), and make sure there are no toxic plants in the pasture (which would be unlikely this time of year). The next thing that I would consider would be sand in your donkey's colon . This is more common in donkeys than horses, because of their feeding behavior. They try to pick up every scrap of everything and can accumulate mineral material and sand in their large intestine (colon) as a result. Diagnosis is done by taking some fresh manure and "panning" it (just like the old gold miners did for gold nuggets: sloshing around with water until the heavy stuff ended up on the bottom of the pan). You can also take a handful of manure, and put it in a glove or plastic bag with water, shake it up really well with a quart of water and see if sand settles to the bottom of the bag or fingers of glove. If there is more than a teaspoon of sand in a handful of manure, you may have sand irritating the colon, causing diarrhea. If you have a stethoscope and know what normal "gut sounds" sound like, you can also hear the sand by putting the stethoscope on the lowest part of the donkey's abdomen right in the middle. You may have to listen for several minutes, but the sand sounds like surf washing up on the beach. This is my preferred way of detecting sand, without an x-ray. Sand can be removed by feeding psyllium, which is best bought by getting raw psyllium bran from Bulk Foods. Some of the "sand supplements" that are available for horses have a lot of unnecessary sugar added.
Other causes include food allergy, which is very hard to diagnose. Basically, you would have to rule out all other possibilities and then start changing the food gradually and waiting to see if that helps. Some donkeys will occasionally get diarrhea one day and then be fine the next. In jennets this can be related to the heat cycle. If this is the case it is not really a problem. Consistent diarrhea does require a diagnosis and treatment.
I live in a sandy desert area. My horses get sand clear every month. Should I be doing a similar psyllium program with my donkeys or is that not necessary as they are 'desert animals'?! They predominantly eat from a slow feed box or hay net but do occasionally eat off the ground.
I would definitely add psyllium (Sand Clear) to your donkey's diet, as long as you do not feed a lot of starchy (grain) feed with it. We use psyllium for old donkeys with expired teeth, who cannot chew their fodder well. To get them to eat it, we mix it with 1/2 cup of Equine Senior pellets. I have actually seen pretty severe sand accumulation in donkeys. Have your veterinarian show you how to test your horses and donkeys for sand in their colon, either by "panning" or by listening with a stethoscope. Anyone can do this and it will help you monitor the success of your prevention.
I have had 1.5 year old donkey for about 1 month now. He is doing well other than he seems to have 1 loose stool everyday day. Normally in the morning. Not sure if the hay is too rich? Or his supplement is too rich?
He is currently on Grass mixed hay 24/7 in a hay net. He gets about 1-2 cups of oats in the AM mixed with an equine supplement. And of course some equine treats which we try to limit and water.
I lowered the amount of supplement and it seemed to help for two days and now he had a loose stool again today. All other stools are normal. Just one a day it seems, will be loose.
His old owner fed the same thing and also said he is UTD on deworming and Vaccines. Just wondering what else it could be.
Donkeys will occasionally have loose stools for unexplained reasons. This can occur once a day or occasionally over a week or month. If the donkey is doing okay otherwise, I would not worry about it. I would not feed that donkey any more oats than you are feeding, and a mere cup may be a better idea. They are just so susceptible to getting fat with any amount of extra grain.
Do you have any books on donkeys care. Can you please tell me if donkeys can eat Sweet potatoes. We grow them and my new donkeys love them. Can they eat turnips.
See if this will help you.. http://www.pvdrforms.org/uploads/download/2406/2015_CARE_AND_FEEDING_lorez.pdf
Sweet potatoes and turnips ONLY in moderation.
About two weeks ago we had a wild donkey come to our property. She is a regular along with her heard who stop for water. She looked very distressed and was all alone. Not normal for her since she is one of the younger donkeys. She turned out to be pregnant. She had a small but healthy foal 10 days ago. Since giving birth she has not had a normal bowel movement. She has been extremely constipated. She has been impacted and in obvious pain. Yesterday she would not get up to be with baby and she was rolling around. We are afraid she is not making enough milk for baby either. This morning moms heart rate is 76 bpm, respirations 26 and temp 104. She seems to be doing a little better but in our research she seems to have all the symptoms of colic. Is there anything we can do for her?
She may have an intestinal obstruction, but if this has been going on for 10 days she could not be completely occluded. What concerns me is her temperature of 104, which is a fever. In a post partum jennet she could also have a uterine infection which could be quite serious. If you can get close enough to take her temperature, can she be restrained in any way? She really needs a veterinary exam to determine the source of the fever, antibiotics, and probably fluids either IV or by tube. A veterinarian could sedate her for the exam and treatment. There are short term medications that you can give for the colic pain, but they are only a short term solution and could have serious side effects if she is dehydrated. It sounds like you are in a desert area. Finding a veterinarian or an experienced rescue that works with donkeys should be possible. Psyllium (Metamucil) can soften feces and ease impaction colics if they will eat it but it must be taken with water, and that does not address the fever. If you would like to discuss this more or possibly look for local help.
When I brush my donkeys the little girl wants to eat the hair. What could be causing this??? Could this cause colic??
This is not colic. The word "colic" refers to abdominal pain, which in equines is first expressed as not wanting to eat anything. The technical term for what your donkey is doing is "pika" , which refers to eating or chewing on things that are not food. Donkeys are particularly big on this and like to chew all sorts of things. Your particular donkey seems to want to chew and maybe even eat hair. That is not something to worry about, rather this is just the personality of this particular donkey.
I have a mini donkey that has off/on loose bowels, sometimes full runny diarrhea. There seems to be no pattern to this. Temp is always fine, fecal is fine, once and a while she will go off feed but otherwise will eat. She is on Prescend and Equioxx daily. She has hay pretty much 24/7. She had lost weight so vet suggested a cup of Triple Crown Senior (blood work seemed fine). I was wondering, do you think a Probiotic or gut supplement might help her?
thank you for your time.
With pituitary metabolic disease you are going to the a redistribution of fat to the ventral abdomen (which tends to occur in older donkeys either way). If diarrhea was an issue I would DEFINITELY have a veterinarian auscultate, ultrasound, and/or x-ray the abdomen looking for sand. Also, the teeth definitely need examination because PPID is associated with dental disease and the will affect feed conversion. I would not be in a great hurry to increase protein intake until these issues have been sorted out, as high levels of protein that are not used for muscle formation, which will only occur at a low level in an older donkey, will increase the nitrogen load on the old kidneys. As a feed in older donkeys, particularly if they have bad teeth is Purina's Equine Senior. We had a small standard donkey that was living entirely on Equine Senior at the rate of 9 cups a day. He really got no other feed. In an animal with some dental ability, no sand, and controlled PPID, one might start at 6 cups a day, but I would definitely measure the donkey with a weight tape regularly, to monitor weight game and avoid the development of obesity. Be realistic about 'building her topline'. Metabolic disease driven by a PPID will determine the donkey's body confirmation, no matter what.
I brought my donkey to our summer home a week ago. Has been here before. Dry lot with limited grass hay as usual. 3rd day he was laying down alot and not interested in humans like normal. Resting right hind leg alot when standing. Very little interest in eating. Drinking ok, not as much as normal though. Pooping and peeing ok. Took him to the vet yesterday. Kept overnight. Treated for dehydration and floated teeth. Still not much interest in eating and laying down with front legs straight out. Any ideas? Thank you!
In the absence of more information there are a lot of possibilities. It would be nice to know a little about what part of the country and any laboratory tests that the veterinarian ran (even if the results were normal). It would also be important to determine if the owner's excellent observation of resting a hind leg went along with any signs of lameness when the donkey was asked to walk. Vaccination history (viral neurologic diseases can present like this)? If the donkey was actually dehydrated, how was that determined? Dehydration doesn't just happen if adequate water is available, meaning that abnormal water balance due to kidney or intestinal problems should be considered. ALSO, maybe it just because I used to practice on the coast, I would definitely investigate the possibility of sand accumulation in the large colon (which can cause abdominal discomfort and colic). This can be done easily with a stethoscope (put on lowest part of abdomen and listen for 5 minutes for sounds that mimic the tide running through sand on a beach), though ultrasound and x-rays are more definitive and gives you an idea of exactly how bad the problem is. Hyperlipemia would always be a concern in a case like this.
My donkey has his GGT result st 75 ? What would be the normal range ? And what could cause such a high result ? Thank you
As is so often the case, the numbers behind donkey blood values tend to be small, and the establishing of normals is often not done. The important question is: does this donkey with a GGT of 75 have OTHER abnormalities? Is it eating? maintaining weight? or showing any signs of discomfort, lethargy, or inflammation? Generally, a single abnormal value, even when significantly high as in this case, doesn't mean much in the absence of any other identified problems. While it could mean liver disease, it might also be the result of an animal being out "on the end of the bell shaped curve" of normals (especially since the donkey curves are bit fuzzy), OR there might have been some problem with processing the sample (blood cells ruptured in transport, for instance). I would recommend doing a very thorough physical exam, looking at a complete blood count and chemistry panel, AND repeating the GGT for confirmation. A liver ultrasound wouldn't be a bad idea either.
if there aren’t any concerning clinical signs and this is the only elevation seen on bloodwork, I probably wouldn’t panic, but I’d certainly recommend following-up to look at trends over time. I’m also a huge believer in trying to establish normal values for individuals, realizing that there is a pretty wide bell shaped curve for many of these indices. Given the lack of current knowledge of normal blood values in donkeys coupled with their stoic nature, I think it would be a great idea to run more routine blood chemistries, like at the time your veterinarian is doing annual vaccines and coggins tests so that you can pick up on changes that may be happening over time. Or, bank serum from routine coggins tests in the freezer so that you can always go back and compare chemistry values from when the donkey was apparently healthy, to that when he is ill.
A neighbor tossed insulation in their yard and their pet donkey is eating it. Will it hurt them?
The exact problem that may be caused by the insulation will vary on what it is made out of. HOWEVER, all of these materials are indigestible and capable of causing intestinal blockage which can be fatal Donkeys chew on all sorts of thing, but synthetic fibers or rubber should be avoided.
1 year old male donkey (castrated) going down on his back legs when light pressure on his back. Doesn't seem to be in pain, is this normal?
While most donkeys don't object to pressure on their backs, some occasionally do. If it is light pressure and it is an aversion response from pain (remember donkeys don't show pain like horses and dogs) that means that the discomfort is coming from the skin or the soft tissues immediately deep to the dermal layers. To get vertebral or muscle pain, you would have to put a lot more pressure. If the skin looks normal with no hair loss, scabs, ulcers, serum, or doughy swelling (edema) then it could still be an aversive nerve response (so called "neuropathic pain"). An extremely safe medication, called Gabapentin has been used for this sort of problem in donkeys, and would be worth trying to see if it makes a difference. If there are skin abnormalities, this response may be the result of hypersensitive or allergic reactions. That would be rare in the winter, unless it is extremely cold where you are. However, trying an anti inflammatory like an antihistamine or a mild steroid (prednisolone) would be useful. However, I would first of all work with this young donkey with very gentle grooming, using something like just a soft towel and see if he won't become used to having his back touched. If he continues to arch his back or show annoyance, you should stop because it is unethical and a poor training technique to ask an animal to accept something that may hurt. So, following training I would start trying the other approaches.
All of a sudden when touching donkeys back she will sink her spine when touched
She has never done this before
She is eating & walking normal
I plan to contact our vet - but can take a few weeks to be seen
Is this urgent?
This is unlikely to be urgent. So waiting for a veterinary appointment is not a problem. What is actually causing this is hard to determine without knowing the age of the donkey, how long you have had her, previous health problems or injuries, the stage of her estrus cycle, her level of training, and a few other things. However, this response is most likely generated by pain in the skin, as opposed to deeper muscles and bones, which would require much more pressure to elicit a response. Does her skin look normal? Are there any crusts or scabs? Does the hair look different in any way? That is where I would start, especially in the winter when moisture can cause a variety of skin infections.
A have a 20 yr old mini donkey with hock swelling and heat that was diagnosed as a sprain. I've been using DMSO with 10% cortisone and a poultice twice a day for the last three days along with stall rest with no sign of improvement. She seemed to be doing better while on 1/4 gram of bute per day, but I was advised to stop the bute and treat topically only. Any suggestions.
Rebecca, I am sorry to hear about your mini's difficulties. If it is actually torn soft tissues surrounding her hock joint (defined as a "sprain") it can be expected to improve slowly over a week or two. An alternative to cortisone and DMSO would be Surpass, which is a topical cream that contains Diclofenac, a non-steroidal (cortisone is steroid) anti-inflammatory. It is hard to predict which will work better, and there is no harm in trying the Surpass. Though your dose of phenylbutazone is appropriate, you are right that it should not be continued past 5 days. You could also switch to Flunixin (Banamine) at 1 mg/kg (she probably weighs around 150 kg) orally. Flunixin is somewhat less irritating to the stomach than "Bute". Another consideration is the degree of lameness. IF the hock is just swollen, rest and the anti-inflammatories that we have been talking about should resolve the problem. You could also have used an ice boot when the injury was first noted. However, this will be less effective after 3 days, though it may reduce the heat. On the other hand, if your mini is really lame (noticeable difficulty in walking or unwillingness to stand on the leg at all), it would be a good idea to invest in more diagnostics. There are 6 bones in a donkey's hock joint, any one of which could be chipped or broken, and there is also the possibility of a joint infection. To diagnose these more serious problems would require a radiography ("x ray") and an ultrasound examination. I realize this means some more expense and another veterinary visit, but with significant injuries it is often better to put more effort into figuring exactly what the problem is at the start, than to find out that things are getting worse, and have to do the tests later, with a poorer prognosis. Good Luck.
My 19-year-old standard BLM burro has developed debilitating arthritis in his back right hip. Injecting it with steroids at the doctor's suggestion only made it worse unfortunately. We are managing his pain at the moment such that he is still happy and enjoying life on the whole. But I foresee having to put him down within the year if the hip keeps getting worse at its current rate. My understanding is that hip replacements are not available for equines in the same way they are for dogs, or humans for that matter. Is that correct? Is there anything else I can do to help this lovely creature? Thank you!
You are correct, surgical options do not exist for degenerative arthritis of the hip joint in donkeys (or horses for that matter). Prosthesis, as used in humans and dogs, don't exist. Attempts at femoral head ostectomies (also done in dogs) have not worked well on animals as large as a donkey. As one who has "bad hips" himself, I sympathize with your donkey. There are some analgesic medications that may help. I do not know if you have used any of the NSAID's such as phenylbutazone, flunixin meglumine (Banamine), acetaminophen, and meloxicam, but, while these will not cure the arthritis or completely remove the pain, they are effective, safe when given at the proper dosages, and not expensive. One thing you can do is rotate these medications. This has been effective in humans at decreasing potential toxicity, and avoiding the development of resistance. Other options are the use of hyaluronic acid substitutes, such as Legend. These need to be administered by injection, but are reported to decrease pain. We have used an entirely different category of pharmaceuticals, called Gabapentin, which can be given orally and decreases the perception of pain in the central nervous system, when given at non-sedative dosages. There are also veterinary forms of the cannabinoid, CBD, which I have not used, however this agent has been shown to be safe in a number of species and might be worth a try. Unfortunately, as we all get older and our joints wear out, it is necessary to use pharmaceuticals to alleviate the pain associated with this process, to maintain quality of life. I wish you and your donkey luck.
I have a Jack ~age 12 who just died. I found him in front of the porch of the farm house so it would seem he was looking for help. He has always been a healthy Jack with a good diet. He has been dead for about 10 days now and I am letting him decompose where he died. I would like to try and figure out (as best I can) how he might have died. His head decomposed faster then the rest of this body so I was thinking he got fly strike as he was alone for two weeks from last we saw him. Its also possible hunters shot him as we are on 90 acres. I know it is difficult to impossible to figure out how an animal has died, but just thought you might have some things to check.
If the donkey was unobserved for 12 days prior to being found dead, nearly anything could have killed it and at 10 days of decomposition, making a diagnosis would be nearly impossible. However, if you think it could have been shot, I would look for broken ribs, where a bullet may have entered the chest or puncture holes which might be a entry or exit wound. Actually finding a bullet is extremely hard, and if there is one it may not even be in the carcass. I am afraid you might never be able to figure this out.
I was given a pregnant donkey 6 months ago. Was told she probably would deliver in november. Went out this morning and she is laying on the ground, fluid has escaped from her vulva, but she is having labored breathing and not pushing. Also her milk has not come in. I have never delivered donkeys, only goats.
his is definitely not normal. If your jennet is normally healthy and she has dilated her cervix and is expelling amniotic fluid that means she is in second stage labor. This could be a premature still birth or if the people that you got her from were wrong in their breeding date it may be a term birth. Either way, especially if she does not have milk, you need veterinary help right away. If you have experience with goats, the process of delivery is similar. It is just that equids, including donkeys, need to deliver in about 30 minutes after stage 2 labor has started. They can go longer but with increased chances of complications to both the mother and the newborn. If you have obstetrical experience, you can handle this the way you would with a goat. Thoroughly scrub the vulva area to avoid contaminating the jennet's reproductive track. Then use some KY Jelly or Ivory Soap as lubricant. Wearing a clean glove (sterile is better but not essential) and put your hand into the vaginal to feel the cervix and see if it is dilated adequately. If you contact a fetus, determine if it is presenting with both front legs and the head coming first, OR both hind legs. It is fairly easy to tell the difference: Front legs come with the sole of the hoof down, hind legs come with the soles up and you can tell the difference between hocks and knees pretty easily. If you have two hind legs coming DO NOT try to turn the fetus around. They can deliver just fine backwards, but once the hind legs are out the fetus has to come right away or it will suffocate. So, if you have hind legs and things are not moving do not be afraid to grasp the hind legs and pull firmly until foal is delivered. What is called a "Breech Presentation" is different. That is where all you will feel is the fetus' tail, because it is facing forward into the mother, and its legs are pointing forward too. These are difficult and require somebody really skilled in obstetrics to sort out. If this turns out to be a small still birth, the jennet needs to have the uterus flushed with a dilute disinfectant like providone iodine or chlorhexidine (1% of either in distilled water or saline will work). Then the jennet should pass the placenta. I would advise a veterinary examination or, at least, taking her temperature twice a day (should be 101.5 F or less) to ensure she is not getting a uterine infection, that could be life threatening.
My pregnant donkey passed about 6 whitish jelly like sticky blobs yesterday after which her vulva looked like it was opening and closing. Is this normal. Not sure how far along she is adopted her in July last year when she was already pregnant. She looks irritated and if she is in pain at times. Cloudy substance dripping from the vulva. Is this normal?
Hopefully your donkey has not foaled by now and if she has I hope it was without complications. Apparently your question went in the SPAM folder. Jennets can carry a foal for as long as 14 months. So if you got her in July, and she had just been bred it could be that she is close to foaling. Perhaps the most important thing is: Has she developed milk in her udder? If she has not there is going to be a problem when the foal comes because it should get some of that first milk (called "colostrum") within the first hour after birth. I prefer to see foals nurse in the first 15 minutes. If it does not get colostrum milk within 24 hours you have a very serious problem and the foal will require IV plasma to survive. You can use goat or cow colostrum (horse or donkey is better) but after 24 hours the foal will not be able to absorb the antibody proteins in the colostrum and it is likely to get a severe systemic infection. The discharge from the vulva could be the cervical plug of mucus breaking down and the jennet preparing to foal. Birth should occur within a day after this. Cloudy discharge could also be urine, since all equines have a lot of mucus and calcium carbonate in their urine. It could also be exudate from a vulvar or uterine infection. A veterinarian could look at a sample under the microscope and tell for sure. Again, if your jennet has not already foaled (and even if it has), a veterinary exam would be a very good idea, since some of the causes of cloudy discharge can mean serious problems.
I was contacted in January of this year to capture a feral donkey from a neighbors land. It has been neglected/abandoned on the property for years and its companions had passed away. We were able to rope and remove her without too much issue, and I relocated her to my house because I am a sucker!! I put her in with several horses on 70 acres and she has learned to come in for feed with them, and is more trusting all the time. She is still quite wild, though coming around slowly and recently I feel like she’s unwell. When she arrived she was extremely overweight with a broken cresty neck, and fat pouches down her ribs and on her rump. She has been slowly losing weight, which I was glad to see but now has me wondering if the lack of appetite is related to another issue. She has been laying down quite a bit, and just seems a bit “mopey.” Yesterday I noticed a puss like discharge from her vulva. She is not halter or lead broke, and I’m thinking a trip to a vet would be a huge undertaking as well as traumatizing to her. I realize an evaluation would be helpful in diagnosing the problem, but I’m curious if based on the provided info anyone could recommend treatment?
The problem with treating without a diagnosis is that there are several different problems that could produce the lethargy, laying down, and vulvar discharge. Their treatments would be widely different and you could waste a lot of time and resources trying to experiment with what might work. Especially if she is not eating well and appears "mopey" she might have a condition called "hyperlipemia" in which the body breaks down fat stores and floods the circulation and organs with free fatty acids. Donkeys are prone to this, especially if they have a history of diabetes. Her wanting to lay down could also be the result of laminitis, again, a common donkey problem. The vulvar discharge could be a vaginal or uterine infection, requiring flushing of these organs and antibiotics. Donkeys, even wild ones are fairly easy to examine with the most basic of restraint facilities. Using some livestock panels to make a "funnel", and alley, and a chute would not be hard to do. Then feeding her in the funnel for a few days until she will go in there easily will allow her to be moved with a gate into the alley and down to the chute. Either putting a halter on in the chute or using a neck rope, as demonstrated in the attached pictures, will allow you to restrain her for blood sampling and examination. Note do NOT put a lariat around her neck in the chute as it will choke her if she moves a lot and make her fight more. The neck rope does not compress the airway and even wild horses will tolerate it. That is why it is used for saddling difficult broncs at rodeos. Besides a CBC (complete blood count) to look for signs of infection, you should get a clinical chemistry panel WITH triglycerides. This will address liver and kidney problems, and hyperlipemia. If your veterinarian does not work with donkeys often, a couple of tips on getting blood samples: Donkey skin is a lot thicker than horse skin and their hair is very coarse. We always clip the hair over the jugular vein in wild donkeys, because you only want to insert the needle once. This improves accuracy and makes the donkeys happier. Once you have an exam and some basic diagnostics, you can go ahead and treat. Of course, getting her better trained would also be a good idea. This can take some patience, but Cindy, my wife, works with a lot of difficult donkeys and has found using slices of carrot in a small, quiet space the best way to get them to see a person as somebody to trust and not fear. Thank you for taking her in. It sounds like she needed a home.
I bought a 8 year old mammoth donkey. Very poor. She seems to be in foal. She has been bagging up for the last 70 days. She has a red looking discharge. She's really looks pregnant. Should I worry. She has a great appetite and gets a good amount og exercise every day.
If she has been developing mammary tissue for that long and there is a discharge from her vulva, she may be close to foaling. If she is eating well and the discharge does not have a pungent odor, you do not have a lot to worry about, at least no more than with any other foaling. Since she is large and may have a large foal, I would make arrangements to make sure that somebody is in attendance when she foals, in case there is trouble. I would also alert your veterinarian to an imminent foaling. When I was in practice I really appreciated knowing when I needed to expect an emergency call. It is good that she is getting exercise. I do not know how "poor" her body condition is, but she should be on a higher level or protein. This can be achieved with pelleted supplements or a small amount of alfalfa added to her diet. Alfalfa is generally not an appropriate feed for donkeys, but a large mammoth in late gestation can use both the protein and calcium that alfalfa provides.
I got my jennet in January. She is assumed to be in foal because she gave birth last September and was never separated from the Jack.
I’m new to donkeys (all equine, really) so I don’t want to over or under react.
We noticed on her belly tonight an extra little bump. It seems to be almost perfectly rounded - I guess it’s a half circle to be more accurate.
Is this anything to be concerned about?
She’s about 3.5 as far as I know - was probably too young for that first foal, but all went okay.
It would be a very good idea to have your jennet examined by a veterinarian, including an ultrasound of the abdomen to get an idea of the size of the fetus and how many months she has been pregnant. This could avoid a number of problems, because while donkeys very rarely have trouble giving birth, once the cervix opens and membranes appear at the vulva, the foal should be born within a half hour. This means that IF there are problems you will have a limited time to recognize them and call your veterinarian for help. Also, the jennet should be vaccinated for, at least, tetanus in approximately the last month of gestation. This will allow her to maximize the immunity that she will transmit to her foal in the "first milk" (colostrum). It will also protect the jennet from tetanus, which, like all equids, donkeys are very susceptible to. Your veterinarian can help get the mother and foal on an effective yearly schedule of vaccination and deworming. The bump on her belly is most likely edema from the development of the mammary gland as she moves toward foaling. As the mammary tissue develops there is a lot of blood circulation in the area and some of the fluid from this "leaks" out into the tissues and causes a doughy swelling. It is nothing to worry about and does not require treatment.
How long should my pregnant donkey struggle before I call the vet? We’ve been at this about 36 hours that I know of.
If your donkey has been in stage 2 labor (cervix is open, and membranes and fluid have appeared at the vulva) she is in very serious trouble. One hour is a long time for a donkey or horse delivery. You need to get emergency veterinary assistance immediately!
My Jenny is one year and a week old. My jack is 8 months old. I believe she was in heat when I got home one day. What happens if she is pregnant this young? What are the pros and cons of having him castrated? I might want babies later but don’t want to jeopardize her health in the meantime.
At their ages these two are likely sub-fertile, but that only means a decreased chance of pregnancy. If your yearling jennet is pregnant and carries to term , it will stunt her growth, and potentially be a problem with delivery. If she was bred just in the last month you could have your veterinarian give her a shot to "short cycle" her (bring her into heat again), which would likely terminate the pregnancy. That can be done later in gestation but it is more likely to have complications. I would have your veterinarian ultrasound her to see if she is pregnant and at what stage. This is a simple, safer procedure, and most equine veterinarians have the equipment now. I have attached an article for your veterinarian if they are unfamiliar with the technique in small donkeys. You need to get that jack castrated as soon as possible. There are no "pros" to leaving him intact. It may be that you may want a donkey foal someday, but there are plenty of those with no homes. With the current overpopulation of donkeys in rescues and sanctuaries, breeding more donkeys is a bad idea. It is nearly impossible to guarantee a good life for a donkey that is going to live as long as 40 years. So even though you may think that you can do that, you need to have a plan for that period of time, and very few people do. Futher, as your jack ages the hormones are going to start developing behavioral problems in his personality. These will become "learned behavior" and then after he is several years old, castration will have less of an effect on his behavior, even though it will make him sterile. As a veterinary surgeon, I admit that I do not like having to castrate male donkeys, though we do hundreds every year. However, in this world and in this culture adult intact jacks have no future, and it is unfair to deny them a good life. I hope you will have your veterinarian castrate this 8 month old jack while he is still young, as the procedure is simpler than when they are old and the possible complications fewer.
I have Jenny that is 4 months pregnant and today I noticed about a 18” piece of white membrane dangling from her vagina. Could this be from a miscarriage or what. Temp good and acting normal.
That does sound like the amnion, the inner membrane that surrounds the fetus, and , if so, that would be a miscarriage. It is important that this gets checked by a veterinarian immediately, because if the membranes and fetus are not passed, a uterine infection could occur and this could be very serious or fatal. I do not know how the pregnancy was diagnosed, but, at minimum, your jennet needs a vaginal exam to see where those membranes are coming from and if the cervix is dilated.
Recently rescued a mini Jenny believed to be in foal. She is nearly feral and has strangles. Will not allow us near her face or chin to clean. Any advice would be very helpful.
That is very unfortunate about your mini having Strangles. The disease is caused by Streptococcus equi, and is very contagious to other donkeys, mules, and horses. So, your first issue is to make sure that no other equids come in contact with nasal discharges or drainage from your mini's abscesses. The Streptococcus can live for a short period of time on hands or instruments. Cleanliness is essential. Those abscesses that your donkey has will heal regardless of whether you clean them or not. It would be a good time to start making friends with your donkey, though. Feeding carrot slices to get her to come to you would be a start. Eventually, allowing you to touch her nose should be eventually linked to a carrot reward. You can progress to touching her further down her neck, her legs, her body by using this process and being VERY patient. It is important with food rewards that if they start trying to push you for carrots, that you do not reward that behavior. If nipping or nose butting doesn't get her what she wants, she will stop. Then when she behaves and allows more hands-on from you, she will get the reward that she has been looking for. It is important that you start on this journey, as when she foals, you will need to be able to catch, lead, and be handled.
My mini donkeys escaped. One was hit with a car and killed. The other is in the neighboring woods. She might be pregnant. Can she be hit with a tranquilizer dart or if she’s pregnant would it hurt her baby. I’m in Miami, OK. Thank you.
The drugs used in capture darts would not hurt the fetus if your mini is pregnant. However, that is not your main problem. Using chemical capture in equines (horses, mules, and donkeys) is more difficult than in other species. You would need to find somebody with skill in darting these species to identify and effective drug protocol. Also, regardless of what is used, darting an animal that is loose in a forest is dangerous for the animal, because sedatives and anesthetics given intramuscularly do not work immediately. They can take as long as 15 minutes to take effect, and a mini could run a long way in that time. Then when the drugs take effect, they may be lost in the brush where you cannot find them, or, worse, have fallen into a creek or pond and drowned. A better idea would be to try to find your mini in the woods and coax it into a temporary corral with some special food or (even better) another, trained, donkey. The corral can be made out of light pipe panels that you can purchase at any feed or agricultural supply store. It is very important that your mini is not chased or frightened, because that will make her much harder to catch, and if you do have to go to a capture dart (which should be the absolute last resort) the drugs do not work as well in anxious animals in which the "fight or flight" reaction may have been triggered. Regardless of the approach used, you will have to invest some time and leg work into corralling your donkey again. Among other things, this is why we feed our donkeys a evening treat of carrots and other vegetables, that they like, expect, and will come for, even if they are out in a large area.
We have 3 miniature donkeys. One is 15 years old and he is the dad of the two others 3 and 4 years old. The dad is not castrated. They are always keeped in separate pastures but someone left a fence opened and during the night, the dad was able to reach the girls’ pasture. We separated them in the morning as soon as we saw this but now, I am afraid that one of the girl is pregnant from her father… Her belly is getting bigger and bigger. If this is the case, she would be about 10 months pregnant. What are the risk for the foal? What should we do at this point?
The question of pregnancy could be resolved easily with an ultrasound exam, which just involves a veterinarian putting an ultrasound probe on the side of the jennet's abdomen. If it is 10 month pregnant it is way too late to terminate the pregnancy safely, so you should be prepared for foaling. While a father/daughter mating is not ideal, it does not necessarily mean that the foal will have a problem. The birth should be observed and the foal examined by a veterinarian right after, for any congenital problems. That is about all you can do at this point. I would get the jack castrated though, as this may very well happen again, otherwise.
I just buy my first donkeys. I have 3 female donkeys. One 17 years old) has own baby 2 months old, 3 years pregnant and 8 years old pregnant donkey.
This girl who is 8 years old stealing foals milk. She constantly triing to drink a milk from this with a foal. Sometimes that donkey alowed her sometimes dont but now I started to milk her and after 4 hours I let her with others and both foal and this 8 years old is triing to drink her milk. I dont know why is that? and what can I do?
Also mention that 8 years old scares still a little bit. I have all 3 of them 2 months now at my home, other two donkeys are coming and everything is ok but she is sad and scared, u cant touch her. Every day is better and now she is close, she alowed us to give her food, still not to touch her
There are a couple of reasons why the 8 year old jennet is trying to nurse off the one with a foal. She may have had a history of not being properly weaned when she was younger. Donkeys will nurse their foals for up to two years in the wild, and trying to wean them much earlier, say 3 or 6 months is not a good idea. Additionally, are you sure that she is 8 years old? Aging donkeys by their teeth after they are 5 or 6 years old is not highly accurate, and she may be younger than you think, which, if she is actually much younger, may cause her to want to nurse. Finally, donkeys can exhibit something called "pica", which is a medical term for "an abnormal craving for and eating of substances not normally in the diet. This that occurs in nutritional deficiency states (as a lack of phosphorus ) in humans or animals or in some forms of anxiety ". I would look at the jennet's diet first. Are you feeding a mineral supplement? Is the roughage (hay) of good quality? This can be a problem because you need to balance the intake of nutrients to avoid deficiency, but at the same time not feed things like alfalfa, which are way too high in digestible energy and will lead to obesity. You can find good information on what to feed donkeys at: https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/what-we-do/knowledge-and-advice/for-owners/what-to-feed-your-donkeys. There may also be something in this jennet's history, like separation from a bonded 'friend' or relation, or something in the herd dynamics, that is causing stress. This can lead to abnormal behaviors like pica. I encourage you to continue trying to get your donkeys as gentle as possible, trained to be caught, and to lead and be tied up. Making a daily routine out of feeding a mineral supplement mixed with carrot shreds can help with this. Do it at the same time every day and give each donkey its own bowl, until they come to expect it. Then, for the one that you cannot touch, stand closer and closer to the bowl, eventually holding it in your hands until she allows you to touch her. Drape a rope over your arm, so that she gets used to seeing that, and eventually start showing her a halter. By doing small steps every day, with something that the donkeys see as a treat, you can make a lot of progress, but you have to be patient and dedicated.
A pregnant female donkey in last trimester, she can’t able to walk and difficult standing with shivering hind legs .
Without seeing the donkey (you could send a video to give me a better idea of what is going on) there are several things that could be causing this. A heavily pregnant donkey could be having an attack of laminitis (founder), which would make her unwilling to walk and may cause shivering in the hind legs from pain. If her udder is getting large, there may be an electrolyte or trace mineral imbalance, depending on her diet. Calcium, magnesium, or selenium could be deficient. This is a serious situation and requires a specific diagnosis. Have your veterinarian look at her as soon as possible. They would be able to sort this out.
Will I need to help our momma donkey give birth? What are the signs of a red sack? Do I need to call my vet out to check the baby donkey once it is born?
Generally jennets are very good at handling birth all by themselves. Like horses, they need to deliver in a relatively short period of time. So after the "water has broken" and membranes appear in the vulva, you should observe the jennet and be sure that the birth is progressing, to be completed in an hour. Many will deliver in a few minutes. It is a good idea to alert your veterinarian once the birth process (stage 2 labor) begins, especially if you do not have experience with foaling.
A "red bag" occurs when the entire placenta separates prematurely from its attachment to the uterus. This is a problem because the fetus gets its oxygen from that attachment, making it essential that the foal is out and able to breathe right away. A "red bag" looks just like that: a red bubble coming through the vulva at birth. If this happens, it should be opened and the foal's head exposed right away. Normally, the inner membranes, the allantois, is clear and you can see the foal's legs and head through it. This should also be removed from the foal's head to allow it to breath. These membranes can be torn open by hand, but CAREFULLY using a pair of scissors may be necessary. Red bags are rare, and usually occur because the birth has been induced, which is not necessary and not advised, except in a very limited number of high risk pregnancies, were veterinary presence is required.
You do want to have your foal examined by a veterinarian after birth. They will look for congenital abnormalities and test it for transfer of immunity from the jennet, which is essential for survival of the foal. Again, if you do not have experience foaling mares or jennets, it is a really good idea to talk to your veterinarian about specific recommendations. That said, the vast majority of jennets handle foaling and their foals just fine.
we are curious if our female lost her baby. she showed signs of ready to deliver, so we put her in the barn, but now she doesn't even look pregnant. any suggestions?
jennets close to foaling will get really wide in the abdomen. This has to do with the larger percentage of the donkey body that is behind the rib cage, versus horses. However, jennets, particularly older ones, can also appear pregnant with distension that is the result of weaker abdominal muscles, especially if they have been stretched by previous pregnancies. So to tell if a donkey was pregnant and close to foaling, one would have to see an enlarged udder in addition to a larger abdomen, and/or visualization of the fetus by ultrasound examination. Did you ever have the pregnancy diagnosed by a veterinarian? I am wondering if the change in your donkey after her being put in the barn is not the result of dietary change, rather than loss of pregnancy. This is assuming that no fetus or membranes were found.
I accidentally put a standard jack and a mini Jenny together and am wondering if this is going to result in her needing an abortion in order to save her life? Will giving birth to a foal that big kill her? I’m worried
While this will result in a larger foal, it will not be half way between a mini and a standard. There is a phenomenon called "the maternal effect" , where the dam's size has more to do with the size of the foal ( or calf or lamb or fawn or baby) has more effect on the size at birth than the sire. So while this jennet would bear watching and should be attended, it will not necessarily be dangerous to the jennet. Alternatively if you do want to abort the pregnancy that is best done in the first month of pregnancy. At that stage a hormone called 'prostaglandin' will cause changes in the ovaries which will result in terminating the pregnancy. Later on the process becomes more difficult.
I have 2 mini females that have been out with a jack for a good year and a half. One of the has been getting noticeably wider over the last few months. So I decided to get them preg checked. 2 vets with equine experience but mostly horses have differing opinions about whether they’re bred. So was hoping you could possibly shed some light on it. Mini #1 Progestagens/P4: 1.24ng/ml Total Estrogens: 729.79pg/ml. Mini #2 Progestagens/P4: 2.02ng/ml Total Estrogens: 320.42. Mini #1 is the one who has been getting wider. Thank you for any insight!
Blood progesterone and estrogen levels are a little hard to interpret because we don't have the normal levels for your laboratory and am not sure what "total estrogens " is measuring. Of course, these levels have not been determined specifically for donkeys either. If the total estrogens are mainly estrone sulfate the levels could indicate pregnancy in both donkeys. The progesterone levels would be low for early pregnancy but could be lower in late pregnancy. Since, the most likely breeding was in the neighborhood of a year ago, by far the best way to answer the question of pregnancy would be by ultrasound. This can be done "percutaneously" (not rectally) by shaving a small patch on the lower left flank and scanning the abdomen with a 3 or 5 mHZ ultrasound probe. Most equine veterinarians have this equipment available and have scanned horse fetuses. Donkeys look about the same. Also, veterinarians who do a lot of equine reproductive work can age the fetus and give you a better idea of when to expect foaling, by measuring parts of the fetus with ultrasound.
I have a 5 year old Jenny who a week ago I separated her 7 month old baby from to be weaned. She is kept in the paddock across my driveway separated but they can still see each other and call out to each other. My momma donkey I noticed yesterday has a lump that is soft starting to form under her belly. Is this part of the milk drying up? Or should I be concerned? Thank you for your help in this
I think what you are seeing is edema (fluid accumulation in the soft connective tissues) that is the result of her udder getting bigger and some of the fluid, that would normally go into milk, migrating forward under the skin. This should not be a concern in itself, as long as the jennet is otherwise normal (eating well, alert, and moving around). It is important that when a jennet is being "dried off" or "weaned" that she is fed a lower protein and energy diet. Milk production is very closely correllated to digestible calories and protein content of the diet. So it is important to feed a bulky but not-too-nutritious diet right now. Straw with a little grass hay would be ideal. You could feed a trace mineral suppliment, as long as this does not require feeding grain to make it palatable. Another thing that sometimes gets forgotten is that, in the wild , jennets will nurse their foals for as long as 2 years. They generally wean themselves over a period of time. This often does not fit in with human convenience, but nursing longer will not cause a health problem for the foal. I would check on the jennet's udder and the swelling in front of it, to make sure these areas are not hot or painful .
I have a donkey that is getting close to labor, when we got her she wasn’t suppose to be due until spring. Two questions…yesterday she was pawning at the ground, biting her front legs, looking at both her sides, very restless, tail out a lot and would let me touch her just alittle (usually doesn’t). We went in last night to set up a heater and ever since then she is no longer showing any signs. Is it possible she stopped labor?? Also should we put her companion in a stall in the barn also so they can see each other or wouldn’t it make a difference?
I would definitely put another donkey in the barn, where she could see it. When in actual labor they want to be alone, but otherwise she will be less stressed if she can see other donkeys. There are a number of reasons why she may have been looking at her flanks and being restless: foal moving, foal repositioning, or some other cause. It does not sound like she was in labor. Generally, soon after labor starts and the cervix softens and begins to dilate, "water" (amnionic fluid) is expressed from the vulva and membranes appear. Is her udder full and are there waxy plugs on the ends of her teats? The also usually drip milk as the hormones of labor cause both uterine contractions and milk expression from the mammary gland. So I don't think she stopped labor, but please watch for the above signs.
Our donkey gave birth on 12/24 to a beautiful little girl. However, she has not eaten much since. The baby is healthy and nursing well. Is it normal for the mama not to eat much?
Congratulations, especially in these times the world needs more beautiful donkeys! However, the mother not eating is NOT normal. You need to get a veterinarian out to look at her right away. It has been 3 days and there are a large number of things that could be causing your mother donkey to not eat. Many of these are serious and potentially life threatening. She needs a detailed physical exam (including temperature, pulse rate/strength, and listen to lungs), a reproductive exam to be sure that she passed the whole placenta and there is not evidence of infection (metritis), a complete blood count (to look for evidence of infections or blood loss - which could be hidden in her abdomen), and a chemistry panel with triglyceride measurement (especially if she is a little fat). This needs to get done today. You can take her temperature yourself with a regular digital thermometer inserted in her rectum, but the other tests really require professional attention. Good luck and please have your jenny looked at as soon as you can.
What shot do you give every two month on a miniature pregnant donkey to prevent a micarage
You could give a progestin, but I would only do that if I had a reason to think that the donkey was not producing adequate progesterone itself. This can easily be tested for with a small blood sample.
Is it normal for a Burro's vagina to drain after birthing? If so for how long
Yes it is normal for a jennet to drain from her vagina for several days to a week or 10 das after foaling. The material is called "lochia". It is usually brown and not foul smelling. It represents the tissue and fluids that are released from the interior of the Uterus, as it transitions from pregnancy to regular estrus cycles. The drainage may be slightly "milky" too, but should not be white like Mayonnaise or have a pungent odor. If it does, a veterinarian can treat the uterus with antibiotics or disinfectants to remove any infection.
how long will a donkey be restless, paw at the ground, roll and twitch her tail before birthing? My girl has had clear liquid drop from teats on Wednesday, fully white yesterday, darkened vulva but no baby yet. We bought her in February with no exact due date. You can see her grooving out and loosening. When the baby jumps inside her it shakes her whole body , so we know it is alive. This is our first donkey delivery but her second or third one. Are we being patient enough or should we be concerned for anything?
It is a little hard to say how much pawing or restlessness a donkey should show before foaling, because the repositioning of the foal in the uterus will cause some discomfort for a day or more prior to birth. However, if you are getting white milk, discharge, and pawing that foal should come today. If not having a veterinary exam may be a good idea. Making that choice before it gets late in the evening will be appreciated by your veterinarian.
My Jenny is at 14.5 months gestation and is definitely bred. She is showing all signs of imminent delivery but doesn’t. The whole pregnancy has seemed very slow in progressing. At what point should we become concerned enough to call in a vet?
If you have an accurate breeding date and it is 14.5 months, it is time to call your veterinarian. An ultrasound of the fetus(es) would tell you if there is a heart beat, and, depending on the skill of the sonographer, may also tell you if the fetus has abnormalities.
I have a 4yo mini donkey. She is pregnant with her first foal. I isolated her because her bag was full and she is swollen. She also sends to have gone lame on 2 feet, one front, one back. Seems to be in a lot more pain and struggling more than I've seen most of my mares. This started yesterday so I expected the goal last night. It didn't come and she is laying down...
For extended times. Please help.
This is an emergency situation requiring veterinary care. A mare who is due to foal and is down for extended periods could have some really serious problems. The lameness does not sound like laminitis, with one front and one hind leg effected. However, without seeing the donkey it is really hard to tell from this brief description. Certainly, you should get a look at the jenny's gum color, capillary refill time, and take her temperature. I do think you need to call your veterinarian now.
We just found out that a donkey we bought is pregnant. About 2 months ago we got her hooves trimmed and they had to give her a sedative. Would this have hurt the baby?
No, the currently available sedatives (Acepromazine, Xylazine, Romifidine, and Detomidine) do not have any effect on pregnancy and fetal development. So don't worry. On the other hand I would be ideal if you trained your donkey to allow hoof trimming without sedation. All donkeys can be trained to do this, with patience and carrots. It is safer, cheaper, and better for the donkey.
What should I feed my pregnant donkey?
Assuming the pregnant jennet is otherwise healthy and has good teeth, a lot of special feed is not really necessary. Good quality grass hay (alfalfa is not necessary and can make donkeys excessively fat pretty quickly), a trace element supplement (we use California Trace, though there are lots of others), and maybe a highly digestible pellet, to add some protein, would be sufficient. An example would be Equine Senior, at half the horse dose. Again, a lot of starches and sugars (grain and molasses) is just going to make the jennet fat, and maybe cause laminitis. They just don't need that.
Does the foal change position close to birthing time. My Jenny last week had a huge baby bulge this morning it looked as though she had birthed. The side bumps were lower and not as big as last week.
Yes, the fetus moves around in the abdomen before foaling. The "bumps" can also be affected by the amount of feed in the colon, especially in a jennet that has had several foals and whose abdominal wall has been stretched as a result. There are more accurate ways to predict foaling, such as udder confirmation, waxing, milk dripping, and "softening" of the muscles at the base of the tail.
We have a 10 month old donkey that still nurses from the mother. If the mother is pregnant would she continue to nurse the donkey?
In a wild setting it’s not uncommon for a foal to nurse for a year or so. In a domestic setting it would be best to wean the donkey foal to not compromise the health and well being of the Jenny. Yes, your Jenny could still be in foal even with the current foal still nursing. The gestation period for donkeys is 12 months. Something to keep in mind is the fact that the most growth and development will take place the last three months in utero. So, if you can wean your other foal this will help the growth of the fetus, help the Jenny’s health as well as prepare her to produce colostrum for the next foal.
Can you feel a baby donkey move just like a human pregnancy? If so about how far along (in months) should we be expecting this?
The basic answer is "yes you can feel a donkey foal move in the jennet's abdomen". However, when depends on a lot of things, including the size of the jennet and the conformation of her body wall. Some have a more pendulous abdominal conformation than others and a thinner body wall, with less abdominal fat. So it would be very hard to age a fetus by feeling it through the body wall. Depending on the breed and size, I would think that a fetus would need to be at least 6 months of gestation before motion could be felt in any donkey, and probably more like 9 months plus in most cases. Transcutaneous ultrasound, looking at cardiac and cranial size would be a much more accurate way to age a fetus.
Can pregnant donkeys have dewormer like ivermectin
Yes they can be wormed
My mini donkey gave birth during the night last night and hasn’t been acting right all day. She has no milk acting very depressed not really with it and now she is collapsing but will stand up for a few and go right back down. When laying down she acts if she has contraction and pushes out a liquid substance. She delivered the whole placenta and cord. We called the vet and then wouldn’t come out.
do not know where you are located, but your jennet needs veterinary attention. I cannot imagine a veterinarian not helping you. If the entire placenta passed I would worry about a uterine intussceseption, where the uterus folds back on itself kind of like you would with a pair of socks. While it is possible for this to resolve on its own, veterinary intervention is almost always required. At the very least this jennet needs analgesics because the condition is painful. Of course there could also be other problems and a variety of post birth complications. Can you take her temperature (insert a regular thermometer in the rectum for a short period of time)? Can you try another veterinary practice or taking her to a veterinary hospital that deals with horses? How is the foal doing? ~~ Dr. Davis
would also be concerned with such a high temperature that part of the placenta did not pass. Ideally, a uterine lavage to attempt to flush the uterus.
Considering her behavior- the possibility of a twin with the colic like behavior which is similar to parturition behavior. Dystocia and twinning are common in mini donkeys.
To increase milk production it’s possible to administer Domperidone under the guidance of a veterinarian. ~~ Amy
I have a female mini donkey that I rescued two years ago. She was/is practically feral. We didn't know she was pregnant and as a result, we were surprised by a baby boy being born. Anyway, we had him castrated but we're suspicious that he already impregnated her again. Since she is practically feral, it is hard to touch her or do any medical treatments on her without stressing her out or using force. She has to get her hooves done because they are getting too long and I don't want her having hoof problems. Every time we've done her hooves, she has had to be sedated. I am cautious this time however because I'm afraid of what could happen if we go that route. Should I proceed in having her hooves done, or should I wait until the ”gestation” period is over? It's also unlikely that we’ll be able to confirm if she’s pregnant with our vet since she is feral and almost anything that would determine if she is pregnant would require sedation.
I am assuming the colt was a year old or more when he was castrated, making it possible to impregnate this jennet. If that is the case there are several things. First, I would not worry about sedation from the standpoint of the pregnancy. Available sedatives and even anesthetics do not cause either birth defects or induce labor. So if you are going to have to sedate to trim feet, it might be a good time have your veterinarian take a blood sample (which can be used to diagnose pregnancy) or do an ultrasound through the skin in the flank, which will allow pregnancy diagnoses after about 100 days gestation). i would also like to encourage you to work with this jennet to try to get her to overcome her fears and stress by slow patient, but persistent, training. I know this can be a serious time commitment, as my wife specializes in gentling with feral donkeys. She is out there with them every day and the really wild ones require months of contact just to get to where they can be haltered and handled. It takes patience and a lot of carrot pieces. While you may not plan on taking her anywhere, or hiking with her, It is MUCH less stressful for routine procedures like hoof trimming and vaccinations if donkeys are trained. Further, in emergencies (injuries, colic, foaling problems, etc OR in the case of evacuation for a natural disaster which is, unfortunately becoming common here in California.....) a donkeys long life will be much better if it is trained.
Does the Jenny need separated from the jack and other Jenny before giving birth? She is three days past her due date.
Separation from the rest of the herd depends on the personalities of the animals involved. It is possible that a jennet who is low on the 'pecking order' with aggressive individuals in the herd may benefit from being fenced off, allowing her to give birth and start raising her foal by herself. In general, however, this is not necessary. Donkeys don't like to be without their herd mates. So keeping them together will be the best in most cases.
How long are donkeys pregnant.
The average is 12 months, but they have been known to go as early as 11 months and as late as 14 months.
If a donkey hasn’t dropped by the time he is one year old, does he still need to be castratesd ? We want him as a pet.
Your young jack does need to be castrated. Otherwise, he will develop male aggressive behaviors and, of course, potentially sire donkey foals, in a world where it is hard to find enough homes for donkeys. IF you have had him his whole life and you are SURE he has not been previously castrated, his testes are most likely still small and hidden under the skin and have just not formed a visible scrotum. However, it is also possible that the testes were trapped in the abdominal cavity when he was born, and if this is the case they will never descend externally. Basically, the testes develop right behind the primordial kidneys just under the back of the fetus. During gestation they move from there to the floor of the abdomen where the little holes that will become the inguinal canals are developing. Because the hormones from the testes (which are really glands) are essential to fetal growth and development they get really large in the last trimester of pregnancy. In fact, they take up a third of the abdominal volume. Right before birth, they shrink back down to the small structures that one sees in a newborn foal, become soft, and slip through the inguinal canals to exit the abdomen. The canals then tighten so that no other abdominal structures can get out. At birth the small foal testes are outside of the abdomen. They can be in the outer part of the inguinal canal, under the skin, or in a small scrotum depending on the individual foal. This means that a foal can be castrated normally soon after birth. Some studies have demonstrated that castrations as early as 10 days of age have fewer complications and seem to cause less pain than those done later in life. Many veterinarians prefer to wait because the small testes of a foal can be a little harder to find and grasp, though there are techniques that make the early age procedure quite easy. Rarely, before birth, the testes fail to shrink adequately, or the inguinal canals are too narrow for them to exit the abdomen. If this happens one or both of the testes will remain tapped in the abdomen, resulting in an animal that is referred to as an "abdominal cryptorchid". The testis or testes that remain in the abdomen do not produce much viable sperm, so abdominal cryptorchids are sub-fertile. However, they produce plenty of testosterone, making the donkey appear and behave just like an uncastrated jack as it comes to puberty, between one and two years of age. Abdominal cryptorchidism is much rarer in donkeys than it is in horses. However, it does occur, and you can't be sure that your jack does not have this problem, without diagnosing the location of its testes. By the way, complete lack of testes (anorchidism) has not been reported in donkeys or horses. I mentioned that it made a difference whether or not you were sure the yearly jack had ever been castrated. Your veterinarian can tell if he has testes by doing a blood test for testosterone and Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH, which is a secretion of the testis that prevents the development of female organs in a male). If testosterone and AMH are elevated, then there are several ways to investigate the location of the jack's testes. The simplest is to feel the external end of the inguinal canals (inguinal rings). This may require sedation or short-term general anesthesia. The veterinarian may also opt to surgically explore the inguinal canals looking for small ligaments and blood vessels that attach the abdominal testis to the skin. Once these are found the testis can be pulled through the inguinal canal and removed as in a normal castration. There are also techniques that use an abdominal telescope, called a laparoscope, to find and remove the cryptorchid testes. All these abdominal techniques require a specially trained surgeon, longer anesthesia, and some special equipment. However, particularly in young animals a cryptorchid surgery has a low complication rate. So it would be best for your jack to start the diagnostic and surgical process now. If your local veterinary practice does not have a lot of experience with donkey abdominal cryptorchids
Hi there! We are adopting a Jack in the next few months, and while I had hoped to have him castrated prior to bringing him home, his testicles have still not descended. Is there anything you recommend and/or any advice you have for us as we prepare to house an intact male who isn’t ready for gelding? What should we expect?
this jack is ready for gelding now. Waiting is not going to make things any easier. At the time of birth, the testes are either outside of the abdomen in the inguinal canal or the scrotum, or they are trapped inside the abdomen and will require a more involved surgery. What your veterinarian needs to do is to determine the location of the testes. This can be done by palpation of the inguinal canal, which may require either sedation or short-term general anesthesia to get the jack to relax so that the characteristic gonads can be identified. Most equine veterinarians have an ultrasound machine, nowadays, and this can make finding the testes easier. In the vast majority of "undescended testes" they are just small or have not appeared in the scrotum yet. If this is the case the surgery is no harder than a regular castration and should be done while the jack is young and has not developed unwanted male behaviors. In a small percentage of males, the testes do not get through the internal inguinal ring and are trapped in the abdomen. These require a veterinary surgeon who is experienced in "cryptorchid surgery". These abdominal testes will not "descend" no matter how long you wait, and the older the jack gets the harder the surgery will be to do. If this guy is over 2 years old and there are no testes evident, a blood test can be done to identify if the presence of testicular tissue (the hormones that you are looking for are Testosterone, AMH, and Estrone Sulfate). It is important to do the blood work before doing a cryptorchid surgery as you want to make sure that there is actually something to remove. It is possible that somebody castrated the jack previously and that didn't get recorded. Young, gelded jacks will occasionally exhibit male sexual behaviors without have testes present. You don't want an unnecessary surgery. So the steps are:
Have a veterinarian find the testes by palpation or ultrasound
If testes are outside the abdomen, remover them.
OR if no testes are identified, test blood for Testosterone, AMH, and Estrone Sulfate (Labs at Cornell and UC Davis do these tests)
Find a veterinarian how does crytorchid sugery
Have the jack castrated
I have two mini donkeys around 20 months old. I had them castrated 3-4 months ago. They healed fine without much swelling and also didn’t have any draining from their incisions which were left open. I just noticed the other day that both of them have firm swellings of their scrotum about the size of a baseball. I work at the vet and described it to him and he said it was probably some trapped fat and scar tissue. Is this normal and will it go away eventually?
There are several possibilities for the swelling in the remains of these mini's scrotums (sometimes called the "cod"). I agree with your veterinarian that it could be fat in the cod sack. This is especially likely since male donkeys tend to store fat in their scrotum. I can't see your mini's, so I don't know if they are chubby, but they tend to be, making fat a likely cause. Assuming there is absolutely no discharge from the swelling, another possibility is a "hydrocele" which occurs when the membranes that enclose the testis heals after castration and fills with peritoneal fluid. This would make a swelling the felt like a water balloon, whereas the fat would feel more firm. Either way, these are not a health problem and your donkeys should be fine. Glad you had them gelded.
I have a question about my mini donkey. He is 4 years old and he is still intact. However, on his testicles he has a growth on each of them that look like large nipples or something.. They are on the back side of his testicles between his back legs. Do you know what these could be? Do I need to get them removed immediately? Every horse, minis, and regular sized donkey I have ever had that is intact do not have the growths on their testicles.
Residual nipples in donkeys can vary in size, however all male donkeys (gelded or intact) have them. Your mini's may be just slightly larger than others that you have seen. Do not worry about them and definitely do not have them removed.
Hey, my mini male donkey was castrated 9 days ago. He had a slight fever and some yellowish fluid 5 days after, so the vet prescribed some oral antibiotics and he seems okay. The wound where the incision is is still slightly open and I can see the pink skin on the inside. Outside the wound on either side is all scabby and raw I think from the scabs coming off. I put kids polysporin on it does this seem normal and okay?
Yes, that sounds normal. It will take 2-3 weeks for those incisions to heal and they will have discharge , which is often purulent (white or yellow). Field castrations are left open to heal by second intention (the same way wounds heal if you don't suture them), because it is very difficult to keep field surgeries sterile. This actually leads to fewer serious complications. It sounds like your donkey is healing normally. The pink skin that you see inside is granulation tissue , which is a normal part of the healing process.
I just bought two donkeys, one very young and both are geldings, however, the younger one has been knocking me around a little, biting at me, and pushing me around. I had to bathe him right away as he had bald spots, much to my horror there is a testicle sack that is flattened but it is there, what does that mean, is he castrated or did they use that horrible method of banding as they do on cows please answer if you can, that would explain why he is trying to get dominance over me every day. I still do what I need to do brushing grooming etc.. but I have very bad arthritis and really that knocking and dragging he does when I lead him is leaving me in awful pain, does he need an operation?Please don't get me wrong he is in no way vicious, but is constantly trying gain dominance over me.
While even intact jacks can be trained to "have good manners" and not push on humans, this could, indeed, be an incompletely or improperly castrated donkey. Either way you need to have a veterinarian look at that sack and do a blood test for Testosterone and another hormone called "AMH". The test is available in several places around the country and I don't know where you are located. The Endocrinology Laboratory at UC Davis (https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/labs/endo-lab) does a panel of these two hormones for $75. The veterinarian might also use an ultrasound unit to see if there is a cryptorchid (or "hidden" testicle). This can be a problem in donkeys because in some young jack part of the testicle, called the epididymis comes through the inguinal canal, leaving the main part, which actually secretes testosterone inside the abdominal cavity. If this happens an unskilled surgeon may think that the epididymis is a small testicle and cut it off, leaving the main part of the testicle inside. The blood test would identify this problem. Of course you are right that somebody may have used and elastrator band. Among the many problems with this technique is that sometimes the testicle actually slips back into the inguinal canal and the band just removes the skin of the scrotum. That would give you the same male behavior. Again, a veterinarian could identify if this is the problem. So your first step is to get your donkey examined, and , yes, he might need a surgery. In any event he will also need some behavior shaping, because the bad habits he has developed become "learned behavior" and may persist even after complete castration. PVDR can give you advice on training and you could also contact Ben Hart at https://www.hartshorsemanship.com. Ben has both printed and video materials that can help you.
I inherited two male donkeys. One is in his 30's. I was told he was gelded, but one look under the hood told me otherwise. Is he too old to be gelded? I understand his learned behaviors won't change, but I need to know if the surgery can be performed safely at his age.
While gelding can be done at any age, being 30 years old is definitely a risk factor for anesthesia and surgery. We have successfully castrated horses and donkeys in that age group, but I really try to avoid it. If the history is that he was castrated, it might be worthwhile to have a veterinarian check to see if what is hanging down in his scrotum are actually testes. It may also be a hydrocoel, which happens after castration if some of the tunic is left in, heals closed, and fills with peritoneal fluid. They do not cause any problems and the animal is sterile. I would check that first.
I had a 5 year stallion miniature donkey castrated 3 days ago. The vet is experienced in his mid 30's up to date and has saved many of my dogs and goats. He sedated with but then IV ketamine. He castrated and kept insisting the scrotum is left open and no suturing on the testicular arteries. It appeared there was a lot of bleeding which I kept mentioning. He said it was normal. The donkey got to his feet and still had oozing which I mentioned again and told normal. I checked on him in an hour, he was laying down on his belly, tachypnic, I called the vet and he said it was resedation. I told him something was wrong. An hour later, donkey was on his side, rather stiff legged but responding. Went to the vet office and described and he said to expect sedation for the next 6-8 hours. Nex hour went home and the donkey was dead. I feel he bled out. Is it the NEW way to just crimp the arteries and vas deferens and "sing the star bangled banner for the length of time to hold pressure with his clamp, and leave scrotum open. I am worried about is this standard of care.....I have never had an animal die after castration.
This is really terrible! While it is difficult to say exactly why this donkey died without an autopsy (which I am sure would have been very hard for you), it does sound like the cause was internal bleeding. Other possibilities would be a blood clot causing a stroke or an abnormal reaction to the anesthesia. However, these would be EXTREMELY rare. Most practitioners put a ligature (suture to close the blood vessels) on the spermatic chord in donkeys. Their scrotum and spermatic chord are much more vascular than those of horses and in my experience just using emasculators is not adequate for hemorrhage control. The published rates for mortality in horses after castration is something like 0.3% . Our rate has been 0.0006% after some 8,000 castrations of horses, donkeys, and mules. Mortality rates just for donkeys have not been published. I know this is not much comfort in losing your donkey. We do recommend ligation of the chord and it is normal to leave the scrotum open to drain with field castrations. That does not affect the amount of hemorrhage and results in fewer complications.
I have a 7-8 day old donkey that is having trouble walking his sister died after 14 days of the same thing what is going on?
I am assuming that your donkey's sister died last year. There are a great number of possibilities, though a bone or joint infection in a neonatal foal is the most likely cause of its having trouble walking. This happens because the foal fails to get adequate immunity from its mother in the first milk (called colostrum). Even if the foal drank a sufficient amount of milk, it may not have absorbed the protein antibodies that confer immunity. This is why veterinarians often recommend testing the foal for immunity after 24 to 48 hours. This can be done with a simple test done right in your barn. However, other possibilities include deficiency in a trace mineral called Selenium or a congenital neurologic problem. Would it be possible for you to send me a video of this foal trying to walk? A cell phone video would be fine. I could give you a much better idea of the foal's problem and what you could do about it after seeing a video.
I have a mini donkey jenny and she had a healthy boy foal on March 4, 2023. He is almost 6 months old and need advice on weaning him. I also have a john mini that is Jenny’s son from 10 yrs ago. I bought them as a pair (jenny was pregnant) for pasture mates for my Arabian mare. If I separate the two boys from mother for a while in another adjacent pasture would becthat work? I have one horse (mare) and the 3 mini donkeys im total. I will have him gelded in Oct/Nov when fly season is over in North TX.
Also wanted to know what their breed is as they are all white with some brown spots and longer hair that sheds out in summer. Have not found much info online about the white donkeys. Thanks!
your plan to wean using another gelded donkey as a "friend" and separating them from the jenny is certainly reasonable, given current practice. On the other hand, there is some new research that suggests that the traditional weaning age for equids may be unnecessarily early. The attached paper describes research in horses. As usual, there have been no studies in donkeys. However, donkeys do, if anything, form tighter social bonds than do horses. Also, studies on wild donkeys show that jennets will remain paired with their foals for an average of one year, often having two year's foals traveling with them and nursing. As the foals get older, they nurse less often and the jennet will accept their attempts less and less too, until they are completely weaned. We have observed this in domestic donkeys at our place, and have not had the need to artificially separate them. Certainly, having the young jack castrated in a couple of months would be a good idea. If he is precocious and starts mounting his mother, weaning earlier may be necessary, but this may not be a problem. Simply watching their behavior will tell you.
About a week after foaling our Jenny has become mean. She tries to bite us and she doesn't seem to want her foal to nurse. In the beginning she was fine. She has always been a friendly donkey.
The first thing I would do in addressing the change in your jenny's behavior is to consider anything new in the environment that may be upsetting her . Aggression in donkeys after foaling is usually due to fear and anxiety. Barking dogs, traffic, new animals in the herd, people she is not used to, changes in weather, screaming children, and other things could be causing this. If such distractions can be removed that would be ideal. Pain, from lameness, or some other source, could also cause this and may require veterinary examination and treatment. Occasionally, for unexplained reasons, the personality of a new mother will change toward people that she normally is okay with or even her foal. This is probably something like the post-partum depression that is seen in humans. If that is the case, she may require tranquilization. Agents like acepromazine or Gabapentin, could be prescribed by your veterinarian to help her reconnect with her foal and be more tolerant of people. It is important not to discipline her, as that will increase the level of anxiety and make matters worse. There is a protocol that sometimes works for mares and jennets that reject their foals involving readily available hormones and oxytocin. Usually this is done immediately after birth, but might also work in your jennet. You would need to work with a veterinarian to use this and if they need a recipe
I had a minnie donkey born on Sunday,I thought everything was fine but the mom kicked him for NO reason and if they were together she would still be mean BUT she seems to be very interested in him.I am so lost on what to do. If I hold her she lets him nurse.just afraid if I put her were she can get to him it would not be good.
This is, of course, a very serious matter. A foal needs to drink 10% of its body weight a day to maintain itself and grow. So that foal, if it weighs 50 lbs (guessing, but since it is a mini) needs to drink that means it needs a little over a half gallon of milk a day (5 lbs out of a gallon, which is 8 lbs of liquid). To do this the foal should drink small amounts frequently (every 1-2 hours on average). If a jennet is rejecting its foal first look for things that may be frightening her. Dogs, "drama" with other donkeys, lots of strange people, noise, etc. Often anxiety and fear in a dam is expressed as aggression toward the foal. Keep her in a quiet place and limit the number of people working with her. Do not attempt to force or discipline her, as that will only make things worse. There is a hormone protocol involving a prostaglandin (Prostin F2 -alpha) and oxytocin (the milk letdown and "feel good" hormone) that will often reset a mare or jennet's brain and stimulate her motherly instincts. You would need assistance from your veterinarian, as the initial part of the protocol requires that the jennet be sedated. I would try to resolve this problem just as soon as possible, before the foal starts getting weak.
Rescued abandoned baby burro - very near death . Found by construction workers . Foal appx less than a week old . Puss in eyes , infected mouth sores - unable to even lift his head .
Administered IV fluids , I’m antibiotics. - showing improvement and taking some goat milk from syringe. Holding head posterior to feed - after 5 hours - putting weight on legs and holding head up for short periods but unable to stand without support . Any idea of why the infected mouth sores ? Any other suggestions for treatment ?
With a neonatal foal like this there are some things that you need to do right away. This foal should have a blood test for immunoglobulin (IgG), because if is an orphan it may not have gotten colostrum milk from its mother, and even if it did, the stress may have decreased its ability to absorb the antibodies that are essential for its ability to survive or its metabolism may have used these proteins for energy (making them no longer available). If the blood IgG is low the foal is unlikely to survive if it does not get a plasma transfusion. Horse plasma works fine in donkeys in an emergency, though donkey plasma is preferrable, it is just hard to find. The sores in the mouth and purulent eye discharge could be the result of either a bacterial infection, which an IgG deficient foal would be prone to or it could be a virus infection such as Herpes, that the foal may have gotten from its mother through the uterus and placenta. I cannot stress the importance of ensuring that adequate immunoglobulins are circulating in its blood. Then if it will not nurse, placing a nasogastric feeding tube and temporarily suturing it in place will be essential to getting it enough nutrition. This is a procedure that any veterinarian can do. It is safe and won't hurt the foal. The problem with giving milk by syringe is that a healthy foal needs a minimum of 10% of its body weight in milk per day to maintain its metabolic requirements. In a 60 lb foal that means 2.7 liters or almost 3 quarts of milk a day. A sick foal trying to fight off an infection will need even more. If the milk is coming in a syringe and the foal is weak and doesn't swallow properly, milk can get into the lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia which will be fatal. With at tube in place you can just put in the calculated amount of milk in (you should weigh the foal) and you know it is going to its stomach. After it gains strength and suckle reflex, it is easy to remove the tube and just start feeding it with a bottle. The antibiotics used should have a very broad spectrum. Penicillin and gentamycin are a good combination. Ceftiofur (Exceed or Naxcel) is also a good option. You should discuss these with your veterinarian.
I have a 5 month old baby donkey. I give her 2 bottles of milk every morning, for the last two weeks she kicks her hind legs while drinking and her leg has stayed in the air for a few seconds. I pull the bottle out and she puts her le g down and continues. Today during feeding her hind end went down for a second. What is does this mean?
It is a little hard to say what is going on with your young donkey. Kicking or lifting her hind legs. Perhaps you could send us a video. Most likely this is just a behavioral aspect of her being excited at nursing the bottle or frustration because the milk is not coming fast enough as she gets bigger and stronger. If her legs going down just happened once , it may again just be an expression of excitement and she lost her balance and fell. However, it is possible that this could be a neurologic problem, with something like vitamin E or Selenium deficiency in her diet. That would be hard to tell without knowing what exactly she is eating and if she is getting any vitamin mineral supplementation.
My mini donkey has a dry cough and started having some mucus in his eyes. We started him on an antibiotic, is there anything else I should do? What causes the mucus in his eyes? We have always had horses but never donkeys... help! Thank you
There are a number of things that can cause a dry cough in donkeys. These range from dust irritation (which could also irritate your mini's eyes), to lung worms (Dictyocaulus arnfeldi), to viruses or respiratory allergies. If the environment is not dusty, you can have a veterinarian do an exam on the feces (called a Baerman test) to see if they can find worm larvae. These respond to ivermectin dewormer. Donkeys are susceptible to Equine Influenza and Herpes viruses. In fact, influenza is a much more severe disease in donkeys than in horses, and all donkeys should be vaccinated against Equine Influenza routinely. These viruses infect mucus membranes, which include the lining of the eye, which would result in a white or yellowish discharge. It is the immune cells in this discharge that gives it color. I would suggest that you take your donkey's temperature, or have a veterinarian do that. If it is over 101.5 F your donkey may have influenza. Unfortunately, antibiotics do not affect viruses, however they can help protect the respiratory track from secondary bacterial infections. I would leave that decision to your veterinarian. They may want to submit a nasal swab to check for viruses too. As far as additional treatments go, the main thing is to keep them comfortable and make sure they do not have a high fever. The coughing, in influenza, normally subsides in 2-3 weeks if there are no complications. I would also make sure that there is no mold in their hay or straw, as this can cause respiratory allergies similar to hay fever in humans.
I have a yearling burro from the Bureau of Land Managent. He came from Selenite Nevada. His caps are currently comming off. He seems to be a little more grumpy than usual, I am assuming it is the caps, because he is super healthy. Can I give him bite for that? Or other pain relievers?
At a year of age, losing a deciduous cap is a little early, though donkeys are notoriously variable in tooth growth, making them hard to age. Another cause for grumpy-ness is that, as a young donkey, who is just now learning how to interact with you and his new environment, is that he is simply acting like a human adolescent "going through a phase". Donkeys, with their complex behaviors and personalities, will also show variable response to training and handling. It would be a good idea to consider what you are doing with him, how your training is going, what kind of treats you are using and when you are using them. Changing your approach or just doing something different for a while may solve his being grumpy. We don't usually use analgesics for erupting teeth or caps, and things like Phenylbutazone (Bute) do have the potential for significant undesirable side effects. I would look at the behavior and training before using 'bute".
4 week old donkey.... She's losing hair on her nose and it's turning black. What can this be as I don't see anything online that's looks the same. It seems to be spreading. Her mom doesn't have any signs of it. Pls help
My immediate question is: is she losing hair, leaving bald skin which is black, or is she losing the hair she was born with and short black hairs are replacing them? if it is the latter, that is normal for foals and she will end up being a darker color than when she was first born. If the skin is bald around her nose and if it looks thickened or otherwise abnormal, it would be a good idea to have veterinarian biopsy the skin to get an accurate diagnosis. There are autoimmune skin diseases that can look like this.
We rescued an orphaned burro 2 days ago, he was with his dead mother on the side of the road. He has 4 upper teeth and 4 lower teeth and I have been told he has 2 molars but I did not see those. We have tried giving him Unimilk supplement from a bottle and in a bowl and he is totally uninterested. He is eating hay, drinking water and going to the bathroom but recently his stool is not solid. Should we continue forcing the Unimilk or is he alright with just hay and water?
Hay and milk are way too low in protein for a foal. He needs some kind of milk-based supplement, or he will not be able to grow or fight off foal-hood infections. If he will eat hay you can get Foal-lak pellets, which are designed for feeding orphaned foals, and, with some coaxing (maybe a little Karo syrup, Molasses, and/or apple sauce on them, he will learn to eat the pellets. Do not use alfalfa pellets as a substitutes, as they are still too low in protein. Also, do not try to force milk in his mouth, it is too easy for it to "go down the wrong pipe" and cause aspiration pneumonia. If he will nurse on your fingers if you put them in his mouth (Karo Syrup can help here too), put the milk in a bowl and, once he is sucking on your fingers, submerge them in the milk. Usually, they will learn to drink out of a bowl, but it takes patience. Us a milk replacer designed for horses, the ones for calves are usually too high in fiber. Getting him to eat small amounts of milk frequently will allow for a greater intake (he needs to eat at least 10 % of his body weight per day), and will help prevent diarrhea. Watery manure that you are now seeing may be the result of his inability to digest the hay well or it may be the start of an intestinal infection. Either way, you need to get him on a more appropriate diet right away. Again, patience, and small quantities frequently is the goal.
We got a Jenny July 2021 and we’ve had a vet out to sedate for the farrier and the farrier out and no one ever thought that she could be pregnant. Well pooring down rain she ended up having a baby late Thursday night. We didn’t even realize the baby till 11am Friday. With it raining and being cold out and they would not stay in their enclosure we brought the little one in at 5pm and. We got him dried. I got colostrum gel and manna pro colostrum powder and milk replacer and have been feeding. He really doesn’t latch we are almost force feeding. This morning at 5 am he was almost seizing like very mildly jaw locked and not moving other then shaking from the seizure I gave more colostrum gel, 4oz of colostrum milk, and a touch of sugar water on the gums. He did poop brown last night and finally peeded about 3 hours ago. He continues to walk around with his head down, his ears up and down, not latching. Is there any recommendations to get him stronger or is he right on track? I’m nervous as this is our first baby donkey and obviously we wasn’t expecting. I also bought manna pro bounce back electrolytes and just started giving them.
I do not want to alarm you but this is an EMERGENCY situation. You need to get your veterinarian out immediately to do a blood test for "Passive Transfer of Immunity" (also called IgG). I know you have given the foal colostrum gel, but that product is no where near as effective in providing immunity as the jennet's real colostrum milk. Further, even with the best quality and quantity of colostrum, a foal born in such stressful conditions may not absorb the immune conferring proteins (antibodies) that is the whole point of colostrum milk. This is a common mistake and the reason why we recommend that if there is any question or if the foal appears lethargic, weak, or won't nurse that the blood be tested for passive transfer. This is a simple and inexpensive test that the veterinarian can do right next to the foal. The reason that this is so critical is that a foal, who is now 4 days old, will rapidly be overwhelmed by bacterial infections if it does not have that immunity from its mother. These bacteria will get into its joints, its growth cartilage, and even its central nervous system, and be difficult or impossible to treat. Foals only absorb these antibodies for the first 24 hours of life, at which point the pores in the small intestine, which allow passage of whole proteins into the blood close. The veterinarian can "bypass" this problem by giving serum to the foal intravenously. This will also put some protein into the foal's blood, which it is likely lacking. Further, a tube can be placed through the foal's nose into its stomach and fixed in place, so that milk or milk replacer can be given even if the foal will not nurse. Foal's must consume 10% of their body weight daily to avoid becoming weak and hypoglycemic. If the foal is not consuming that amount it is not going to start nursing because its brain function will be depress due to starvation. DO NOT force feed! It is too easy for that milk to go down the trachea and into the lungs in a weak, depressed foal. That milk will then cause aspiration pneumonia which is usually fatal. I am really afraid that the seizures that you have seen are either the result of severe hypoglycemia or an infection of the brain or spinal cord. IF you can get the foal's immunity up (giving more gel won't do this and will waste money that would be better spent on effective treatment), get an adequate amount of nutrition into it, and possibly start it on antibiotics, the foal will learn to either nurse or drink milk from a bucket. This can take time, but unfortunately you do not have any time if it is going to survive.
Our momma donkey has stopped producing milk. The foal (3 days old) isn’t wanting to take the bottle. Any advice
Judiciously wait until the foal gets hungry, wipe the nipple on the bottle with Karo syrup, slip it into its mouth and be patient. They nearly always drink when the get hungry enough. However, if the foal has lost its suckle reflex (it will not nurse on your fingers when you put them in its mouth), or it seems depressed, or shows any other symptoms, you need to have veterinarian examine it and test it for transfer of immunity from the jennet. Foals will go downhill really fast, and about 3-4 days of age is when infections acquired at birth, failure of passive transfer, and neonatal maladjustment can start showing up. A foal needs to drink about 10% of its body weight in milk a day to avoid becoming weak and hypoglycemic. They can survive for a day or two with less, but, again, they can crash fast. Sometimes a veterinarian needs to place a nasogastric tube, so that the foal can be given nutrition while waiting for it to overcome other problems. You can also try to get the foal to drink milk or milk replacer from a bucket. To do this, hold the milk up to the foal's nose, dip your fingers in the milk, and see if you can get to start suckling your fingers. Thes lower your fingers into the milk to try to get the foal to drink. You will have to be patient this may take a while. DO NOT try to squirt milk in the foal's mouth with a syringe. You won't be able to get enough into it to do any good and if the foal has any difficulty swallowing or you do it too fast, the milk will end up in its lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia, which is usually fatal. As far as the jennet goes, here ceasing to produce milk could either be because she is not making any or because she is "not letting it down". The former could be because of some disease process in the jennet, such as a uterine infection or mastitis, the latter could be because of anxiety or pain. A simple test is to give her a short acting hormone called "oxytocin", which is the natural way that milk let-down (expulsion) occurs in the udder. If you can think of anything that might be bothering her, try to remove that from her environment. Otherwise, you need to have a veterinarian examine the jennet. We hope this helps.
Hi, how is it best to get a Jenny to accept her foal? She foaled 10 days ago at a rescue quarantine and would not let foal get to colostrum. Both went to a vet where they administered an injection to the Jenny to help with her hormones and keep them a few days until momma was letting the little Jack nurse although she still had hobbles on. Now she is back to having to be restrained to let him nurse. Any suggestions? The quarantine is feeding mare pellets free choice and alfalfa. Foal does not readily accept bottle. Thank you!
I am assuming that the jenny had enough milk and would just not let it down, with the veterinary clinic giving the hormone, oxytocin, to cause her to eject milk for the foal. If she was not producing milk at all, that is another matter, and usually the result of being on a fescue pasture, with a different hormone requirement. If the jenny has been resistant to letting the foal nurse for 10 days you may not have a lot of luck changing that . However, a tranquilizer like Acepromazine may help, because usually the reason a mare or jennet will not allow nursing is because they are stressed and anxious. This could be used with another drug called propranolol , which decreases anxiety and fear. Every effort should be made to keep things quiet and NEVER punish the jennet. That will only make matters worse. Neither of these drugs will hurt the foal and Acepromazine will slightly increase milk production. Also, unless this jenny is in really bad physical shape and very thin, be careful feeding alfalfa, especially along with pellets. Alfalfa hay, and most horse pellets are way to high in digestible energy for donkeys and will rapidly make them obese and potentially develop laminitis or hyperlipemia. Starting to get the foal to drink milk from a bucket should also be tried. Put some milk in a bucket with a little karo syrup, and rub it on their gums. If the foal will suckle you your fingers, let it, and then slowing submerge your hand in the bucket of milk to get them to start drinking. You can use horse milk replacer or whole goats' milk, with the former being a little better. It takes patience but they will eventually come around. Foals need to drink something like 15-20 % of their body weight each day in milk to get adequate nutrition. Good luck!
We have a day old donkey that was rejected by his mother. He started eating great on a bottle but now has stopped sucking at all and won’t eat. What do we do to get him to eat again?
This is a serious situation. Did the foal get any of the "first milk" or colostrum from his mother? This needs to happen in the first 24 hours of life, and foals should get some colostrum milk within the first hour. Otherwise, they will not have any immunity to bacteria in their environment. That is the first thing that I would worry about. If the foal has no suckle reflex (will not suck on your fingers when put in his mouth) you need to have him examined by a veterinarian right away. They can do a test to see if he received and absorbed immunity from his mother, and, if necessary, put a tube into his stomach to provide nutrition, until the suckle reflex returns. This is really important, because if the foal does not drink around 10% of its body weight pre day, it will become hypoglycemic, which will further weaken its ability to nurse, making a downward spiral. The veterinarian can suture the feeding tube into place so that you can continue to feed the foal if it won't eat. It is also possible that this foal has "Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome" where a foal, normal at birth, reverts to a fetal-like state. Techniques such as the "Madigan Squeeze" have been developed in recent years to overcome this. Again, your veterinarian would be able to help with that. I want to emphasize the seriousness of this situation and the importance of getting it resolved just as soon as you can.
Just had a foal in January he was doing great running around. About 3 weeks ago he has had snot come out of his nose.and had what I thought was him being top heavy. His back legs work but slow. I have also noticed him standing in corners of the stall. He does nurse but maybe a min at a time about 8-10 times a day.
I did call out vet they gave him a antibiotic shot (2) and a anti inflammatory. He hasn’t made much improvement. Trying to see what we may have going on. All I keep reading is how different donkeys are to horses (which I agree) however we don’t have a donkey expert here. Thank you for any advice!!!
This sounds like a serious condition and the first thing you need to get is a diagnosis. The unwillingness to move normally could be anything from pain to metabolic disease (liver problems are common in donkeys), to a neurologic problem. This will require some laboratory testing. Specifically: a complete blood count with fibrinogen (CBC) to look for markers of infection, a clinical chemistry profile with triglycerides (to test for liver and kidney function, and muscle damage), and an Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) serum test (because the symptoms that you describe could be neurologic disease following a respiratory virus infection). Yes, donkeys are different from horses!
We have 2 donkeys, a mom and her baby. The baby is almost 3 now. She messes with our calves and has possibly hurt them or kept them from their mommas causing them to starve. We are thinking of rehoming her due to this issues but am worried they will both go into a deep depression and get sick. Do you have any advice as to what to do.
If the mother and baby have been together without other donkey contact they may, indeed have a problem if they are separated. The best thing would be to introduce another donkey, probably a gelding, and see the jennet will bond to it. Then when you rehome the 3 year old, be sure that it is going to a home with other donkeys and people who have some donkey experience and will spend a lot of time with their new charge. I agree that leaving either one alone may have serious consequences and will, at least make separation more difficult. Spending a couple of sessions a day, grooming and giving some low calorie treats (we like carrot slices) will also help "dilute" their dependance on each other and start to see you as an alternative.
Our 5 week old donkey foal suddenly just has no energy and does seem to want to run and play at all. He just lays around. He feels very hot to the touch. What could be wrong?
There are a host of things that could be causing this in a donkey foal, and most are serious. Your donkey needs a veterinary examination immediately, including blood work to identify possible infection. We have found that donkeys are much more stoic and do not show serious disease as openly as horses do. So this kind of lethargy should be taken seriously. At this age an umbilical abscess inside his abdomen would be a major concern. Seeding of bacteria to joints or growth plates at birth could also be showing up at this age. Again, this is going to require veterinary examination and testing to resolve.
I have a foal coming In October and want to put a heater in the paddock if needed. Any recommendations on what type?
It is hard to make recommendations, not knowing what part of the country you are in, but unless you are dealing with ambient temperatures far below zero (Fahrenheit) the only thing that you need to worry about is wind chill. In other words if the paddock in which the foaling will take place is protected from the wind and sleet, an actual heater would not be necessary. If the temperatures are really low ( 10 degrees below zero or worse), a dry, straw bedded stall with a heat lamp in one corner should be fine. I would stay away from any heat source that a donkey could actually reach, because of their propensity to play with new things, which could result in a catalytic heater being knocked over and starting a fire. Once the foal is born you can help by drying it with towels and putting an T-shirt or sweat shirt on it to save body heat. Good luck with the foaling.
What can I give my donkey who just had a baby for pain in her milk bag she’s engorged and trying to hurt the foul
I am assuming that your jennet just has an engorged udder, and is not acting otherwise sick, as she might if she had an udder infection, like mastitis. Analgesics that you could give her would be Flunixin (Banamine) at 1 mg/kg twice a day (though I would not continue this for more than 4-5 days), or Gabapentin at 20 mg/kg twice a day (this quite safe and could be given for long periods). If possible you might also remove some of the milk if she has excess either by hand milking (which takes some technique) or using a "mare milker" (here is one you can make yourself that I've always used : https://cavvysavvy.tsln.com/blog/mare-milking-device/
Mare Milking Device CavvySavvy.com - We Know Working Horses
It’s foaling season for many people and if you are foaling mares, you have probably had occasion to milk one to get a foal started with a bottle. As you have noticed, the “handles” are pretty short on a mare and even if she is 100% cooperative, it’s a back breaking, slow process.
or you could spend the money and buy a similar device). Warm compresses applied to the udder will also break up congestion and make her feel better. Various types of medications used to be available for "udder edema" in cattle, which is what your jennet is experiencing, but most have been taken off the market because of milk contamination concerns. Your veterinarian may have a compounded formulation of lasix (furosemide) that would work.
I have a baby mini donkey that was born on Aug 10 (she was a surprise). Velma was born with a tendon contracture in her left hind leg. After 2 visits to area vets, I contacted Retama Equine Hospital. They performed a surgery to cut 2 tendons and the ligament. The cannon bone was slightly curved but they aligned the bones and placed her in a cast. We are looking at the options for long term. She is not a high priced race horse but she is already a very loved member of our family. I am working hard to find ways to afford this second surgery for her. The second surgery will be to place a plate and pins to secure the fetlock joint. My husband is a disabled vet and does work for the Fort Sam Houston Air Force base as a police officer. I am curious if you know of any places that can offer any assistance with medical bills. I want to give little Velma a chance at a semi-normal life and we will continue to give her all the love we have. We have the blessing of a great doctor working on her. Even if you or your colleagues have any advice on long term treatment to help us figure out how to best stabilize her leg, we will take all the advice we can get. We are open to any suggestions!
I appreciate your time!
This sounds like quite and ordeal for the little mini. Without knowing exactly where the flexor tendons and, what I assume, was the suspensory ligament where cut it is a little hard to give specific advice. However, since it is a hind leg and it is currently in a proper caste, I would think that there is a good chance that she will do well without a second surgery to fuse the fetlock joint. Tendons and ligaments will heal enough to provide adequate support for the joint, particularly in a hind leg and such a small animal. One problem with using a plate to fuse the fetlock in a foal is that it will bridge the growth plate or "physis" at the end of the cannon bone, which could result in problems later on. However, without seeing the leg or radiographs it would be hard for me to say. We have had good luck in such situations by raising funds through a crowd sourcing site like GoFundMe. If you put up some cute pictures and a good story, raising amounts up to $5000 would be pretty easy I would think. Waiting to see how much healing and support you get after the period of casting, and then thinking about the need for joint fusion would be a good plan.
Also, if your veterinarian is a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, there is a program called "Vet Direct Safety Net" that may be able to cover up to $600 of expenses. Your veterinarian will have to first get onboarded with the program—which is conducted in conjunction with the ASPCA—and then apply for a grant.
Good luck with the baby.
I have a newborn donkey and she seems to have a cough.
If by "newborn" you mean a day or a few hours old, I would be concerned that the foal is not swallowing milk normally. Is milk coming out of the foal's nose by any chance? If so, a veterinarian should examine the foal and see if it has a cleft palate or some neurologic problem with swallowing. If the foal is a a few days older there are a host of things that could cause a cough, from environmental irritants like dust, to virus infections. I would start by being sure that the foal has been nursing eagerly and regularly. I would take it's temperature (should be less than 102 F). You can take the temperature by using a regular electric thermometer and inserting it in the foal's anus. If the foal continues to cough, has an elevated temperature, or shows any signs of lethargy or lameness, you need to have a veterinary examination right away. Among other things the veterinarian will listen to the chest for signs of infection or inflammation, and will likely also want to do a blood test for immunoglobulins, which are the critical proteins that the foal gets from its mother in the first milk (colostrum) and are essential for allowing the foal to fight off infecting bacteria and viruses until its own immune system can get going.
Good Morning, I emailed yesterday asking about our donkeys behavior well yesterday and today we have noticed our orphaned donkey foal Daisy is having a hard time getting up off the ground. She can stand and walk fine she just can’t or won’t get up after laying down. I have checked her hooves they look fine and she has no visible cuts or anything. She lost her mom about a week ago and she wasn’t getting much milk from mom anyway so she started eating low starch grain and 30% protein grain and we’ve been pouring her milk replacer in that (we can’t get her to take a bottle). Our local vet said if she is eating grain or grass she should be fine, we are looking at having the vet come see her but he hasn’t worked with many donkeys so any feedback would be appreciated, Thank you!
Dealing with a mini donkey colic at our place. These happen to everybody, I guess. If Daisy will stand and walk normally that suggests that it is not a musculoskeletal problem, in the sense of an injury or pain. I am guessing that she is just weak. Low starch grain and hay are fine for adult donkeys bur a foal really needs more energy (that is what is in the starch) and protein. This would all depend on the actual weight of the diet constituents that you have mentioned. In other words: exactly how much low starch grain vs. 30% protein grain vs. milk replacer is she getting? and what is the total amount of feed that she is ingesting per day. Normally, a foal will consume from 10% to, as high as, 25% of its body weight in mare's milk, which is very high in energy (carbohydrate and fat) and high quality protein. 30% protein for a supplemented grain sounds high, but it depends on how that protein is measured. Most feeds show "crude protein", which is actually the amount of nitrogen multiplied by 6.25 under the assumption that the nitrogen is held in amino acids, which are the constituents of protein. So this says nothing about whether or now the protein actually contains sufficient amounts of essential amino acids or if the measured nitrogen is actually protein (nitrogen concentration can be increased by adding urea, which is digestible by adult equids and ruminants, but not by young animals). It is hard to deliver enough digestible energy and protein to a foal if they are eating feeds designed for adults. You can get milk based pellets (Foal Lac Pellets are on example), which come close to the energy and protein quantity AND Quality delivered by straight milk. You might also have your veterinarian do a blood panel to make sure there are no liver, kidney, or muscle problems. I would also do a blood Selenium, IF your area is selenium deficient, and , if possible a vitamin E measurement. Vitamin E is a bit harder.
I have a question regarding my donkeys behavior towards an orphaned foal. We had two female donkeys, one was pregnant and the other were not sure. The pregnant one was named Pauline, Pauline gave birth to a foal we named Daisy. Pauline died just recently and her sister Paula we’ve noticed has been taking care of Daisy. But Paula does this strange behavior where she pushes down on Daisy’s back or pushes her around like she wants her to lay down or walk a certain direction. We’re worried she may hurt Daisy doing that, do you have any insight as to why Paula maybe doing that? Thanks!!!
Donkeys can be pretty rough with their foals, both their own and those of other jennies. Immediately after birth they will pick them up by an ear to get them to stand, for instance. They also frequently "herd" foals and use their noses or body to make them go where the jenny thinks they should be. So this is pretty normal behavior. Also, donkey foals are pretty durable, and it is unlikely that Daisy is going to be hurt. Real aggression that can result in injury is very rare and is more likely to come from a jack or gelding than either a original or an adoptive jenny. Of course, you should watch for really serious attacks, like hard biting or kicking at the foal. It sounds like you are "on top" of this and that Daisy will be okay with Paula.
Mini donkey born July 1
Sunday she was lifeless gave her jump start gel, mother wasnt letting her suck.
Milked the mother, she didnt have much. Got it down baby. Got goats milk baby will not suck bottle but moma was letting him suck again. Today she is 6 days old moma bitting pushing her away again. Baby weak again gabe jump start gel again. Baby still will not suck. What can I do?
I have lamb bottle
I would check the jenny's udder to make sure she does not have mastitis (an infection of the udder). If she seems painful or the udder is warm, you need to call a veterinarian to get her antibiotics. For the foal: it is essential that you start getting some nutrition into it. Using a commercial foal milk replacer or goat's milk, keep trying to get it to suckle that baby nipple. If it is too weak or just won't suckle (this may take a lot of patience on your part), you will need to have a veterinarian pass a tube into its stomach and feed it with the tube until it gains some strength. In many many foals (horses and donkeys) I have never seen one that would not eventually nurse if it was given adequate nutrition by stomach tube. The technique is easy and the tube can be left in place for a few days so that you can feed the foal until it starts nursing. The trouble is that lack of milk intake results in hypoglycemia in the foal, with directly effects the brain and will depress the suckle reflex, which all foals have. The only exception would be a foal with severe neurologic disease. Again, that would require veterinary diagnosis.
We just got a baby donkey whose mother was attacked and killed by coyotes he has not been with her for two weeks. We took him from a rescue on Wednesday and he had diarrhea at the rescue the day We picked him up and he still has loose stools. They had him on high and nutrena feed. I have continued both and have given probios. Can you help?
It depends a bit on how old the foal is and I cannot tell from your question. If the foal is older the Nutrena and hay might be fine, but if it is younger it will need a higher protein and calcium level. The diarrhea could be the result of a lot of things, but if the foal looks otherwise okay (normal gum color, normal temperature, alert and willing to eat) it is likely a digestive upset that will respond to Pepto Bismol. I would give the pepto and 2 oz. every 6 hours. If that does not resolve diarrhea or if the foal looks weak or dehydrated, you need to contact a veterinarian to look at it.
I've adopted several PVDR donkeys over the years for our donkey-facilitated wellness program, and am in the process of taking on an orphaned 4-month-old female. She apparently was rejected by her mother and received a plasma transfusion in her earliest days. She will arrive to my farm Sunday 6/20 and will live with 5 other donkeys (2 minis, 3 standards all adults, and 2 adult geldings). I'm new to foal rearing/weaning and hoping to get some advice about general nutrition as well as weaning resources. She is currently taking Foal-LAC milk powder mixed with warm water 3x per day, and is eating grass hay. I like to stay as natural as possible with my donkeys and hope to simply feed her fresh rotated pasture, as well as free choice clean prairie hay and access to Redmond salt/mineral rocks once she is weaned off of milk. I also offer occasional orange peel, carrot, and grapefruit snacks as enrichment. Is this approach healthy for a young donkey? Do you typically recommend any other supplements or foods that are critical at her early stage of life? I want to offer what is best for her health and longevity.
It sounds like you have a good situation planned for this orphaned donkey. It is important that orphans "learn to be donkeys" , by living with other donkeys in a herd. The main issue for this young donkey is protein, as it is still growing and an all grass or hay diet will not provide adequate amounts for growth and development. While equids can be weaned as early as 3-4 months, they really need to be eating a solid diet , which needs to be milk based (Foal Lak pellets) to get not only the quantity and quality of protein, but the needed amounts of calcium and phosphorous. In the wild donkey foals will nurse their dams for a full year, and some will nurse on and off for 2 years. So keeping the foal on milk for at least 3 more months will be important, with some extra protein supplement fed even after that. It is important that she is separated at feeding times, because the other donkeys should not be eating the higher nutrition diet that she requires. It will also be important to make sure that the orphan does not eat too many highly digestible calories, such as fats and sugar/carbohydrates that can sneak in to higher levels of nutrition. Advice on orphaned foal rearing can be found at https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/what-we-do/knowledge-and-advice/for-owners/care-of-the-orphan-donkey-foal, by the way, in this article they recommend weaning at 5 months. They also have information on nutrition and you can depend on products by Foal Lak and Purina to have diets formulated for weanling foals. I would keep the protein intake higher than for an adult donkey until the foal is at least a yearling and, better, until 2 .
Our donkey has had 2 foals, first one on Feb 2020 she wouldn't have anything to do with and we thought it was because she was young. She just had a foal yesterday, was so attentive licking nudging etc then the minute it went to nurse the mama wouldnt have any part of it and tries to kick her and managed to a few times before we could intervene, once knocking her out for a second. My questions is why this behavior? We are bottle feeding the baby and she appears to be thriving at this point. The daddy seems to try and stay in between the mama and baby when put in the same pasture to the point of picking the baby up by the back of its neck and moving it. Is this normal behavior as well?
Jennets and mare usually reject foals because they are anxious or upset about something. It is often very hard to tell the level of a donkey's anxiety because they are stoic and don't show fear and distress the way horses do. It would be impossible, without looking at your specific situation, what might be causing the problem. Of course, any noises, strange people or animals, or other upsetting things should be avoided. It may also be that having the jack present in the corral or pasture with the jennet and foal may be worrying the mother. This anxiety can be expressed perversely as actually projecting the problem onto the foal and attacking or rejecting it. Jennets normally are solitary in the wild when they foal, and not around jacks. Clearly, some jennets in captivity don't worry about anything and accept their foals under all sorts of conditions. Like most things biological there is a "bell shaped curve" , and an individual's personality, based on their own genetics and live experiences, can be on any part of that curve. Your jennet is clearly on the anxious end of the curve. Mares and jennets who reject their foals can benefit from tranquilizers, like Acepromazine or Gabapentin, given at parturition, and I would certainly consider using a tranquilizer with this jennet in the future. The behavior where the jack is picking up the foal is common in donkeys. I have seen jennets do the same thing. He may be trying to protect the foal or he may see the foal as competition for the jennet's attention, and therefor trying to remove it. Again, this behavior differs between individuals. I am glad that the foal is doing okay on a bottle. I would suggest that the jennet and foal be placed with another jennet or a gelding rather than the jack.
I have a mother donkey with a baby jenny on her side that I acquired about a month ago. They have both been active, especially the little one up until a few days ago. The baby does not seem to have much energy now and just started having diahrrea. The mother has been on limited amounts of feed. last night we were supposed to get nasty storms so one of the guys at the farm brought them inside the barn, and not knowing any better, left some ranch mix grain in the pen for the night. The baby now has diahrrea, which I assume is from eating the grain, as I do not give grain to the donkeys as part of their diet. Just wondering if there is anything I can do to try and help the little girl. Thanks for your help!
Unfortunately there are a number of things that could cause that diarrhea. If digestive upset from grain in the cause that could be something that would respond to Pepto-Bismol. However, it could also be an intestinal infection brought on by stress and feed change, caused by bacteria like pathogenic E coli or Salmonella. These would be much more serious. You need to take the baby's temperature (if it is either below 98 or above 101.5 I would be concerned) and look at her gums to make sure they are a normal pink color and moist. If they are not (dark red or very pale and "tacky") she may becoming dehydrated and endotoxic. Also check her heart rate if you have a stethoscope. It should be less than 60 bpm. If any of these abnormalities is present she needs veterinary care soon, an IV catheter, and IV fluids. Other anti-endotoxic treatments may also be necessary. You should also make sure that the jennet is not lame and her hooves are not warm, as she is at risk for foundering if she ate much of the grain.
Our momma had her baby yesterday sometime, I noticed him last night. He was limping on his back right leg. This morning he doesn’t seem to want to put it down on the ground, is this something that might be sore? Or could there be an underlying issue?
Sudden severe lameness in a newborn should always be treated as an emergency. The main concern is that he may have picked up a bacterial infection at birth or even in utero. When bacteria get into the blood stream they tend to localize in joints or the cartilage at the end of the long bones. If untreated this can result in permanent crippling of the foal or a fatal body infection. While there may be other causes, it is extremely rare for a jennet to 'step on' or otherwise injure her foal. In fact, I doubt that I have ever seen that happen. Delaying diagnosis and treatment could be catastrophic for the foal. A veterinarian needs to see the foal as soon as possible and a physical exam, and possibly some lab work will be necessary. Please do not wait. If you are lucky and this is something less serious, you have not lost anything. If it is an infection this will be the only chance to fix the problem.
1 week old foal donkey, Mother has severe pneumonia and is not making milk. Baby will not eat replacement from a bottle or bucket.
It can take a while for a foal who is used to nursing to learn how to use a bottle or bucket. Some things that you can try: I don't know what milk replacer you are using, but you might try whole goats mile (not skim!) instead. Handle the foals head and slipping a finger into the foal's mouth with some milk with a a little Karo syrup on it to get it start nursing on your finger, then slip a nipple from a milk bottle in next to your finger, take your finger out, and let the foal nurse the bottle. You may have to be patient until the foal gets the idea. A big concern is that if the foal is not drinking 10% of its body weight a day it will start getting weak and lose the ability to nurse. That starts a serious downward spiral. A veterinarian can put a feeding tube into the foal's stomach through the nose and tape it in place. You can then put milk into the foal's stomach to keep it strong until it gets the idea and starts nursing. Given enough time I have never seen a foal not nurse if it is otherwise normal.
I have a mother miniature donkey and her seven month old foal (I got them two months ago). A vet told me that the mother’s body condition was very poor and that the baby should be weaned so that the mother can regain some muscle mass. She advised to separate the mother and baby for a month. I have them separated now and they’re very very upset. Is there anything I can do to make this less stressful for them? Something I could wrap around her belly to cover her nipples?
Seven months of age would be a minimal age to wean a donkey foal. One approach to this situation would be to increase the jenny's nutritional plain to make up for protein and energy that she is losing in feeding her foal. This is assuming that the jenny is otherwise healthy: good teeth, parasites controlled, etc. Mini's rarely require supplementation and tend to get obese easily. However, she may not have had adequate nutrition prior to your getting her two months ago and needs to catch up. There are a number of ways to supplement ranging from feeding some alfalfa hay to processed feeds specifically formulated for lactating mares. I would feed half the recommended amount of a horse of the same size (this may take some extrapolation). If you do need to keep mother and foal separated it is important that both have donkey friends immediately available. Weaned foals can be pastured with an older animal or with several other foals undergoing weaning. This is often a good time to do your halter training, because the foal will be looking for companionship and attention. For the jennet, being in a small herd of donkeys, or even just one other donkey with which she has a bond would help. Donkey foals will nurse their mother for a year or even two in the wild. The jenny will gradually wean their foal or yearling. Some believe that this is preferrable to earlier weaning from the standpoint of the youngster's psyche.
I had a colt born last night. He has swollen legs and a floppy ear. Wondering if these things are normal for donkeys or should i get ahold of the vet. I've had horses all my life but I'm new to donkeys.
I would definitely have a neonatal exam done on your donkey foal. While newborn donkeys can have ears that are slightly 'floppy', there are a lot of bad things that could result in swollen legs. I am assuming that the foal nursed well, is not lame, and seems alert, but even with this a good principle to follow is: "a foal will always look its best right after birth". So if there are abnormaliities this is one place where waiting to see what develops is not a good idea.
I have a female donkey thats given birth at least 4 times now but none of the babies survived. It wasnt until after losing the 3rd foal that I realized she just isnt making milk. We got all the supplements to foster her last one (colostrum & milk replacer) & the baby didn't survive either. We haven't been able to find someone to cut our male donkey so she is pregnant again. I'm wondering if there is something we can give/feed her to make her produce milk herself or help encourage her to make her own.
I am sorry to hear about your troubles with the donkey foals. Some of the comments I am going to make may involve mention of things that might be disturbing, but to solve the problem everything needs to be objectively considered. Agalactia (lack of milk production) can be related to a number of things. The ones that are treatable include fescue toxicosis, which is very common in the east and southeast. Some mares and jennets with extreme anxiety post foaling will also benefit from acepromazine, a tranquilizer. However, if you are not feeding fescue hay or have fescue pasture, and the jennet is not rejecting or acting aggressive towards the foal, it could also be that she has some metabolic or hormonal deficiency that is interfering with milk production. There are a host of other causes of neonatal deaths in donkeys that would require veterinary investigation, and autopsy of the dead foal. I am assuming the jennet is otherwise healthy, but investigating her liver, thyroid, and adrenal function would be an avenue that should be considered. Castrating the jack would be a good plan, partially because there are thousands of unwanted donkeys in the world. They live as long as 40 years, so creating another individual is a very long term commitment to its welfare. Donkey castrations are not difficult and we are happy to talk a veterinarian through the anesthesia and surgical aspects of gelding a jack.
Why won't my 4 week old bottle feed donkey poop? And also what can I do to get it to poop?
The first question is: how long has it been since your donkey has not passed feces? You can administer an enema (use a Fleet Enema and be sure to lubricate the tube well). Also, is the donkey showing signs of abdominal pain (colic) such as lifting its tail. straining, or rolling? If it really as not pooped in a day or two, you should have a veterinarian examine the little guy. Constipation is common in foals, but usually occurs soon after birth rather than 4 weeks.
I have a donkey that foaled yesterday the baby did not make it but now the jenny cant seem to stand we helped her up but her back legs keep just spreading apart and she goes right back down.we used a lift and tied her back legs together so they couldnt spread and she will stand for a short period then go right back down
This jenny has obturator paralysis. The obturator nerve runs on the pelvis on the bottom of the birth canal and can be injured during foaling. The paralysis may or may not resolve, and it is hard to predict. Concentrate on keeping the Jenny well bedded, dry, and take her temperature to make sure she does not get a uterine infection. Moving her from side to side and massaging her leg muscle will help. You can lift her to allow her to stand for short periods . Hobble her hind legs together to keep them from "spread eagling", but loose enough that she can get them squarely underneath her. You may have to do this for several days. To make a lifting sling out of soft loops try to use the image that I am sending to get you to a UTube video on the subject. If that doesn't work try www.LoopsRescue.com for more information on lifting.
My donkey had her baby today. Momma will not let baby nurse and bites at the baby. I can’t get the baby to bottle feed please help
Maiden mares or jennets sometimes have trouble accepting their foals, especially if there is any noise, dogs, or other distractions around. (I am using the name "mare" here for either horse or donkey females). Make sure that none of these are a problem. It is essential that the foal gets colostrum milk (which contains antibodies that are important for the foal's survival) in the first few hours of life. I want to seen them nurse in the first hour. Be patient and quiet and try to get the foal to lick some milk off your finger and then replace it with the nipple of a baby bottle containing colostrum. If you cannot milk the mare, you will have to find colostrum somewhere. You can use horse or even cow or goat colostrum (which may be available at a local horse breeding farm or dairy). If things really are not going well it many be necessary to have a veterinarian out to pass a tube into the foal's stomach to give it colostrum. This will buy you some time to get the foal nursing. Further, the veterinarian may need to sedate the mare with Acepromazine which will decrease her anxiety (which is what is probably causing her unwillingness to nurse the foal). Acepromazine also helps with milk letdown , making the mare easier to milk. If her udder is really distended the discomfort of the foal nuzzling the udder may also be causing the problem. Some warm towels on the udder along with hand milking to relieve pressure can help. Your veterinarian can show you how to make a simple hand milking tool out of a 60 ml plastic syringe. These are often better accepted by mares than hand milking, especially if the 'milker' is inexperienced. Summary: Try to provide a quiet environment. If that doesn't work, look at sedation and/or milking. AND it is critical to get colostrum milk into the foal. After about 12 hours they start to lose the ability to absorb antibodies and after 24 hours that post-natal ability is gone all together. Of course by several hours the foal is also becoming energy deficient and hypoglycemic. So don't wait to long to get professional help.
Hi hope all is well. I volunteer at a local animal rescue. We have 5 female donkey that were rescued and one of them had a baby about 4 weeks ago and she has some type of skin issue. She has bumps all over the body as you can see on it's snout and the ears are floppy and losing it's hair. I can email you some photos for you to look at. We had our local vet stop by to check her out and he has no idea what it could be, he said other than that she is a healthy baby. Have you ever come across anything like these or do you know anyone that I can contact. I appreciate your help with helping us find what wrong with her. Thank you for your time.
we have an excellent dermatologist here that likes donkeys and has a background in their skin diseases. It is very possible that this is an autoimmune condition called "Pemphigus" and, if so, will be a real problem for this foal. I can tell you now that the dermatologist will probably recommend a biopsy, which is an easy and safe procedure that your veterinarian can do anytime.
Is there a birth control i can give my Jenny? She had a baby last November and is pregnant again..probably due about Nov to Dec. She is a minature and her "spouse" is a mini horse. I've asked Vet about castrating horse. He won't do it because the horse is about 7. I am keeping the mule off springs but I only have 10 acres, alot of which is timbet. I really dont like to see Jenny misearable all the time. Thank you very much!!
So there are methods for birth control in female equids, including jennies. They range from permanent surgical sterilization (which requires a veterinarian who is skilled and experienced in the technique to be used) to hormonal manipulation of the jennet's estrus cycle, similar to what is done in humans. This can be either by daily medication or by implant. I should point out that all will require veterinary supervision and all options have potential complications. A much simpler and effective approach would be to castrate the miniature stallion. This both because male sterilization is a much easier surgery than any of the female techniques AND because it will make the stallion's life better, giving him better options for use, housing, and finding a home if that becomes necessary in the at least two more decades of his life (and it could be 3). Further, as a gelding, he will not be able to impregnate another mare or jennet, in a world where there are WAY too many unwanted equines, including minis. I am assuming that this 7 year old stallion is healthy. If that is the case there is no reason not to castrate him. By the way, I am a veterinarian with 43 years of experience, hold specialty boards in Equine Surgery, and have taught at 4 different veterinary schools. I recognize that your veterinarian may have a different opinion on castrating this mini, but I think that it would be reasonable to look for a second opinion from another veterinarian, perhaps with more surgery and anesthesia experience. It is true that a stallion, gelded at 7 years of age after breeding females, will retain some degree of male sexual behavior, because it has become "learned" and is no longer under hormonal control. HOWEVER, he will be sterile (the main problem here) and his undesirable "maleness" will be less. We castrate even full sized horses older than this all the time without significant complications.
Also, the correct term for a foal from a jenny and a stallion/pony stallion would be a Hinny.
There are a few blood chemistry differences and we find their baseline body temperature to be closer to donkeys. I would encourage handling the hinny foal as well so it's easy to interact with for future vet or farrier appointments.
Also, possibly separating the jenny and pony stallion could prevent future pregnancies.
I have a Mini Donkey that Foaled on Monday the 14th. The Foal is either Premature or Dysmature. Born very small, pliable ears, silky coat. He seems to be making it so far , no obvious problems except for size and lack of body fat. Nurses great, follows Mom etc...
Outside of normal illness. When do you think we are "out of the woods" on his prognosis for making it?
Although this sounds promising it might be a good idea to have a blood test for passive transfer of immunity. It is possible for premature foals to lack maternal immunity even if they appear to nurse well. This is because they may use up their mother's protein antibodies for energy or they may not absorb them properly. The trouble is that when foals lack adequate maternal immunity the septicemia and bone infections that develop can hit very suddenly and be nearly impossible to treat. Another concern would be the degree of calcification, especially in the tarsal (hock) bones. This is common in "premee's" and can result in joint collapse if the foal exercises too much. This can be examined with ultrasound or x-rays, but, at a minimum, I would avoid turning the foal and dam out for a lot of exercise until the foal is a couple of weeks old. ANY sign of lameness or lethargy in this foal is an emergency and requires veterinary examination right away.
We have a Jinny that's almost 6 months, we are getting dad castrated in the 31st will he try to mate with her? I read that she doesn't go into season until she is a year old? Any help would be appreciated
Jennets start cycling around a year of age, though some may start a few months sooner. Remember that even after castration male donkeys will try to mount a jennet in heat occasionally. That is normal. You should be safe, but would get the jack castrated soon.