The Donkey Whisperer Farm is officially six years old in 2013; time has literally flown by so much has changed and yet so much remains the same. Rio is now a full-grown Mammoth donkey as he turns seven years old in 2013. Rocket Man turns nineteen and my horse Lily is eight years young.
The most frustrating and difficult issues I have had with our Mammoth donkey is hoof abscesses. It appears that Mammoth donkeys should live in the desert with no rain poor boy was born in Western Washington with too much rain. Each of them get their feet picked out daily and their paddock has very little mud and yet the Mammoth donkey suffers from abscess, networking via the internet I have learned this is sadly the health issues associated with Mammoth donkeys.
Before I brought all three equine home I researched, networked and read every book I could get my hand on to create the dryest paddock to prevent hoof problems as I have lived in Western Washington most of my life. I placed 3/4 clean gravel down on the hill between the two barns to avoid mud, thrush and abscesses. Rio has had horrific abscesses and we are now laying pin chips down (no cedar) to help him. I made the decision to shoe Rio’s front (absessing yearly) with Dr. Hills overseeing the process this last fall. Rio’s custom-made Mammoth Donkey shoes are helping him get more exercise on the gravel as he is running and playing again, he is much more comfortable.
I place 3/4 clean gravel in between the two barns where they walk back and forth day after day to stop the mud. Additionally I suggest laying pin chips down so they have a place to lay outside and it is soft and dry the only problem I have noted with pin chips is it needs to be replaced at least every other year or it will turn to mud.
Hoof abscesses in donkeys are not the same as the horse. Why?
Donkeys hoof anatomy is of a donkey not a horse. Donkeys are strong and will not show any pain until it is a serious medical matter. Here is another post I wrote explaining the emergency kit and the hoof abscess. The horse would be limping much faster than the donkey or mule with an abscess thus the seriousness and need for a vet immediately. Please call the vet for draining a hoof abscess do not leave this to the farrier.
What can you do for your donkey, horse or mule suffering from a hoof abscess?
Call the Vet hopefully you have a vet that has experience with donkeys. Donkeys are not horses and thus their hooves do not behave the same as a horse. Please only authorize your vet to find the abscess and drain it,never let the farrier do the vet’s job! Your vet will cut out a very small hole for drainage releasing the pain and pressure almost instantly. Never authorize the farrier to do this as this is a medical need not a farrier need.
Follow up maintenance is necessary the hole needs to be kept clean, pick the stuff out of feet every day, I suggest getting a spray bottle and using Beda dine solution with some water in a water bottle to spray the hole clean every day. We use the solo spray bottle as it gets all the gunk out and keeps it clean, Soaking a cotton ball in beda dine solution and sticking it in the hole is necessary until the hole has grown out. The hoof will not grow completely out for at least ten months to a year so keeping the hole clean from mud and gunk is a full-time job to say the least.
One of the best things we can do as an owner of donkeys, horses and mules is keep the hooves trimmed and make sure they are being trimmed correctly. Select Pete Ramey to learn how to trim a donkey, trimming needs to be done at least every 6-7 weeks. I highly recommend you the owner viewing this dvd and asking your farrier to review it. Trimming equine is not a back yard hobby and it needs to be left to professionals in my opinion as incorrect trimming will cause abscesses and sand and grit to travel into the white line. As the owner we must be picking the hoof out each and every day and making sure no thrush is growing in the hoof. Diet of the equine is imperative to optimum health so test your hay, do not give grain and treats to the donkey just clean water and low sugar hay. Orchard hay around the Pacific northwest is what we use and a slow feeder is also a good idea as long as it is covered to keep the rain out.
I am trying a new slow feeder out will follow-up with the results in my upcoming blogs.
Video of a Donkey Suffering With A Hoof Abscess
Diet, exercise, professional trimmer of hooves every 6-7 weeks, clean out hooves each and every day, clean dry padock, morton loose salt, white salt block, clean water, low sugar hay and no grazing in green grass for the easy keeper. Donkeys are always easy keepers.
GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!