When a donkey shows signs of acting differently than their "normal" behaviour, I want to keep a close eye on him or her. There could be any number of things going on, but I never attribute it to just "a bad day."
Ringo seemed both quiet and a bit out of sorts. Thank goodness his appetite was normal but I have been noticing that he is a bit overweight and his neck is getting firm and somewhat cresty ... not good!
A few days ago, he began to limp and I found a stone in one front hoof, which I removed. That should have resolved the problem but it didn't - he continued to limp the next day and I wasn't even sure which front hoof was bothering him.
Worried about possible laminitis, I called the vet out and she came promptly. She found a pressure crack in one hoof and an abscess in the other. She pared away down to strong hoof wall (luckily Ringo's feet are healthy) and I was relieved. But the next day, Ringo was still hobbling a bit and this time it was clearly isolated to his right front hoof.
Lucky for us, the vet just happened to be back on the island yesterday to see a few horses and she came to check Ringo again. This time, she found evidence of white line separation in two spots and that led to another abscessed area of trapped dirt/ bacteria that new sole had grown over top of.
This is so distressing, as the farrier is here every 6 weeks and I provide all the donkeys with regular hoof care. Clearly, both the farrier and I missed these issues which turned into big problems. I'm so glad I didn't hesitate to call the vet as things would certainly have gotten worse. Lameness in both front feet plus a cresty neck is a recipe for laminitis.
All the donkeys are off of any grass for now (they are very miffed!) I will try to mow and rake up what remains of the meadow grass just to be safe!