Do you know the feeling in the pit of your stomach when you just kind of "sense" that something may be wrong with one of your donkeys? It's a funny gnawing feeling for me.
Well two days ago, I noticed that Dorica had one eye closed and tearing - probably she got poked by a twig from a salal branch or something in the woods. No big deal - I applied some saline solution and the next morning it was improved. Not entirely though and by evening, I decided to apply more saline - carefully, as you don't want to force anything into the eye that may be trying to come out.
Anyway, it wasn't that that was worrying me - I also noticed that she seemed a bit out of sorts - grumpy with the other donkeys and a bit sad. Perhaps her eye was sore. But even MORE worrisome is that she isn't drinking very much - typical of her but I couldn't manage to catch her pooping either! Now Dorrie is very private about these matters - you've got to know your donks, they're all so very different in their habits.
Dorica had a dangerous impaction colic last winter so I watch her like a hawk. I make sure water buckets are clean and plentiful. I checked her gums ... hmmm ... a bit on the dry side? Donkeys are so stoic - all kinds of things could be happening before you realize, so I've developed a kind of radar that seems to have its own internal warning system! But can I trust it, or am I just a worrier?
I decided to take precautions and do a few things that can't hurt, even if I'm imaging a problem. I gave her a warm water enema and a warm bran mash. My vet loves bran mashes - I'm not so sure! I've read stuff that suggests that it doesn't really work as a laxative after all, but maybe just the superstition that it will, helps!
So I soaked up 1/2 cup wheat bran in warm water and added 1 or 2 tablespoons of plain applesauce. At least it gets a little more liquid into her, plus her daily beet pulp/ soy mash at 4:30 should help too. She's had that twice now and I think that's enough as I have seen her poop (relief!)
I also took her out for some grazing and gave her the choice of a few different kinds of plants. She particularly loves a wild mint that grows nearby but also gobbled down sword fern, Oregon grape, huckleberry and or course grass!
This morning, Dorrie seems just fine so I decided not to do anything special. That feeling in the pit of my stomach? Well, it's still lurking a bit but I think I can talk it into submission ... for now!