Welcome to my blog - a diary about living with donkeys, notes about care, my training sessions and the absolute pleasure of donkey companionship.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Radar ... aka worry- wartitis!

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!


  1. Oh fingers crossed that Dorrie stays well! Hugs to all :-)

    1. Hi FH - just came in from a little more TLC for Dorrie - when I opened the gate for a bit of grazing in a small new area - she chose not to go with the others ... whaaaat? So I took her out again, then gave her a small mash with probiotic and some hay that I soaked in a bucket of warm water - fingers crossed here too!