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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Monday, August 25, 2014

Donkey Radar

The first morning of the annual studio tour, everything was ready to welcome art loving visitors.  My studio was cleaned, art work beautifully displayed, signs up, even the outhouse shone!  That's when I noticed that Dorica wasn't herself.  I can tell in a nano-second!

She ate her breakfast but soon lay down and just seemed ... low.  And then she was off her hay, no doubt about it ...OMG!

My first diagnostic check is to put my ear to her hind gut, both sides.  I didn't hear much in the way of gurgling and that's not good.  I checked her teeth in case something in her mouth was causing pain ... nope, nothing obvious.

There are several different kinds of colic, "colic" being the name I call whatever condition puts a donkey off her feed.  Spasmotic colic should pass, walking can help, as can a touch of Banamine if necessary.  Eating some wettish grass (not too much) or a mash can help also.

Sand colic can happen if the donkey ingests too much sand if the pastures are very overgrazed, like mine are.  The sand accumulates in the gut and doesn't pass through the digestive system.  A prolonged does of psyillium in a mash given every other day can help flush the sand out, but I wouldn't embark on this without checking with a vet.  Sand can sometimes be heard in the gut if you use a stethoscope.  The vet may also want to do a nasal-gastric tube to flush out as much sand as possible and that means sedation ... all to be avoided unless absolutely  necessary, in my opinion!

But if it is an impaction, that's serious and not something I can deal with, without the help of a vet.  Pray that it's not the latter!  Exercise can make an impaction worse too, so walking is no help.

I proceeded with Dorrie as if it was a spasmotic colic and I guess it was, as she recovered, thank goodness!  I gave her 0.5 cc of paste Banamine and then a warm water enema, hoping to add some fluid to the "other end."

I brought her to my studio and let her eat some short grass so I could keep an eye on her but Dorrie will NOT pass manure when she's got a halter and lead rope on, so I had to return her to the paddock with the others after awhile.

Eventually, whatever it was, passed thank goodness, and she was back on hay and her own sweet self.  Crisis averted!   It's so important to have what I call "donkey radar" and noticed if your donkey is just not herself.  Given their stoic nature, their condition may be worse than you feared by the time you notice.  If I suspect anything at all, I watch, collect data and then think through my options for diagnosis and treatment.

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