Guest Post: Donkey Mayhem

by Mandi Shuffield

All of you who are following the woes of Fiona the mini donk already know that she has been dealing with a list of ailments (one, I really wonder about as far as accuracy in diagnosis goes) for a couple of weeks now. I’m going to recap just a bit, and explain why I’m involved at all in this.

I worked on a horse farm with many horses all at once, from the time I was 14 until I was 28. Before that, I grew up in the saddle with my Pa. When you deal with that many horses at a time, someone is always injured. Sometimes it isn’t bad, other times, it can be severe. I’ve seen simple scrapes, bone breaks, one stallion who put a T post through his chest and had to have wound care for months, colic, mares struggling with birth, abscesses on all parts of the body, mild and severe hoof problems, etc. I sure haven’t seen it all, but I have seen a lot!

Here’s my horse, Ricci, who I nursed back from a long illness.

I learned how to make first aid items from scratch in the field to save a life and stop bleeding. I’m fairly confident in what I can do. I also know when I need more help, a second opinion, or I do not have the tools/gear/equipment to handle a situation. 

How I helped Fiona

I originally felt like Fiona’s foot was trimmed too short. With the gap that developed in the way that white line disease (hoof wall separation, seedy toe) does, I felt like she may have developed that.

There is no conclusive evidence as to what exactly causes white line disease. Theories go from poor diet, wet/humid climate, soft feet, trimming the toe too short, injury/abscesses, and the list goes on. What the veterinary world has seen is that there will be horses and donkeys that develop this disease that do not fall into one category, or it seems to come out of nowhere. It develops on healthy feet in dry climates as well, although it is not as common.

Fiona’s foot

It is characterized by the gap in the hoof wall that was shown in the picture, and the gray, crumbling of the soft tissue behind the outer wall. Fiona had that, but she also had a bulge under the foot that seemed like she couldn’t stand flat on it. The cold water treatment probably helped by relieving the inflammation. Horses and donkeys typically do not become lame from white line until it becomes severe and the cannon bone begins to shift down. 

Continue reading “Guest Post: Donkey Mayhem”
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Fiona Saw the Doctor

Hey there. It’s a three-blog day for me. Here’s a quick update on our donkey friend, Fiona. The vet finally arrived around 4:30, right when Mandi had just left to do something for her own family. Sigh. But, it worked out okay.

Also, Mandi hit a traffic jam

According to Dr. Richter, whose father apparently treated Mandi’s late horse, what happened was our first theory: her hoof had been trimmed WAY too short by the farrier. It’s made her swell to where the inner part of the hoof sticks out too far.

He gave her some pain medication to give for the next five days, to see if that helps. The cure, however, is for her hooves to grow some. Mandi plans to wrap her hoof again, and we are leaving her in the more dry paddock for the next few days, since more rain is on its way.

Fiona did NOT like the sound of the rain falling on the shed, so it got hard to medicate her. Whew, it all was a success, and we are now just waiting to see if she needs more treatment or not.

I was waiting and waiting!

I’m so grateful that she got looked at and it wasn’t the fungal infection. We now want to avoid getting one until things dry up!

Worse Donkey Woes

We’d hoped Fiona was over her rough spot with her hooves, but a sad sight greeted me when I went to feed her this weekend. She would not come up to be fed, so I gave her food to her in the field.

When Mandi and I went to check further on it, she was barely able to put weight on her left front hoof, and was even hopping around on three legs. That couldn’t be good.

Fix my foot, mommies! (This is pre-grooming)

Once we got her feet all cleaned out, we could see that it almost looked like her outside hoof was shorter than the inside. That would be like walking on your nail bed. So, we figured a vet visit was called for.

Continue reading “Worse Donkey Woes”

A Message from Fiona

Hee haw hi! It’s me, Fiona the mini-donkey! I told Suna I wanted to tell you all thanks for all your good thoughts when I was having trouble walking!

Pet my fuzzy head! Now!

It was mega-annoying not to be able to trot along behind the giant horses all day long. It was even harder than usual to protect my feed bowl from the Pushy One. Luckily the Long Tail licked me and tried to make me feel better.

The humans paid so much attention to me! I love attention.

I may feel better but these rocks still hurt my back hoof.

Now my feet feel pretty good, and I can walk fine, though I’m not running a lot yet. I was worried that when I was well, no one would pay attention to me.

But hee haw! I got to be with the horses and only had to poke my head in Suna’s face twice to remind her to groom me and give me the hugs I deserve. Woo!

As long as I can be close to Suna and get hugs, I’m happy.

Thank you all for caring on whatever a blog or Facebook is!

Fiona Feeling Better

A couple of folks have asked how Fiona the mini-donkey is doing as she recovers from her two sore feet. Thank you for asking, and she brays her thanks, as well. It may be the cutest bray ever, by the way.

Oh, and I finally figured out how to upload my video of how badly she was limping last weekend.

Anyway, according to Dr. Mandi, she is on the mend. I can’t tell you how glad I am to have a neighbor who used to work on a large horse breeding ranch with so much experience in fixing up foot and leg issues. Mandi said that when she got to working on her, it just all came back to her, and something that might have taken her an hour years ago just took minutes.

I know Fiona appreciated that her doctoring didn’t take too long, though I think she views it as more “special time” with humans.

Mandi thinks the back hoof is just about healed, though she is going to put Betadyne on it one more time. As for the front foot, it’s improving, though Fiona is still limping a little. We still don’t know how she hurt it.

I’ll protect my little friend! I’m the lead mare!

Yesterday, Mandi said that Spice and Apache protected Fiona when the neighbor puppy, Jess, who is a heeler and likes to chase things, tried to mess with her. Fiona managed to kick at her (a good sign), but after that, Spice was not letting that dog anywhere near, and Apache was doing his best angry stallion imitation, with ears pinned back and eyes ablaze (even though he isn’t a stallion).

It made me happy to see how much our tiny herd is bonded. At first the horses really didn’t like Fiona, but now I see them licking her and being sweet. Ahh.

Donkey Trouble!

Last week the farrier came, and Sara told us he found an abscess on Fiona the mini-donkey’s right rear hoof. He got as much out as he could, but it was large, and he said we’d need to clean it out and put Betadyne or something like that on her to help it heal.

I’d like to point out to you that this should be about ME, because I am pretty and want ALL the attention.

Sara was able to treat her on Monday, and she said it would be okay to wait to treat her until I got back. Unfortunately, I could not get to her until Friday. At that time she was limping on her front foot as well as the back, and Sara and I cleaned out both of her hooves and medicated them. She was very good, so we were hopeful.

Sara went riding Saturday (yesterday) morning while I was at Earth Day, and said Fiona was still limping, but was easy to medicate.

I don’t feel good. It’s this hoof.

I headed over to check on Fiona and feed the chickens mid-afternoon. It was going to be a quick visit, so I could go to the grocery store, but I was surprised to find Fiona lying down, and not with the horses. That’s not typical for her. Tyler, who’d been mowing, said she’d been down for over an hour.

So, I started making phone calls. I talked to Sara, who said to try to get her up. Then I called Mandi, because she knows way more about equine issues than I do. Bless her, she came over as fast as she could.

I’m up, but I’m not happy about it.
Continue reading “Donkey Trouble!”

Ranch Gets Clean with Donkey Help

Yesterday was the final day of the great chicken coop cleanup effort. Before that, though, I had to clean my dang horse, who has started to shed his thick winter coat. Fiona the mini-donkey did not want to be left out, either.

This may not be the right brand, but this is the sort of thing we used on the horses.

It was too cold for me to ride, but I wanted to hang out with Sara and brush Apache out. Of course, Fiona had to come along. Sara had bought these new miracle tools, which look suspiciously like something you’d clean your barbecue grill off with. I tried it out on the very dirty Apache, and wow, did a LOT of long white hairs come off. He seemed to like the way the cleaning tool felt, too. Neither Spice nor Fiona were shedding like Apache was. Must be the Arabian in him.

I’m embarrassed that my tail looks so perfect, so I”m hiding it. Snort.

While I was at it, I also trimmed his tail, since it was reaching the ground again and getting all dirty. I hope he appreciated it.

May I please come in?

I kept having to go back into the tack room to get things. I heard a noise, and there was my little “helper” wanting to come on in and check out the food dishes full of beet pulp that were soaking.

Fine, then, I’ll just go over and check out this hay, since these feed bowls are obviously empty.

When I told her to move, she happily went over to help get rid of that last bale of hay that was hanging around from when the horses were in the corral. Such a little darling.

Also had hen helpers

That’s Fluffy Butt in front, with Candi in back.

Later in the afternoon, I came back to finish cleaning out the chicken coop. I was very proud of myself for emptying out all 24 nest boxes and replacing the old mulch with new pine shavings, which are what the new chickens are used to, anyway. The job was made both harder and more fun by the new hens, who were very interested in “helping” me.

The golf balls are pretend eggs, Ralph says they work, so I put one in each next box.

In fact, after I finished, I was picking up more glass off the ground, and Fluffy Butt, the new Barred Rock hen, came up repeatedly, so I fed her some chicken scratch right out of my hand. She was very delicate!

A better view of fluffy pine shavings. Ah. Comfort.

About that time, Mandi and Randy showed up to help me with the floor and parts of the coop I could not reach. A real cleaning ensued, with the feed trough cleaned out, the top of the chick raising area cleaned, and ugh, a dead chicken that got wedged behind the cage removed (one final owl casualty, I guess, though it had been a while).

Mandi also swept all the droppings and stuff off the floor, which now will be some fine mulch, once it composts a bit more. It may be an old coop, but it’s a clean one now.

This picture is from before the floor got cleaned. Imagine it all smooth and with no poop.

Once Randy discovered the pieces of glass in the pen, he started picking it up, and by the time we were ready to go, we had another large amount of glass! I sure appreciated the help.

Now I’m just hoping that the new hens and the old hens get along. They definitely hang out in separate groups. But we already have a couple of eggs from the new gals. Hooray!