Although most of our grantees are either dogs or cats, occasionally we have the opportunity to help other species such as bats, turtles, birds and in this next story, a donkey named Donald Duck. Dr. Jon Goodell, a vet from Klamath Falls, OR, was left with a severely abused and malnourished donkey in early 2017. Having previously worked with Humanity for Horses, a horse rescue and sanctuary based in Mt. Shasta, CA, Dr. Goodell contacted them to see if they wanted him. The answer, of course, was yes.
Donald’s condition was heartbreaking. His hooves were so neglected, they resembled skis and he could barely walk. He had severe laminitis and would need aggressive treatment to correct it. Laminitis is described as inflammation of the laminae of the foot which is the soft tissue attaching the pedal bone to the hoof wall. Laminitis is very painful for the animal and, in severe cases, can be fatal. In addition to this, Donald also needed extensive dental care. All of this was, of course, very costly so when Horses for Humanity reached out to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation for help, we were more than happy to award them a grant to offset the cost. In spite of the pain he was in, Donald remained very good natured and friendly toward his caregivers throughout his treatment.
The treatment of Donald’s feet was the most critical issue. His overgrown hooves needed to be trimmed and then his feet wrapped daily. His enclosure was also filled with three inches of sand to help cushion his weight, allowing him to stand more comfortably. Donald would need hoof trims every four weeks, for at least a year, in order for his feet to continue improving. Once treatment was started for his feet, it was time to address his teeth. It was determined that his teeth needed to be floated which basically means the teeth are ground down so the chewing surface is flat and free of any sharp edges. Most equines need to have their teeth floated about once per year.
With a desperately needed pedicure, new chops, a haircut and a bath, Donald was well on his way to becoming a healthy and happy donkey. His feet will still need to be closely monitored and treated, since laminitis cannot be cured, only managed. Donald’s newly evened out teeth allowed him to eat and start gaining weight. After being properly nourished and cared for, his coat started looking much healthier and he now wanders around visiting with the other animals and staff as if he has always been there. The rescue reports Donald has been a wonderful addition to the sanctuary family saying, “The minute he arrived, he was home.” Rumor has it he has been seeing another donkey and, ironically, her name is Daisy Duck. Some things were just meant to be.
Written by Shandra Locken
Edited by Bob Stone