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Feet first for Josh the donkey

By Fiona Reid
Feet first for Josh the donkey

A DONKEY found near Gretna with painful hooves is now on the road to recovery.

When The Donkey Sanctuary team was alerted to Josh in April last year, he was suffering with a large crack in his hoof.

His owner had been trimming his hooves himself, rather than relying on the expertise of a professional farrier.

Donkey welfare adviser Sally Bamforth examined the 18-year-old donkey and immediately discovered that his hooves were in a very poor state, and he needed urgent farrier care.

She said: “Josh’s feet were overgrown and misshapen, which was causing him considerable discomfort. His front left hoof had a big crack down the front. If left untreated, the hoof could have been susceptible to infection.

“X-rays revealed changes to Josh’s hooves caused by a painful foot condition called laminitis, which would have caused him significant discomfort.”

Josh’s companion, an older mare named Lucky, was also found to be suffering with severely overgrown and misshapen hooves.

Working in collaboration with the RSPCA and a veterinary surgeon, the donkeys were examined, and pain relief administered.

Sadly, the damage to Lucky’s hooves was too extensive. The vet advised that her prognosis was poor, so it was decided that the kindest decision would be to put her to sleep on site.

Meanwhile, Josh was relinquished into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary and taken to a local holding base, funded by the charity, for further treatment.

And, thanks to expert farrier attention, the condition of his hooves greatly improved, while grooms kept a close eye on him and watched out for signs of hyperlipaemia, a potentially fatal disease, which can be caused by the stress of losing a companion.

Josh has now been brought into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary in Devon and is well on the road to recovery – and guaranteed a safe home for life – see pic above.

Sally added: “We often see damage to feet that could easily have been prevented. One of the benefits of using a qualified and suitably experienced farrier is that they would pick up on any conditions and treatment needed, as well as being a great source of advice.

“We have a team of donkey welfare advisers across the country, who are on hand to provide guidance to donkey owners and to support donkeys in critical need of help.”

BEFORE . . . Josh when he was first examined

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