Amaryllis has laminitis and I’ve been struggling with her condition off and on for several years. I should have known better than to get a donkey as a guardian animal for sheep that graze irrigated pasture but I did not realize the risk. Donkeys can thrive in desert conditions and can easily put on weight under any other situation. That, along with a multitude of other related factors, puts them at risk for laminitis.
She had a flare-up in October. I think it was a result of breeding season. I had the sheep separated into several different breeding groups and Amaryllis was getting little bits of alfalfa from under the fence that she shared with one of the groups. Maybe that had nothing to do with it but I thought that it might have been the trigger.
My regular vet was out of town and I called U.C. Davis. The equine vets came out and evaluated her. This radiograph shows that there is slight rotation of the bone, which should be parallel to the hoof wall, but the coffin bone has not dropped down to the sole, which can happen in severe cases. Temporary pain relief was provided by some cushy pads that were measured and then cut to fit.
A paste of betadyne and sugar was applied to help the foot dry out…
…and then the pads were taped in place. This was just to help cushion her feet until the farrier could get here for the next trim. She was also prescribed a variety of medications to help with pain and weight loss, some of which I had used before.
This was a month ago. In the meantime I attended the Donkey Welfare Symposium at UC Davis. It was an excellent program but I came home more depressed about the whole situation. At home I was struggling with how little improvement I saw, even with all the medications.
The vet offered another idea–SoftRide boots. Those came today. They are an outer boot with a gel orthotics.
The instructions said to wrap the foot with plastic wrap when you first try the orthotics so that you can send them back if they don’t fit. That is easier said than done. I got the plastic on the foot OK but by the time I had her standing on the orthotics they weren’t in exactly pristine condition anymore. I decided that I’d just have to go for it and put the boots on.
What an amazing difference they made. This is the first time I’ve seen Amaryllis walk without obvious pain in weeks if not months. I don’t know if this is a permanent fix, but at least she is more comfortable now and will maybe be able to get a little exercise–even if that is just me leading her around the corral every day.