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Country Discussion Topics
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Need donkey help again
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Tom A    Posted 08-02-2002 at 06:57:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi all, 'nuther equine question for all you horsie people:

Our rescued donkey just started acting 'funny' although he doesn't seem to be in any real distress. Vet gave him a checkup just last Tuesday and said he looked the best she'd ever seen him look. He's put on weight (was abused, had been skin and bones a few months ago), and 'looks happy.'

This morning he was waiting for feed like always. But for the very first time, he did not finish his bucket of senior feed. Since we've had him, he has always licked the bucket clean, but this morning he suddenly stopped eating and left a good mouthful or so. He walked off out of the barn and started coughing-sneezing. We thought maybe he got some feed down the wrong pipe, except most of what is coming out looks more like snot and is coming out his nose. Every few minutes, he cough-sneezes again and more comes out. In between these episodes, he is breathing fine and doesn't appear to be too concerned. He has normal gut sounds.

He had been on 'gastroguard' at the rescue farm because the vet had suspected an ulcer, but he finished the last course of that Tuesday.

Any ideas or help? I really don't want to call the vet out unnecessarily...our normal big animal vet is on maternity and the replacement comes from across the county.


Michelle. WA    Posted 08-02-2002 at 20:49:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
You're right to call the vet, hopefully your donkey has been wormed for lung worm, they can be really tough to get rid of, you have to scrub out their water bucket twice a day or have constant running water. Lung worm can live on grass for months waiting to be eaten by animals and go through their life cycle. I have had several animals with them this year and have had to very vigilant in my worming, Lung worm can cause the same symptoms your donkey is having. Also their is a asthma like lung infection that older equines can sometimes contract and they pretty much choke and cough when they have any strenous exercise. Hope your donkey is okay. Good job in rescueing him and taking such good care of him.

Saddlebum    Posted 08-02-2002 at 07:37:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
Omigosh, Tom, he's having a choke episode. It can be very serious--call your vet. He probably choked on one of the pellets in the senior feed. Most likely he will be fine, but you don't want him to wind up with scar tissue in his throat and esophagus, which will cause more problems down the line. The vet will probably sedate him and clean him out. The snot out the nose is usually a red flag for choke--this won't go away on its own.

Tom A    Posted 08-02-2002 at 09:58:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks SB, called the vet and he'll be out later this afternoon. Appreciate the advice...I'm still new to equines and don't always know what is what, and hate to cry wolf and bother the vet for trivial stuff.


Saddlebum    Posted 08-02-2002 at 11:14:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
You're welcome--I'm the same way, and hate to call them out for every little thing, but I've had friends who've gone through choke with their equines and the vets have taken it very seriously. If you don't already have a copy, and if we haven't already mentioned it (entirely possible--I'm having lots of senior moments lately!) get hold of a copy of Ruth James' book: "How to be Your Own Veterinarian (Sometimes)" It is a lifesaver and it's written in plain ole english--she's a country vet who doesn't assume that everyone has access to a high-tech vet school hospital. It's in paperback and it's about the best $20 you'll ever spend.

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