Josh on the mend after poor lockdown hoof care

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Josh was not a happy donkey before being taken into care.
Josh was not a happy donkey before being taken into care. © The Donkey Sanctuary

The DIY farriery during lockdown that left a donkey in Scotland with a painful hoof crack has been remedied, after the intervention of a British charity.

Josh is now on the road to recovery, thanks to The Donkey Sanctuary. The plight of the 18-year-old donkey was brought to the attention of the international animal welfare charity in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020. His owner had taken on the task of trimming Josh’s hooves himself, rather than relying on the expertise of a professional farrier.

Josh was checked out at his home near Gretna in Dumfries and Galloway by Donkey Welfare Adviser, Sally Bamforth. She found that his hooves were in a very poor state, and he needed urgent farrier care.

“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 from severely overgrown and misshapen hooves.

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

Josh was found to have a painful hoof crack. He was also suffering from laminitis.
Josh was found to have a painful hoof crack. He was also suffering from laminitis. © The Donkey Sanctuary

Sadly, the damage to Lucky’s hooves was too extensive. The vet advised that her prognosis was poor and attempting treatment would not be in her best interests it was decided that the kindest decision would be to put her to sleep on site, to make sure she didn’t suffer further.

The donkeys’ conditions were discussed with the owner, who agreed that the best course of action was to euthanise Lucky and relinquish Josh into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary.

Josh was transported to a local holding base funded by The Donkey Sanctuary for further treatment, where the condition of his hooves greatly improved following expert farrier attention.

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. He will continue to receive the highest level of care and is guaranteed a safe home for life.

“We often see damage to feet that could easily have been prevented,” Bamforth said.

Josh is living at The Donkey Sanctuary's farm in Devon and is well on the road to recovery.
Josh is living at The Donkey Sanctuary’s farm in Devon and is well on the road to recovery. © The Donkey Sanctuary

“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.”

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