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Category: Large Animal Veterinary
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We have a female donkey who had a baby 4 months ago, the

Customer Question

Customer: We have a female donkey who had a baby 4 months ago, the baby died 3 days ago and we are not sure why. the baby had a skin problem but seemed healthy. today we found the mother laying down and would not get up, not matter what we did we could not get her up. what can we do?
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: We have one male and two female and of course the baby that just died. the female is three years old, healthy and we havent had any porblems with her, she eats fine and doesnt seemt o have any problems. a small skin problem on her back with her fur, bumpy skin under her fur in spots but otherwise she is healthy....the other two donkeys are healthy
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Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 11 months ago.

Greetings, and thank you for the question. Sincere apologies for the delay, I’ve been having some computer problems lately, and was just now able to see your post.

Firstly, I offer my condolences to you concerning the loss of your young donkey. I’m sure it must have come as a shock to you, especially if she had been acting healthy and behaving normally. And, it leaves a lot of unanswered questions! Concerning her mother: what is her condition currently? Were you able to get her up? If so, how is she doing currently?

Please let me know, and I will be happy to continue with trying to get you some answers. I’ll have some questions to ask of you when I receive your reply.

Again, my apologies for the length of time you have had to wait for a reply. I do hope the mother is doing OK at this point.

I will be away from my computer for a few hours, out working, but I’ll check for your response as soon as I return.

Sincerely,

-Dan C., DVM.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for responding to me.
No we still can not get her up. she is sitting in the dirt. drinking water. She has turned around in her sitting position but hasnt gotten up. The first day there was a little blood in her mouth, but my husband believes it was from him forcing her to a sitting position from laying down, he thinks she may have bit her tongue. since then no further bleeding.
this is very emotional since both were acting totally normal. I am not sure what to do for her please help us, she is a beautiful white donkey very loving.
Sincerely
Deloris
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 11 months ago.

Hi Deloris:
Thanks for getting back to me so promptly. I understand how hard this must be for you, as your love and attachment to your Donkey is very evident, and seeing her in this condition must be heartbreaking.
Yes, the blood from her tongue could very well be from getting her into a sitting position (which was a wise thing for you to do), but I doubt that it has anything to do with the problem to go down in the first place. The longer she stays down, the more difficult it will be for her to recover, from whatever it is that is occurring.
I will say, initially, that if she hasn’t been seen by a Vet yet, that that would be the first order of business, especially since she has been down for so long. I will help you as much as I can, however, in attempting to figure out a cause and what to do. So as promised, some questions for you:
1): Were there any difficulties with the birth?
2): Is she current on her vaccines, and if so, what has she been vaccinated against?
3): When was she last de-wormed, and which product did you use?
4): Is she eating, urinating and defecating normally?
5): Can she move her legs, and if so, does she attempt to get up?
6): If she isn’t able to move her legs, I’d like you to do something for me: go out to her, and with a semi-sharp object, such as a key, apply firm pressure with the tip of the key against her lower hind legs. Press fairly firmly, enough to cause some minor pain, and see if she feels it and responds. You can try this in several areas.
7): If possible, try to get her rectal temperature with a digital thermometer, and let me know what it is. A normal temperature for a donkey is around 100-101 F.
Thanks, ***** *****’ll be looking for your reply.

Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 11 months ago.

Also, something that can be tried, although it is a somewhat major endeavor, is to find someone that has a backhoe, and attempt to get a sling underneath her and have the backhoe try to get her into a standing position. As she hasn’t stood in several days, the backhoe may need to be used to help in keeping her standing. The sling must also be more than just a few ropes…there are slings made specifically for this type of situation, and possibly one might be found either through your fire department, or if there is a horse rescue organization nearby that you know of. It not, the best type of material to use is something to the equivalent of fire-fighting hose, or broad, strong packing straps. These would need to go behind her front legs and in front of her rear legs, and ideally attached to a strong iron bar above her that could then be attached to the backhoe. That is the least amount of support that would help her. Rescue slings are designed to give support to the entire abdominal area, so that all of the weight isn’t localized to just in front of and behind her limbs. I realize this may not be a possibility, but if it is, I wanted you to know of the option.
Again, I would stress that the best thing for her at this point is to get a Vet out ASAP. It’s most likely that she will require IV fluid therapy as well as a thorough physical assessment to see if she is capable of standing, etc. Do you have any large animal Vets in your area?
-Dan C., DVM.

Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 11 months ago.

Just to let you know I’ll be signing off for the evening. I’ll be checking for your reply first thing in the morning.

-Dan C., DVM.

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