View Full Version : conflicting info on lame donkey

15th August 2010, 07:49 PM
Hi - Hope those of you who have donkeys can help me wade through the conflicting info I have regarding our lame donkey. I have spent days reading books and the net ( farrier and sanctuary and vet sites ) and so far -

Seedy toe is not painful - Seedy toe is painful
Seedy toe is bacterial Seedy toe is fungal
Abscess comes from seedy toe - comes from laminitis
Cut the hoof wall right back --- Don't cut right back, just angle
Pack and bandage - Don't bandage
Soak with epsom salts Don't soak with anything
Remove off grass Just stop all fruits and cereals
Give bute - Don't, it stops the abscess ripening
Treat the same as horse Don't , their hooves take much longer to grow

And on and on it goes.[:(!] We just had to have the old donkey PTS because of this ( and other things he just couldn't seem to cope with anymore ). This one is younger, about 30 - 35 but we are not winning. Farrier coming regularly. Vet for the old one said definitely not laminitis, seedy toe. But why is he limping so much and definitely in pain.????

Any clarity or previous experience would be much appreciated.

15th August 2010, 10:14 PM
Seedy toe happens when little bits of foreign matter work their way in between the sensitive structures and the white line. Then you can get abscesses because the body starts fighting the foreign body.
Fixing it is straightforward, but takes time and effort DAILY at first.

Trim hoof normally.
You'll find the tracks of the seedy toe around the white line.
If you have a hoof knife, open this hole up a little bit. DO NOT CUT AWAY THE HOOF WALL (you need it for the rest of the treatment) If you don't have a hoof knife, go and buy one!
Use a horse shoeing nail (either ask a horse person, farrier or buy a packet from your nearest rural store) to clean out the hole.
You'll pull out a whole lot of grey, greasy, cheesy looking stuff. Keep scraping around in the hole until you are sure that you've got it all. I have had horse nails go nearly all the way in during this part.
You may hit a pocket of pus. Donkey will jerk his foot away (cos that hurt!!!) but don't worry, because releasing the pus will release pressure and reduce the pain.
Use a syringe and syringe in either iodine or copper sulphate soln.
Clean some more.
Soak some cotton wool in the iodine or copper sulphate or stockholm tar and pack it into the hole, pushing it well in with the horse shoe nail. This is why you shouldn't cut away the hoof wall - it holds the cotton wool in. The iodine / cooper sulphate / stockholm tar all kill the bugs that cause the infections. The cotton wool stops any more foriegn bodies getting into the hole.
Repeat cleaning and packing regime daily for really bad cases - for the first 10 - 14 days. In the end you should only need to do it once / week or so.
I have also used fotrot spray that I bought for the goats on holes in hooves - it is very good at getting into little tiny holes and when the hole is in the frog.
If I have an animal with multiple holes I try to get them to stand in a iodine or copper sulphate soln in a bucket of water for a while after I've cleaned out the holes and before I pack them. Wetting and softening the hoof will allow some expansion and so relieve the pain - but be warned, wet hooves are also more likely to develop abscesses.

Hope this is all useful for you. It is possible to get on top of seedy toe, but you have to be vigilant and keep at it.
Oh, and older equids are more likely to develop seedy toe because as they age the connective tissue weakens and breaks down and holes develop at the weak spots. - That's a very non-technical description[:D], but it conveys what happens.

16th August 2010, 06:54 AM
have you checked out the Donkey and Mule Soc Of NZ site?

There will be a local rep you can contact. Out local rep down here is very helpfull and will come out and help you. If the rep up there is not able to then they may well be able to recomend someone that can.

16th August 2010, 02:02 PM
We have 17 donkeys, and have had donkeys for 20 years and The Manager's parents for 20 years before that. In my limited experience, Seedy Toe is common and chronic in some donkeys, and others never get it. It is VERY painful, but usually donkeys hide their pain extremely well. That yours is limping suggests that there may be another problem.
I treat ST thus.
Buy a container of Bomac Dura-Hoof from Wrightsons. Feed a level teaspoon of this daily in with his meal or on a damp sandwich. We have tried using the ingriedient unmixed with Bomacs flavour compound, but they don't like it.
When the lameness and hoof condition has improved, reduce to 1 teaspoon per week.
Check that he does not also have Thrush in the frog. Thrush smells like poo. If so, open the frog a bit and spray in PVP Iodine or Aerotet Forte.
Cut the hoof back as far as you can without drawing blood, especially the front where ST usually is. Pack with cotton wool soaked in iodine or Aerotet Forte. I don't use zinc or copper sulphate now because it hurts, and stockholm tar tends to exclude the air. The bugs don't like air.
Hollow out the sole of the hoof, so that the weight is carried on the hoof edges and not the sole. Gradually pare down with a hoof knife, and stop when the sole only just starts to get soft when you push hard on it with your thumb. Expect problems if you cut right through the sole.
Taking a bit more off the toe means that there is less pressure pulling the hoof away from the white line, so trim the toe more that with a horse.

16th August 2010, 02:28 PM
Thankyou for the information - is the feed an issue? He just has paddock grass, unlimited hay and fed some chaff mixed with a small amout of speedi-beet twice a day to hide the extras ( calcium, gelatin, cider vinegar, and now copper ) in. We were told to stop giving him a bit of apple or carrot because of the sugars??? Also stop taking him for a walk around the house where the grass is longer ???

He isn't hopping limping if you know what I mean, he is reluctant to move much and shifts weight on and off the front legs, sort of holds it just off the ground.

16th August 2010, 03:17 PM
Is he leaning his weight back? Trying to stand on the heels of his front feet? If so, sounds like laminitis / founder.

18th August 2010, 12:58 AM
It certainly sounds to me like he's foundered & his diet would make him a prime candidate. Vet treatment a.s.a.p.

If your farrier hasn't been able to help you get on top of the seedy toe with you participating in daily treatment, I would ask around for other, reputable farriers. Please do NOT go digging around with a hoof knife unless you've had considerable training in how to use it! [:0]

You need to get him off grass immediately! Soak ordinary meadow hay in water for an hour to remove sugars & stop his hardfeed as speedibeet is completely inappropriate for a lamintic donkey. Just keep him on ad-lib soaked hay until the vet can get there & assess him. I would also hose his feet or stand him in a puddle for as long as possible too try & get the inflammation down. He will be too sore to walk in the acute stage & this is also when rotation of the pedal bone is most likely to occur so keep him warm (seeing as he's not moving around to do that job himself) & keep him still.

He'll need to go onto a no protein, low GI diet from now on & should also have a good toxin binder included but the vet should advise on that.

Good luck! I hope he recovers! :(

18th August 2010, 06:34 AM
I also would not feed copper sulphate, if that is what you are feeding. This will destroy the flora in the gut, the good and the bad and can cause lots of digestive problems.

18th August 2010, 11:50 AM
I also would not feed copper sulphate, if that is what you are feeding. This will destroy the flora in the gut, the good and the bad and can cause lots of digestive problems.

Ditto! And re: my comment about speedibeet being inappropriate, I was actually thinking of speed feed at 1am this morning. Duh! [B)][:I] Chaff & beet (MUST be an unmolassed one though) & a toxin binder plus hay are probably all he should be on right now.

Something is definitely not right somewhere...seedy toe, when managed in conjunction with a vet & farrier, is VERY easily treated! I would be getting 2nd opinions in both fields of expertise, personally! From what you've described, it sounds like classic laminitis/founder symptoms & would be immediately identified by most vets who are competent with horses.

Please come back & let us know how you get on. [:)]

18th August 2010, 01:33 PM
Seedy Toe in some donkeys is hugely difficult to deal with. I have some that were chronic and acute on their original place that are still chronic but nowhere near as acute. I have others that are improving and will continue to improve. I have others that are ok now, but when the ground gets soft and damp will have trouble.
Laminitis leading to Founder is hugely more painful to the donkey than what you are describing, so even though his diet is a bit high in simple sugars I would doubt that it is that.
Try phoning Marion or Peter van Dijk, Runciman Rd, 09 238 9350, or
Anke van Dijk, Pukekawa, 09 233 4486, or
Jenny Clausen, Taupiri 07 824 3735
to ask about a vet and farrier in your area that knows something about donkeys hooves. Note that not many do.

18th August 2010, 01:43 PM
Hi - It is Equi-copper I am giving him from the horse shop, they said if low can predispose to seedy toe and other bugs. The speedi-beet says approved from the Laminitis Society??
He is not leaning back ( except when tied up and trying to get away!!!)
The vet ( supposedly the horse one from the practice ) said the other one definitely didn't have laminitis??

The bizarre thing about this is that the farrier had said, finally their feet are really good and we will push out the appointments to six weeks instead of four. Well on the third week they both started limping and two weeks later we had to have the oldest one PTS:(

I don't know if you remember when we got these rescue donkeys two years ago and the major behavioural problems we had with one - we had him gelded ( at 25 - 30 years ) because he was so aggro - hence his name Paddy.

It took the farrier eight months of coming regularly and just touching him before she could get to work on his feet. He still is especially antzy about his back legs ( we still can't touch him from the waist down ) He must have been quite badly tied up and abused.

It is a battle for me to even do his front feet - rears and swings around etc.
So another farrier is really out the question, could get another vets opinion tho,

Funnily enough tho, he actually is standing with his front foot in a bucket of warm water with epsom salts and iodine - never thought he would do that so must feel good.

Sorry to go on so long , this is doing my head in and if it would just bl...dy stop raining!!!!!

18th August 2010, 01:54 PM
Because a donkey has had sore feet at some time, and someone has attempted to fix them, the donkey thinks that the pain is caused by the person handling the feet. It takes lots of effort to overcome this fear, and also some reactions the way the donkey knows and expects. I don't bite our donkeys even though they bite each other, but if one kicks me while I'm doing it's feet, then it gets kicked back so that it knows that I am boss. In our herd of 15 (at the moment), the boss donkey ensures that the herd knows that she is boss by giving them the occassional boot.
I guess that you cannot feel how hard the sole is? If it is very hard then that is likely what the problem is, and your treatment is correct for that.

18th August 2010, 02:21 PM
I still beg to differ LR. If the donkey/horse receives intensive treatment including diet change, keeping the feet scrupulously clean, medication & proper trimming by a qualified professional, it's really NOT that difficult to cure. It does require a huge amount of effort for a little while though.

trixie, is it a farrier you're using or a barefoot trimmer?

Only reason I ask is that there is a very common pattern of seedy toe & abscesses amongst the clients of someone near your area. It may not have anything to do with the way they trim, they may not be cleaning their tools between horses (I know they didnt when they did mine) which could be spreading infection. If that's the case, they may not even be aware of it.

Are you dealing with Kumeu Vets? There are specialist equine vets that come into your area regularly - Phil Robinson, John Ewen, etc. Kumeu aren't flash when it comes to horses.

I understand the difficulties you have with introducing new people but it sounds to me like it's potentially a life or death situation & is obviously pretty stressful.

At this stage, I'd be doing what you're doing & soaking in epsom salts in the hope that it's an abscess. I really do hope you can get it resolved.

Have you tried using human anti-fungal creams from the chemist for the seedy toe? My farrier recommends this for really chronic cases that keep recurring.

18th August 2010, 05:08 PM
If you have difficulty with picking up your donkeys feet, make sure you secure his head, elevated and higher than you would normally tie him (With quick release). That often works to make them stop striking or kicking as they are off balance.

18th August 2010, 06:31 PM
I to have a donkey that was terrified of having his hoofs handled. Before I got him, he was trimmed once a year, the "farrier" a quite well known bloke in this area, came out to him, tossed him on his back and cut his hoofs back till they bleed, and then let him go!

It took a while, but I never tied him up with anything (he does tie OK) when I was doing his hoofs and now I can do fronts and backs quite happily, not tied up though!

I still have found the best thing for seedy toe, is good dry diet (ie low on grass) as dry ground and you can, and MOVEMENT. I run mine on a track and the last bits of seedy toe have cleared up since then

19th August 2010, 12:23 PM
If you have difficulty with picking up your donkeys feet, make sure you secure his head, elevated and higher than you would normally tie him (With quick release). That often works to make them stop striking or kicking as they are off balance.

If it's off balance, isn't it a bit unfair to expect it to stand on 3 x legs? :(

Mind you, it's this sort of thing that keeps me in business... :rolleyes:

19th August 2010, 02:24 PM
Hi - I think he is abit better. More keen to graze and move around. Still a long way to go. I thought we were making progress with the regular handling of hooves then yesterday he was really difficult and in the end, kicked at my head with his back leg coming forward!!! Didn't realise they could kick that angle and was really lucky to leap out of the way as I was bent over doing his front foot.
That was that for the day[:(!]

have sent email to donkey society but there is no one out west.

Yes have been using Kumeu Vets and Chelsea who I think is a barefoot farrier - must ask her, she was recommended as being particularly patient and gentle.

I will try and feel how hard the sole is today when I do him shortly.

Thanks All

19th August 2010, 03:59 PM
Gosh, Glopony, that's a fair few accusations thrown around. There are at least 10 farriers and probably almost as many barefoot trimmers - both natural and Strasser - working in the West Auckland area, some of them are great, some less so. It is certainly easy to change if there is a problem, if there was someone who consistently caused abscesses, you'd think they'd be out of work soon enough?

And as far as Kumeu vets are concerned: they have three specialist equine vets there and a great horse reputation. Clearly you've had an experience where things didn't go so well, that happens everywhere, but among my horsey circles most people rate them highly. Once you start using horse vets from South Auckland, who do you expect to do your inevitable after hour / weekend work then?

19th August 2010, 04:23 PM
Hi - Well he is better enough to be totally unmanageable today, I have just spent half and hour and not even succeeded in getting a hoof off the ground. He kicked and threw his head and body around and obviously his bl...dy hooves aren't too sore to stomp!!! Never had such a bad reaction from him. Tried walking away for 5 minutes and ignoring him, tried growling, tried patting and talking soothingly - just flung his head at me anytime I went near his shoulder.

Will try kava calm tomorrow and start at lunchtime and leave him tied up and go away for 20mins at a time to THINK about it as suggested in the Donkey society book.

Any other bright suggestions?? Bearing in mind that my mother is the one trying to hang on to his halter ( that is also tied to a post. )

19th August 2010, 08:29 PM
Handling any animals at the start or end of the day can be difficult, and even more-so if the wind is blowing, or in a thunderstorm.
I can do most donkeys feet (1 so far that I couldn't do the back feet of, but he is 14 hands) by myself but things go much better if there is someone the donkey respects talking to its head. A flighty person holding the reins are worse than no-one. Also, no treats until afterwards.
Most of our donkeys respond to a good brushing/curry comb before doing the feet, which seems to calm them.
I had one donkey that I left to calm down while I had a coffee to calm down. When we returned she had broken the strainer post and ripped all the halter holes out, so ensure you have a strong post and a good halter .... or perhaps an old halter .....

19th August 2010, 08:46 PM
An old horsemans remedy for seedy toe is to pour a little ' spirits of salts' over area . Available from major hardware stores. This is an acid so needs doing carefully and whilst wearing gloves.

Have used it on 2 horses in the past that were chronic sufferers, not donkeys but big heavy types who can also be prone to this- and it worked like magic, did them once or twice and never had a problem again.