Westover Donkey Talk
Anna Harrison of the Donkey Sanctuary very kindly came all the way from Devon to hold a very informative and enjoyable talk for us at the surgery. She covered how donkeys are designed to live- basically not on grass and not alone, how to recognise when they are ill, and what the common ailments are. She also gave an overview of the work the Donkey Sanctuary carries out both here and abroad, where donkeys are still used widely as beasts of burden. A lot of their suffering is sadly due to ignorance, and can be fixed relatively simply by owner education. An example shown was of some appalling injuries on the rump of a donkey pulling a cart load of wood. His hind quarters had been used to act as a brake for the cart, solved by putting a brake on the cart itself.
The main take home message for donkey owners were;
- A DULL DONKEY IS AN EMERGENCY – THEY DO NOT ROLL AROUND AND SWEAT UP LIKE HORSES.
- A LOT OF DONKEYS SUFFER IN SILENCE WITH LAMINITIS. BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT VERY ATHLETIC BY NATURE, PEOPLE OFTEN THINK THAT IT IS NORMAL FOR THEM TO LIE DOWN FOR LONG PERIODS, OR NOT MOVE AROUND MUCH IN A DAY.
- DONKEYS ARE NATURAL BROWSERS, NOT GRAZERS, SO ENJOY ACCESS TO HEDGEROWS, AND FAILING THAT SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE ACCESS TO GOOD QUALITY FEED STRAW.
- OBESITY IS A REAL PROBLEM IN THE BRITISH DONKEY (to name but one species) POPULATION, WHICH LEADS TO A LOT OF UNNECESSARY SUFFERING.
- LIKE HORSES, DONKEYS SHOULD RECEIVE REGULAR FLU AND TETANUS VACCINES, WORM EGG COUNTS +/- WORMING, FOOT CARE AND DENTAL CARE.
If you have any queries or need any further information please contact the surgery. The Donkey Sanctuary also has a lot of owner information on its website. It will also run blood samples FREE of charge for us, so you may like to consider having ‘health check’ blood taken at vaccination time which we can send to the Donkey Sanctuary to run. This will help to pick up ailments in their early stages rather than when it is too late, as these stoical characters do not advertise that they are ill well.
We would like also to say a huge thank you to Broadland Country Sports, North Walsham Saddlery, Saracen Horse Feeds and Wroxham Saddlery who generously sponsored the raffle, which raised £99 for the Donkey Sanctuary.