Three mares with life-threatening tumours are now safe in our care after being discovered wandering an area of land in Co. Kerry, Ireland, with two foals.

Foals Ronan and Mikey

Ronan and Mikey

Our team discovered one-year-old Boltie, three-year-old Louise and four-year-old Thelma with two colt foals, Ronan and Mikey, near to the dead body of a stallion.

When Donkey Welfare Adviser Ciara O’Kelly arrived, one foal had just been born. Ciara was extremely concerned about the donkeys, whose health would have deteriorated rapidly had we not intervened.

Ciara says: “I spoke with the owner who was keen to work with The Donkey Sanctuary. He recognised that the group had grown in numbers due to unplanned breeding and was therefore struggling to care for the donkeys.

“The vast landscape made it difficult to catch the donkeys, but it was vital that they were taken to our new arrivals unit right away.”

Our New Arrivals Supervisor Dawn O’Connor quickly identified that all of the donkeys’ hooves were in poor condition, but this was not the only health concern for the nervous mares.

Dawn says: “The mares all arrived with sarcoids, some of which were ulcerated and bleeding.”

Sarcoids are a type of skin tumour and are a serious health issue. The tumours often appear suddenly and, depending on the type, can grow quickly. However, they are strictly limited to the skin and the tissue directly under it; they do not spread from the skin to internal organs.

Boltie and Louise had the sarcoids removed quickly by our veterinary team to reduce the risk of spreading. As Thelma is still nursing and the sarcoid is next to her udder, it will be removed once her foal is weaned.

Our veterinary and new arrival teams continue to provide expert care, and the donkeys have settled in well. Ronan and Mikey are now around four months old, and are growing stronger every day.