Jonty really stands out from the herd thanks to a specialist mask that is aiding his recovery from temporary blindness.

Donkeys may not typically be thought of as trend-setters, but Jonty is modelling some ‘statement’ eyewear at our expert donkey hospital at Brookfield Farm, Sidmouth.

Although his appearance may now be a little unconventional, his new look is the result of a serious health complication that resulted in Jonty’s loss of sight.

Jonty’s problems started when he stood on a sharp thorn, which became painfully embedded into his hoof.

Following a simple procedure at the sanctuary’s specialist facility, the thorn was flushed out – but Jonty’s health took an unexpected turn for the worse.

“The stress of the injury and coming into hospital possibly triggered the recurrence of a chronic eye problem,” says Veterinary Surgeon Vicky Grove.

“Jonty suffered an immune-mediated inflammation of his whole eye. He had ulcers on his cornea, his eyes were running, and it was really painful – he lost his sight.”

In order for Jonty to have the best chance of regaining his eyesight, the veterinary team needed to take urgent action to protect their patient from this summer’s strong sunlight. Thankfully, this special Guardian Horse Mask – which gives Jonty his current bug-eyed appearance – is just what was required to block the UV rays which is both comforable and durable.

Jonty in UV mask
Jonty wearing his special Guardian Horse Mask designed to give maximum UV protection.
Full size

“The mask is just like wearing sunglasses, and Jonty has made some good progress, though the back of his eye is still damaged,” adds Vicky. “We are monitoring his eyes with an ophthalmoscope, and we have tested his eyesight with an obstacle course, which he has completed so we think he is now just partially-sighted.”

Donkeys often form strong bonds with a friend, but Jonty prefers his own company and is currently taking his time to recover alone at the charity’s Donkey Hospital. After enjoying some respite he will be transported nearby to Slade House Farm, The Donkey Sanctuary’s main visitor site. There, he will join a small group including another partially-sighted male called Will.

Jonty will be modelling his mask for much of the summer while he recovers, and the sanctuary’s expert vets will be sure to keep a close eye on his progress.

Your support can provide donkeys like Jonty with specialist care.