Meet The Donkey Sanctuary's 'Lorenzo'. In spite of the recent storm sharing his name, emergency surgery ensured that this young donkey has nothing to be 'doom-and-gloom' about.

After receiving an emergency call one evening about a donkey with a bloody face, veterinarian Vicky Grove made her way immediately to The Donkey Sanctuary's Paccombe Farm, Sidmouth.

There she found Lorenzo, surprisingly calm in spite of his dramatic appearance. The piebald donkey's head was covered in blood - but his thick fur made it difficult to find the source of the bleeding.

Since being seized by police from his previous owner, grooms have had to work hard to slowly gain Lorenzo's trust; unfortunately for Vicky, it just so happened that he was still fearful of his head being touched - the very place she needed to examine. With teamwork, patience, and the companionship of Lorenzo's best friend Tony, Vicky and the grooms were able to gently clean his face and find the source of his trouble.

Concealed under the fluffy hair on his ears, Vicky identified the wound as a bleeding sarcoid - a type of skin tumour.

Given that the sarcoid had become an open wound, Vicky knew she had to book him into our specialist donkey hospital as soon as possible. Left untreated, Lorenzo's sarcoid was at risk of getting irritated further and growing in size.

Careful treatment for head-shy Lorenzo

As Lorenzo is known to be head-shy, our vets and grooms knew that he would have to be kept as calm as possible for his sarcoid removal surgery to be successful and stress-free.

"The stable in front of the stocks was holding his friend, Tony, within sight, sound and smelling distance," says Vicky, "which was an important factor throughout Lorenzo’s treatment."

Donkeys often make long-lasting friendships with each other, and separating friends is detrimental to their health and wellbeing – especially when one of the donkeys is already unwell. For this reason, we never separate bonded companions, and our examination area and stable blocks have been designed to ensure that friends can come into hospital and stay together throughout most procedures.

With Tony at his side, vets were able to proceed with surgically removing the top of the ear on which the sarcoid had grown.

"With good sedation and a nerve block, Lorenzo allowed us to use our surgical diode laser to resect the tip of his ear, with safe margins to avoid sarcoid recurrence." says Vicky.

Lorenzo's ear two weeks post-surgery
Lorenzo's ear post-surgery
Full size

Wonky ears, happy donkeys

Thanks to the expertise of our vets and the dedicated care of our grooms, Lorenzo's ear is looking fantastic - and he certainly doesn't seem to mind his new, asymmetrical look.

Following his recovery at our veterinary hospital, Lorenzo and Tony were thrilled to return to the rest of their herd at Paccombe. And, while the storm 'Lorenzo' approaches, we know that its donkey-namesake will be able to rest warm and snug under shelter with his best friend.

If that doesn't warm the heart on a wet and windy day, what will?

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