Three Scottish mules with grossly overgrown hooves have been given a fighting chance of survival thanks to vital treatment offered up by The Donkey Sanctuary.

In the absence of appropriate farriery care, their feet had grown so much that they painfully curled back on themselves, potentially causing lasting ligament damage.


Indie the mule with long hooves
Painfully overgrown hooves
Getting the care they need from The Donkey Sanctuary

Collaboration and care

The stallion trio were rescued by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) in the north of Scotland and it was agreed they would be taken to a holding base in Aberdeen where we could provide all the care and treatment they needed.

The Donkey Sanctuary’s donkey welfare adviser for the region, Gill Hamilton, had never seen hooves in such state of neglect, however, she knew she had a team of experts she could call upon to relieve the pain and suffering – but they’re not out of the woods yet.

Not out of the woods

Maisie, Indie and Oscar were given immediate pain relief before a holding base vet came to assess the animals; a farrier was booked right away to remove the excessive curling and twisted hooves.

Gill, who has been caring for the four-legged friends, said: “If these poor mules were left, eventually they would have been unable to walk due to the shape of their hooves. The damage to the joints and tendons would have required immediate euthanasia.

Unable to walk

“All three had been left to fend for themselves and were really not used to being handled. They needed to be sedated to allow the farrier to trim their hooves.

“Oscar and Indie are now allowing me to stroke them and we have established a daily routine for feeding and mucking out, although Maisie does present a bit more of a challenge with his behaviour.”

Given a chance

The mules will remain on pain relief to help them adjust to their newly-shaped hooves and they will be x-rayed to determine if there is any further damage.

At this time, until we can assess how the hooves grow and we can start to reduce the pain relief, the outcome is still uncertain – but thanks to your support, they have been given the best chance of recovery.