After being alerted to Rolo’s inflamed eyes our Veterinary Department stepped in to help him recover. Find out more about his story here.

Rolo, the mule, is a much-loved member of the herd at Shelter 3 at our Sidmouth Visitor Centre in Devon.

Originally hailing from Ireland, Rolo is approximately 26 years old and has been a firm favourite of staff and visitors alike since arriving at the sanctuary nine years ago.

Unfortunately, Rolo is prone to suffering from eye issues such as conjunctivitis, a painful condition causing red and watery eyes generally caused by a bacterial or viral infection or an allergy.

Rolo’s eyes need to be monitored very closely by his dedicated grooms, and he wears a fly mask in the summer months to protect them from the bright sunlight.

Recently Rolo’s grooms noticed his upper eyelids were both inflamed, and he had lots of clear discharge from his left eye, so the grooms called our veterinary department to visit Rolo right away.

Veterinary Surgeon Polly Vogel explains: “Rolo has previously suffered from eye issues and in the past has needed antibiotic and antiviral eye medications, as well as his tear ducts flushing when they became blocked.

“We use a dye called Fluorescein and a blue light to examine Rolo’s eyes carefully, and unfortunately, the dye highlighted a corneal ulcer, showing us where the outer surface of the eye was damaged.”

The veterinary team took a swab from Rolo’s eye to confirm the cause of the ulcer, and he began a course of painkillers, and antibiotic eye drops right away.

Thankfully after just five days of the eye drops, Rolo was re-examined by Intern Veterinary Surgeon Jamie Forrest, who confirmed the ulcer had fully healed.

Jamie says: “Rolo has made a great recovery; his eye has healed, which is brilliant news. Corneal ulcers can be very tricky to heal and can lead to blindness or losing the eye if they do not heal, and Rolo has been an excellent patient.”

You can see Rolo and his friends at Shelter 3 at our Sidmouth Visitor Centre. Rolo is easy to spot within the group as his ears are much shorter than his donkey friends.

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