Nutmeg and Cinnamon were relinquished into our care in August 2009. Being mother and daughter, they are very close and are pictured together.
Nutmeg has had continuous problems with "seedy toe" where part of the white line area of the hoof becomes weak and crumbly following an earlier instance of laminitis in her front hooves.
Often little stones and dirt get stuck in the space under the horny part of the hoof. Eventually it can extend quite far up the hoof, towards the coronary band. Seedy toe is rarely painful, but may lead to an abscess forming and may cause the donkey to become very lame. It is treated by cutting out the affected part of the hoof wall and allowing new healthy horn to grow down. The donkey must also be kept on clean, dry ground.
Laminitis is a common yet sadly often unrecognised problem of donkeys kept in countries like the UK. Repeated and untreated bouts lead to serious structural damage to the hoof. It is a disease in which the important bonding between the bone in the hoof and the insensitive hoof capsule is damaged along with inflammation of associated sensitive tissue.
Laminitis is caused by many factors. The most common is wrong diet, such as too much grain or too much rich grass. Donkeys thrive on a diet with a lot of roughage and can easily become overweight and laminitic if not fed appropriately. The "laminae" are layers in the attachment of the hoof wall structure to the foot. These layers can become inflamed and very painful, resulting in lameness. For treatment, urgent veterinary advice is required.
Did you know?
There are a number of differences between horse and donkey feet:
- Donkeys' feet are more upright than horses' feet.
- The donkey foot is boxier than the horse foot (the horse's foot is more conical).
- The sole is more U-shaped (the sole of a horse's foot is more round).
Care and advice
We have published a number of books and fact sheets aimed at owners of donkeys or those considering getting a donkey.