Yet another typical British summer. Dry until the children break up for holidays and then in rains for 6 weeks. And with the schools going back next week in much of the country, out comes the sun and we all bask in its warmth and comfort hoping for at least one good bank holiday weekend this year.
The sky is bright turquoise blue, and the pastures turn a beautiful lush green. You have spent all summer being careful to control grass intake either by strip-grazing or through a track system. The fields were looking a little brown; you know you have been careful not to over feed the donkeys all summer and now with much of the field grazed down, it is such a lovely sight to see your donkeys grazing freely across the short bright green paddock. Makes your heart glad to be near donkeys.
However, when you walk across that beautiful grass to your donkeys remember, you are walking on a potentially lethal cocktail of sugar.
Remember a dull donkey is a veterinary emergency.
Easy to remember that rapidly growing spring grass can bring on laminitis, and easy to forget they are exactly the same conditions right now that can bring on this incredibly pain and life limiting condition.
Grazing still needs to be controlled and ad-lib barley straw should be available.
Continue to restrict the amount of grass your donkeys can eat either by strip grazing the new growth, or better still use a track grazing system. Don’t just shut them in or starve them as this causes donkeys to eat more when they have the chance and risks hyperlipaemia.
Act now to avoid causing your donkeys the pain and suffering that laminitis brings and the expense of the vets visits.
Donkeys are so stoic they often hide the symptoms well. Low grade laminitis can be hard to detect so watch out for small changes in behaviour, reluctance to walk, not walking over to you when they normally do. If you suspect your donkey may be uncomfortable, off colour or just not himself then further checks and a call to your vet is advisable. Remember a dull donkey is a veterinary emergency.
You can find more details about laminitis, feeding and grazing in our fact sheets and Donkey Care Handbook available in the Donkey Health and Welfare section of our website.