Those of you who have been following this blog will remember that Emma's original home was far from wonderful. One of the many deficiencies of her previous home was that she had never been separated from her father. When I went back to Emma's original farm to work on the older donkeys feet, I realized that she had been bred by the jack. I discussed it at length with my vet who felt that I shouldn't be concerned, that the chance of Emma conceiving was very remote and if it did happen she would be mature enough to handle it.
I had been doing my homework on donkeys and had discovered that they are fertile at a much younger age than horses. I had decided to just play it safe and give Emma the shots that would have aborted an early fetus but, that mysterious fever struck and she was too ill. By the time she was healthy enough to handle the shots, the window of opportunity had gone by and she would have been too far along to abort safely. She is too small to do a pelvic exam on her so I had to just wait until enough time had passed for a blood test to be feasible and answer the pregnancy question once and for all. Well, that time has passed and I got the results of the test today. You guessed it by now, Emma is absolutely, positively pregnant.
Normally, this would be happy news, I would welcome another donkey and what could be better than a little baby Emma. But, I am very worried for her. She is only 17 months old herself. Her baby will be due about the same time she will be turning two years old. Whenever Emma feels insecure or stressed, she tries to nurse off of Tessa. Tess draws the line at nursing but, mothers Emma in every other way. Tessa is only 3 1/2 herself and I see her try to mother Emma and be her playmate at the same time. It is confusing for her. They are very sweet and amazing to watch together, they are like two little girls playing house. All of this is why it is almost unimaginable to think of Emma actually having a baby, she is still very much a baby herself.
I am going to talk with the vets at Cornell, make sure I have covered everything. But, I don't think there is anything that can be done other then give her the best care possible and hope that Emma and her baby will be OK. This is going to be a very high risk pregnancy. Emma is small and immature, her early growth was stunted by poor nutrition and heavy parasite loads. The chance of dystocia (an abnormal or difficult birthing) is high. If all goes well, I will gladly welcome the new arrival. If it does not go well, I am not sure I will ever forgive myself for not being more insistent about terminating early on.