Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Semblance of Normality

I am still recovering from a very bad case of bronchitis and a sinus infection, which has been especially annoying as this is my favorite time of year and the weather has been unusually wonderful.  I have to admit, I have been feeling just a bit sorry for myself.  Still, I am getting a bit better and it is Spring, so things are looking up.

It has also been unusually dry (worrisomely dry in fact), which is providing a very rare window of opportunity to get some things done that normally aren't possible this time of year.  I have had several loads of firewood delivered (which is just a bit bittersweet as it is great to have so early, but I am soooo sick of firewood at the moment), there are two truckloads of stone headed my way tomorrow to help deal with the major mud problems I had around the barn this winter and....well, the list is long, long, long.

With all of this going on, I have decided to take some time off from work and from the computer.  Blog posting the rest of the week could be a bit erratic.  With that said, I wanted to show you these pictures of Ramsey's foot that I took this afternoon, I find this fascinating and encouraging....

If you look close at this foot, you will see that the bottom third is smaller than the top with the heel pinched in.  I drew more lines on this photo to show what I mean...

The lower part of the foot is what was grown months ago and used to be above the surgical site.  It is still somewhat deformed and contracted.  However, I am very encouraged by the new foot that is growing in above it.  Donkey feet grow faster then horse feet do and Ramsey is already well on the way to growing in a good foot.  I don't know what exactly caused the lower portion of the foot to be so much smaller then what the new foot clearly indicates it should be, but I strongly suspect that it was from nearly four months of constant bandaging, lack of weight bearing and lack of exercise.  I also find it very interesting that the hair just above the foot is still growing in wavy instead of smooth as it is on his other foot.  That is also the result of the bandaging.  

Looking at the foot from the bottom, it is finally starting to take on a semblance of normality.  There is a little bit of concavity and the heels are much less contracted.  The frog is still badly prolapsed downwards, but the cleft at the back of the foot is beginning to open a bit, which is the first sign of healthy growth I have seen. 

For all of it's trials, this foot is beginning to look like a healthy foot.  Most importantly, it is functional.

I still find trimming this to be very tricky.  I have actually been trimming it almost weekly in tiny amounts rather then trying to make larger corrections less frequently.  I know I have made some mistakes and doing very small trims helps prevent me messing up too badly.  Mistakes do tend to show up fairly quickly so I can correct them before they cause too much trouble.

The one thing that still has me concerned is that the wall at to toe is still not growing in well.  It may be that it is because of the missing coffin bone and it will never grow in correctly, but I think I am battling some ongoing fungal or bacterial trouble as well and I have been treating it.  I think all this dry weather will help.

If you look close at the lower left part of the sole, you can see some pink areas.  That is inflammation that occurred weeks or months ago and is just now growing out.  When I first started trimming him after his last trip to Cornell, nearly the whole bottom of his foot was pink and bloody looking like that.  Then it was both sides and it is just now getting to the point where it only shows a bit in the left side.  There was a whole lot of inflammation in this tiny foot.

I have to say, this is one of the things that really takes a lot of courage to trim through.  That bruising shows up and you would swear that I was cutting into live tissue.  I know I let myself get scared off by this several times and I probably didn't trim as much as I should have at first.  I had to give myself some pretty stern lectures and get my courage up to keep at it, but I think we are getting it figured out finally.  I can understand why it takes a certain kind of bravery to be a surgeon and I can doubly understand why surgeons should never have to operate on anyone they love.  This would be so,SO much easier to do on an animal I did not have a connection with.

We are getting there though.  Compare this...

to where we were a few months ago...

We're not that far off form looking like his good foot.  Speaking of...there was quite a while that I could not trim his good foot well because it was too hard for Ramsey to stand on his bad foot.  This foot shows almost the exact opposite of his other foot, the lower third is larger than the top of the foot because it was bearing so much more of his weight for so long.  That extra weight and lack of trimming showed up as a somewhat larger hoof capsule and a slightly underrun heel.

When both feet look like the top potion of this foot, we will be in good shape. 

We've come a long way baby!:)


  1. Wonderful! I have learnt so much from your blogs on little donkey hooves. Thank you x

  2. You're doing a great job with those feet!

  3. You have earned a vacation from all this blogging. We all really appreciate how you have taken the time to show us what is happening. We all look forward to hearing from you after your (hopefully) short vacation.

  4. I'm boxing up my mare and sending her to you for rehab. Name your price... LOL
    (I wish)
    Seriously though, you have done a wonderful job with him.

  5. ...and eventually he will be all balanced out again! YAY!

  6. Your pictures really tell the story. I learn a lot from your blog, thank you. Be well and enjoy the nice weather!

  7. Well done.... reading this makes me braver about doing my guys :)

  8. Your donkeys are just adorable!!! Looks like you've come a long way with his foot. It's just amazing how very different donkey feet are from horse's feet.

  9. Looking great - you've done a brilliant job :-)

  10. Glad that you're feeling better. I love spring too, and hate that I feel awful this time of year.
    I;m so impressed with your work with Ramsey's foot. It has been so educational and I really appreciate that you have taken the time to explain.

  11. You have come a long way indeed, Ramsey's foot looks just fantastic now!

    Yeah, I felt sorry for you too about the bronchitis+sinusitis and hope you will feel "like new" after your mini-vacation.

    1. P.S. Ashla Piwape initiated a petition against yet another donkey abusing, uhm, roping event - wouldn't it be wonderful if that one could be stopped also, like the one last year in Texas?!

  12. That hoof is almost normal..you have done so good with it! :)

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