Ben added a few more grey hairs to my head this morning because he decided to do this for several hours rather than get up and act like a normal healthy donkey...
I gave him breakfast in bed. I also switched his pain meds back to banamine rather than the bute that the vet suggested.
A side note for all donkey owners: I have found that donkeys seem to respond better to banamine than to bute. This is anecdotal and you should talk it over with your vet, but I have found it to be true in every instance thus far. It is also a well documented fact that donkeys metabolize pain meds faster than horses and generally require higher doses at more frequent intervals regardless of which drug you are using. If you need corroboration of this for your vet, contact the UK Donkey Sanctuary. They have documentation available for any vet who is willing to read it.
This has certainly held true for Ben. Once I got another hefty dose of banamine into him this morning, he decided to get up and rejoin the land of the living. He is now getting 10 mls of banamine three times a day instead of two. I will continue this until Monday and talk with the vet again.
I also started Ben on antibiotics this morning because my gut instinct is telling me that this had to have been triggered by an outside event - such as a tick borne disease. His little quirks about water are long established and should not have been able to cause this. There is also no earthly reason why a healthy, adult donkey on a strict low-sugar, hay-only diet would suddenly founder in the middle of winter. There has to be some triggering event, either metabolically or externally. Ben has shown no metabolic signs and there have been no external events. That just leaves the eff'ing ticks.
Ben is now about ten hours into antibiotic treatment and he seems to be feeling a bit better, which is strengthening my suspicions. I think I will know more tomorrow when we hit the 24 hour mark.
I am leaning more and more heavily towards the idea of thermonuclear warfare.