I would like to say that Ben is all better. Unfortunately, he is not.
We still have no idea what triggered all of this although I am still suspicious of a tick-borne disease. One of the big problems with donkeys is that they when one thing goes wrong, regardless of cause, they are highly prone to get laminitis as a secondary problem. That is where we are now. I don't know what infectious agent triggered all of this, but Ben is now clearly laminitic in all four feet.
That puts us right square on the hamster wheel. There is nothing quite so controversial to treat as laminits. The reason it is controversial is that there are no good treatments.
The key to getting laminitis under control is to find out what triggered it and treat that. Except I can't do that because I don't know what triggered this. Ben was perfectly fine and healthy one day and not the next. He is already on a low sugar/low starch diet, which would normally be the first thing to do.
I've talked to all the experts I could find and here are a few of the suggestions:
Ben has laminits and you should ice his feet. It is 6 degrees out and there is snow on the ground. His feet can't get any more iced than that.
Ben has winter laminitis and you should keep his feet and legs warm. Lets all hope this one is bullshit because it is now -6 degrees out.
He needs NSAID's to keep the inflammation under control.
He has to stop all NSAID's now because they slow healing and cause ulcers.
I could go on, but I have had enough of the hamster wheel for tonight. I am going to go check on Ben and the rest of the herd then take a hot bath, because even hamsters need to get off the wheel sometimes.