Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Foot

A number of people who have donkeys of their own have sent me emails expressing interest in what has happened to Ramsey's foot and how it was treated.  I took these photos yesterday to show you what it looks like and as a way for me to better track his progress.  Since I look at it every day, it can be hard to see progress.

Be warned, these are bit graphic.  If you are not interested in such details, you might want to skip this post.

Ramsey had a lateral hoof-wall resection done so that the surgeon could access the coffin bone, which was infected.  About 1/4 of the coffin bone was removed.  There is a fair amount of granulation tissue, but obviously, it needs a lot more.  I am treating this part of his hoof with a chelated silver solution.  I soak a piece of gauze in the solution, put it directly in the hole and use conforming gauze to wrap over it.

As the hoof grows from the top down, the hole will move farther and farther down toward the ground and eventually grow out.  The resection is causing him surprisingly little pain at this point.  He no longer even flinches when I replace the gauze packing.  Hopefully, when he goes back to Cornell in four weeks, the foot will be healed and grown out enough that they can put an acrylic patch over the hole and eliminate the need for a bandage until it grows out completly.

The most painful part right now is the back of his heel.  You can see, just where my thumb is and at the coronet band above the resection, that the hide is scurfing off where the bandage has rubbed and the abscess broke out. 

I used a small amount of icthammol on that area and I am going to try some of the beeswax salve that I make.  I think it will provide a protective barrier and help keep things soft.  The foot is in need of a trim, but that cannot be done at this time.  

I need Ramsey to stand still and quiet while I change his bandage.  While he does tie fairly well, he is too wiggly without a distraction.  I have found that if I offer him something good to eat, he will stand quietly and allow me to do just about anything while the food holds out.  Since I do not want him overeating and he should not get any grain, I have been giving him a small handful of timothy hay pellets soaked in water (you can get the pellets at TSC).  They are the perfect choice for animals who should not get carbohydrates and I have used them to completely replace the minuscule amount of grain my equines were getting, none of them need grain.  All of them actually like the hay pellets better than sweet feed, which surprised me.  The pellets contain nothing but timothy hay and a small handful keeps Ramsey happily occupied for nearly 30 minutes.   

That 30 minutes gives me ample time to get this done.... 


  1. Very informative. Greatly appreciate the information. As I read through your procedure, certain questions came up, but you answered them all. So glad Ramsey enjoys his health food while you work with him. Such a good little boy.

  2. With big horses, I am usually able to keep a little space free at the coronary band, but with that tiny foot... You are doing a great job!

  3. Wow... This is fascinating. Does the infection begin with a puncture at the bottom of the hoof and move in that way, or can it start with a cut near the coronet band? This looks like a lot of work...makes me smile that he gets distracted with bunny food!!!!

    1. We generally think that the bacteria get in from the bottom of the foot, but not always. We have no idea in Ramsey's case. It is possible that he bruised his foot on a stone, but that the bacteria got into his blood stream elsewhere and attacked the foot because it was compromised by the bruise. There is no obvious wound anywhere so it is all speculation.

  4. Oooh, ouch. I'm glad that Ramsey continues to improve. I guess that I didn't know what his surgery entailed...

  5. He is a good boy!
    Such a small little hoof to go through all that!!!

  6. Hi there! I don't know how I missed your blog until now but I am so happy I found it-what an adorable boy he is!! And what a good mom you are-Ramsey is very lucky!!! I'm looking forward to reading past blogs and just wanted to say hello :)
    Sue and the crew

  7. Wow, this is unreal. I'm so glad he continues to improve and it's wonderful you've been able to make sure he gets the care he needs. I've only had a donkey once, but I've had and have horses and what a thing to have happen in such a sensitive place. Really great blog and I hope Ramsey will continue to improve, I can't imagine he won't with such good care and love!

  8. Kris, you do such a great job presenting information, I really learn a lot from your posts, thanks for sharing. And a big hug to Ramsey. Diana RR

  9. Excellent job! You could be a guest lecturer in a chronic wound care class. Very smart idea with the timothy pellets. He's coming along very well. Have you been taking pics of the surgery site since day one? That would be a great case study for people with equines to use as reference!

  10. What a great post! Always nice to learn new stuff.

  11. I was wondering how he was doing..you are a good caregiver:)