Sunday, August 18, 2019

Time to Up My Game

Warning: This is a hard post that I have been having a lot of trouble writing, but I owe to all of you.

This past year, I have noticed Ramsey having more and more days of lameness and, when summer finally arrived and the ground got hard, it became more frequent.  Seeing Ramsey unloading his foot like this while napping has become a common occurrence....

I spoke with my vet and we decided that it was time to take some new x-rays of Ramsey's foot (Sara picked up on that right away when she saw Mr. Nosey checking out the x-ray machine). 

I think Ramsey (the original Mr. Nosey) was just out of the shot chewing on investigating another piece of equipment. 

We were both expecting to see some arthritis in his pastern and/or coffin joint and we had discussed joint injections to make him more comfortable.  What we got was rather more alarming and difficult to deal with. 

There is no easy way to say this and I have been struggling to come to terms with this.....Ramsey's coffin bone is disintegrating. 

These bones should all have a smooth whitish appearance.  The part that looks like cottage cheese is what is left of Ramsey's coffin bone.

In addition to the bone loss, the coffin bone has also rotated by 12 degrees.  This is laminitis caused by a lack of good wall connection, which is itself caused by the bone loss, which will cause more separation...... 

So.....Where does this leave us?  That is the question I have been wrestling with.  Wrestling hard.

Right now, Ramsey is still happy and healthy and has an extremely high quality of life.  He is now on daily pain medication and I am keeping his foot wrapped and padded.  I have also been working with the owner of Advanced Equine Comfort, who very generously sent us several pairs of shoes and other materials to experiment with so that we can come up with a custom fitted, shock-absorbing rubber shoe for Ramsey.

I used some of the materials I already had on hand to make a mold of Ramsey's feet and cast a resin copy of each foot that I can work with. 

These shoes aren't (yet) designed to work on donkey hooves, but they are a very nice product and a great option for horses who need better shock absorption.  Sue Blair, the owner of the company and a kindred spirit, has been very generous with her knowledge and materials. 

We're going to find a way to make these "slippers" work for Ramsey.

I confess that these x-rays were a real blow.  Managing Ramsey's foot has always been a challenge, but I had felt that we pretty much had it covered.  I knew there was something more going on with him this year, but this was more than I was prepared for.  More than anyone has been prepared for as I have shown the radiographs to a number of experts and they have been stumped as well. 

I'm not sure what this means for Ramsey's future.  If he were a horse, I doubt he would have lasted this long.  Despite the bone loss, Ramsey still manages to grow a significant amount of hoof wall and sole, which is his saving grace.  He still gallops around and wrestles with Albert. 

I do know of one mini donkey who lives very well with NO coffin bone at all in one foot.  Can Ramsey do that?

I have no idea.

Ramsey's foot has always made me feel like I've had to reinvent the wheel over and over again. I guess it is time to up my game and invent a hovercraft for him because he is nowhere near ready to give up so neither am I.


  1. I am so sorry. I really hope that these shoes work for him.

  2. The knowledge you gain in treating Ramsey is going to help many other equines. He's a very lucky donkey to have such a loving and knowledgable team helping him.

  3. If anyone can reinvent the wheel for a donkey it's you Kris. You WILL come up with something.

  4. I was afraid a post like this was coming...but I, too, was not prepared to see those xrays. #$&%.

  5. Rooting for you and Ramsey.

  6. Oh Kris, you know we all love your boy...This is such hard news. I hope you can find a way to keep him comfortable for a few more years.

  7. I'm sorry. That stinks. I believe you are doing all in your power to help him.

  8. It’s awesome all that you are doing. It’s reslly helpful to see your commitment in finding out and applying all that you can.

  9. I agree that you are the one to find a solution. Good luck to both of you!

  10. I thought there was something going on when I saw that picture of the vet there with the x-ray machine, but I didn't want to pry. If it can be helped, it looks like you're prepared to do the job.

    I wonder if denervation would be an option, like they do in navicular cases. I have no experience with that, it just popped into my head as I was thinking about pain meds and their safety/side effects.

    He is loved. Boy, this is going to be hard on you. Worry, effort, love, trial and error. I'm sorry. I wish I could fix it!

  11. Well that f-ing sucks! I am so sorry Kris. We only know what we know (and that goes for docs & vets too) and learn through revealing experiences & seeking solutions. Truly hope those custom boots help keep his quality of life. Ramsey is a fortunate donk to have so much love & your excellent care!!

  12. Aww so sorry to hear this news, BUT I know you will do the best you can! Ramsey is a trooper!! :)

  13. This is Sherry in MT......catching up and wow that boy is teaching you SO MUCH!