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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I got a couple of mini donkeys over the summer this year, and one of them had an overgrown hoof. I knew this at the time, and was fine with it. She doesn't seem to be in any pain or anything, I think she's gotten used to it, but what can I be doing to help with it? I get her trimmed regularly, but it's hard for my farrier to do her hooves well, cause she was basically unhandled when I got her, so she has no idea how to lift her hooves. She will pull them back, rear, and kick out. I'd like to work with her, on getting better at letting people handle her feet, but she is very wary of people, so I have been spending a lot of time trying to get her to trust me. I've heard that an overgrown hoof could be caused by overfeeding, is that true? She is fat I know that, and I need to be rationing her feed just to keep her healthy, but will that also help with the hoof growth? She was just trimmed two weeks ago, and her hoof looks the exact same as did before she was trimmed. My farrier is cutting it back as far as he can with out hurting her, but it has already grown back again. Do I need to be getting her trimmed more often? Maybe like every four weeks or something? Or more regularly than that? My farrier says this is a normal thing for donkeys. And most donkey owners with more than two donkeys, have at least one hoof with this problem. Is that true? Have any of you ever experienced this?
Any info is greatly appreciated! Anything will help!
I can't find any pics of her hoof, I'll try and get some later, but it's her right rear hoof and it's basically just continually growing out, and curling up. It hasn't grown back into her hoof yet though, which is good.
It looks something like this. The pic was just off the web, and it is only her one hoof. Not all four. And her hooves are thicker.
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The mini donkeys at my barn never get trimmed, which won't surprise you since as you know they weren't even halter broke until recently. Their pasture is relatively soft. But their hooves look like normal donkey hooves, just a little over-long. Not the "Aladdin slippers" look like in the picture.

So, from my personal experience I would say that no, not all donkeys' hooves are necessarily going to look like that. Also, yes I would try to get her trimmed more frequently, if you can do it without traumatizing her.
 
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Vet. You need to know why the one hoof is doing that and then a light round of sedation by the vet with the farrier there to do as much as safely possible. I've seen some really badly slippered feet taken back to as close to normal ad possible then trimmed on a frequent enough rotation that it can gradually be brought to normal without growing back out between trims.
 

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You should definitely do a couple (or more) trims on a more frequent schedule.

I’ve come across a few donkeys who only grow one hoof to the extreme (always a rear)
Generally it only takes a couple “extreme” trimmings if everything else is well.
At a certain point the growth affects the gait and they move in a way that stops the hoof from wearing correctly and continues the cycle of poor growth.

In general donkeys do not require any type of bagged feed. They will stay most healthy with some mid to low quality hay (based on what you would keep working horses on)

They evolved to live in extreme conditions and have super metabolisms for producing energy and fat from practically nothing.

(I spent two years trying to convince a client of this. Once she finally foundered her donkey and the vet told her the exact same advice she suddenly listened. you may hear my eyeroll But the donkey is finally sound and not growing hoof at triple speed)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The mini donkeys at my barn never get trimmed, which won't surprise you since as you know they weren't even halter broke until recently. Their pasture is relatively soft. But their hooves look like normal donkey hooves, just a little over-long. Not the "Aladdin slippers" look like in the picture.

So, from my personal experience I would say that no, not all donkeys' hooves are necessarily going to look like that. Also, yes I would try to get her trimmed more frequently, if you can do it without traumatizing her.
Good to know. One of my donkeys could go months without being trimmed, but I trim him anyway just cause the other two get trimmed as well. That's interesting that they never get trimmed.
Vet. You need to know why the one hoof is doing that and then a light round of sedation by the vet with the farrier there to do as much as safely possible. I've seen some really badly slippered feet taken back to as close to normal ad possible then trimmed on a frequent enough rotation that it can gradually be brought to normal without growing back out between trims.
How much would that vet call usually cost?
You should definitely do a couple (or more) trims on a more frequent schedule.

I’ve come across a few donkeys who only grow one hoof to the extreme (always a rear)
Generally it only takes a couple “extreme” trimmings if everything else is well.
At a certain point the growth affects the gait and they move in a way that stops the hoof from wearing correctly and continues the cycle of poor growth.

In general donkeys do not require any type of bagged feed. They will stay most healthy with some mid to low quality hay (based on what you would keep working horses on)

They evolved to live in extreme conditions and have super metabolisms for producing energy and fat from practically nothing.

(I spent two years trying to convince a client of this. Once she finally foundered her donkey and the vet told her the exact same advice she suddenly listened. you may hear my eyeroll But the donkey is finally sound and not growing hoof at triple speed)
They will be on more limited feed with in the week, so we'll see if that helps!
 

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If your donkey's feet or foot look anything close to the picture you posted, they need hoof x-rays to determine where the coffin bone is in order for proper rehabilitation trimming to begin.

But of course if their feet can't be picked up, x-rays are not possible. That means the first order is to begin serious crash training on hoof handling.

Again, the hooves in the picture posted can be cut way way back prior to any x-rays. Bat after x-rays, a trimmer that understands trimming relative to the coffin bone and other landmarks needs to be used. Someone that understands hoof rehab.

If/when possible, they should also be tested for insulin resistance. If positive, carbohydrates should be reduced as much as possible as soon as possible. No sweet feed no grain no apples.

Equines can be in a lot of pain without showing it. That has been developed in them in their 5 million years of development. The horses that appeared in pain were the first eaten by a predator.
 

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I want to say a little more. I HAVE to say a little more.

The number one reason for euthanasia of equines is from laminitis that can be induced by too much sweet feed, too much feed period, or poor trimming or lack of trimming. There is concussive laminitis also but not sure that results in euthanasia.

Because of this I consider feed and hoof care to be the very top priorities in horse care.

There is a recently published book, The Essential Hoof Book, The complete guide to horse's feet, anatomy, care and health, disease diagnosis and treatment.

This book is in a large binder with thick sturdy pages with simple easy to understand explanations and an abundance of color pictures for reference. It is generously indexed and referenced in the back of the book.

There is no book in existence that fill the purpose this book was written for. I can't say enough about it. If you read it, you will know more about the horse's hoof than the majority of horse people. (donkeys too) Cost is under $30.

Might be a little more across the pond. The Essential Hoof Book: The Complete Modern Guide to Horse Feet - Anatomy, Care and Health, Disease Diagnosis and Treatment: Kauffmann, Susan, Cline, Christina, Ovnicek, Gene: 9781570767326: Amazon.com: Books
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@trailscout awesome information! I know she needs to be rationed on her feed, and I am moving her to a new pen this week to help be able to monitor her intake. I definitely don't want her to become lame!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@QtrBel I think that's probably the best solution right now. I think I'll just bring her in to the vet, and bring the farrier in to do what he can. Then I'll bring her home and she'll stay on limited feed, and get her hooves trimmed regularly.

Kay, quick question. When I bought the donkey, I was told her hoof was overgrown because of a neglectful past owner, and that she had been getting her trimmed regularly. Long story short, the lady lied on quite a few other things, so I'm beginning to wonder if that was true? The lady I bought the donkey from, made it sound like the lady before her had just not trimmed her, but what I'm reading here makes me wonder if that could actually happen? Like, wouldn't all her hooves have grown out if she wasnt getting trimmed? Sounds more like a medical issue to me. What do you guys think?
 

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Sounds puzzling. The only possibility that comes to mind at the time is that three of her slippers were cut off after which she became so resistant that the fourth was not done.

A horses hoof capsule grows approximately 1/4 inch per month. Depending on the activity, some of this will wear off during that month. I think donkeys hooves may actually grow faster on average. But I could be 100% wrong on that. Just seems I've read it (somewhere?).

There is an entire list of internal injuries that can result from a foot that over grown. The coffin bone can remodel forming what is known as a ski tip from bone loss. Navicular problems can also develop.

Until one learns about it, most (including myself at one time) think it's only feet. Right? But these things are life threatening to the equine.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I got some pics of her hooves today..
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Those feet can be made to look better from the outside to the human eye, but to relieve the chronic pain she is experiencing 24/7 and begin recovery of her feet, trimming to the degree the inside of her feet needs, x-rays will be required unless a very advanced rehab trimmer for donkey feet is found and used.

Thing is, a trimmer that is advanced and competent in that area would not even consider trying rehab when x-ray machines are available which can speed the recovery so dramatically. The x-ray doesn't do anything but it does guide the trimmer to do more that will advance/speed recovery.

Not meaning to scare you, just expressing what I see.
 

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1. you make it a priority to get her well trained & handleable, so that a farrier can work on her easily - otherwise, you're going to find, one of these days soon, you won't have a farrier that's willing to do her at all.

2. Get a good equine vet, pref one with experiences with donkeys. For one, you say she doesn't seem to be in pain, but donks are typically even more stoic than horses, and chances are a hoof that looks like that is in GREAT pain. Also her knees etc may be arthritic from years of neglected, imbalanced hooves, and pain could be a major reason for her 'bad behaviour' with the farrier - the vet might suggest/proscribe bute to give her before the farrier's visit, to see if that makes a diff.

3 get her on a serious diet, as yes, donks are even more 'prone' to IR/obesity than horses & that is the single biggest cause of founder.

And 4. If the farrier is not doing a decent job of trimming, you may need to find a better one - pref one experienced with successful rehab of founder.

She was just trimmed two weeks ago, and her hoof looks the exact same as did before she was trimmed. My farrier is cutting it back as far as he can with out hurting her, but it has already grown back again. Do I need to be getting her trimmed more often? Maybe like every four weeks or something? Or more regularly than that? My farrier says this is a normal thing for donkeys. And most donkey owners with more than two donkeys, have at least one hoof with this problem.
Bit difficult if donk is not well behaved for the farrier - he might find it difficult/impossible to do a good job, and it's possible she has only one foot like this because the other 3 were tackled before you got her, but they gave up before getting to this one. And if you're only getting them trimmed 6 weekly, that may not be enough to make really good changes, as her feet will likely be overgrown again between trims. So, all in all, with only this much info to go on, I don't think it's fair or reasonable to judge the farrier... yet. That said...

If he trimmed her only 2 weeks ago & they still look remotely like the pic you posted, he is extremely likely not trimming her well, and if he doesn't want to go further for fear of hurting her, I sus he may not have a good knowledge of 'what lies beneath'. Yes, as a general rule, I'd go no longer than 4 weeks between trims absolute max, for distorted hooves you want to improve. 4 weekly, IME, is about right for 'normal', healthy hooves, before they start to distort from overgrowth. Yes, farrier is correct in saying that unfortunately this kind of prob is common for donkeys. As said, for one, they're far more 'prone' to IR & obesity than horses. It may well be 'normal', but that doesn't make it acceptable or OK - it is a serious hoof pathology if her feet look remotely like that photo. And I don't know why he would think that at least one hoof per every 2 donkeys owned would be like this... unless there's a bunch of farriers in the area who give up after 3-7 donkey hooves - it's unusual, IME to see one hoof only in such bad shape, if the rest are OK, and I'd imagine there's some body issue, causing the massive imbalance, along with the founder.
 

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Wrote that last response without reading any replies, or seeing your own pics. Yep, farrier can def do a LOT more.
Thing is, a trimmer that is advanced and competent in that area would not even consider trying rehab when x-ray machines are available which can speed the recovery so dramatically.
I agree fully that rads would indeed be helpful, would allow trimming to be more specific, and I too strongly advise you to get them Abby. *I'd also suggest getting rads of above her hooves & her knees, to see what state they're in, as hoof balance may need to be 'adjusted' for the chronic joint damage that will be present. I wonder whether that hoof was neglected more, because her left fore(knee, fetlock, wherever) is giving her the most grief, so she can't keep weight on that one for long. But that statement from Trail above is very sad, IMO, if it's fact in your area Trail. That to me sounds like trimmers can't be bothered helping horses, unless owners are willing & able to get rads, and that trimmers in your area don't have enough knowledge to do a decent job without rads to work to.
 

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But that statement from Trailscout above is very sad, IMO, if it's fact in your area Trailscout.
Loo, my comments were not intended to be an indictment of non-caring farriers that would just walk away without x-rays.

The thing is, to properly trim an equine in that condition, the trim will need to come very close to the tip and edge of the coffin bone. Say a half an inch or a little more, depending. There is no one that can possibly safely trim that close without danger of harming sensitive tissue or perhaps even the bone itself. The hoof is just too deformed to make an accurate guess where the coffin bone is.

So without x-rays, a trimmer, any trimmer, would need to stay on the safe side which would prolong recovery and even perhaps leave excessive forces on the toe area.

But with those feet, a sub optimal trim would be better than no trim for certain.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@loosie, thank you!! Super helpful! I've been working with her pretty much every day to get her to stand and lift her hooves. I've finally gotten her to accept the halter and not take of the second she sees me coming from across the field. Shes still pretty grumpy about her hooves though, but I am still working on it. I never even thought of maybe sedating her for the farrier. I am working on restricting her diet further. I have already restricted it quite a bit but I plan to do more as she is still not losing weight.
I'm gonna talk around and see if anyone has used my farrier for rehab. When I first used him I had no idea what he has done before, but a friend recommended him as he did his horses so I went with it. I kinda googled his name and it's pretty much him and one other guy that are the reputable farriers. Everyone uses either my farrier or the other guy. Maybe I'll see if the other guy has done rehab. I'm pretty sure that my farrier is trying to fix it. He said he was, and I know I shouldn't believe everything he says. But he is still coming out to do her even though she's a grump so even if he isn't doing the best job in the world, he is still doing the best he can and I am going to continue to use him until I can find a better farrier with more experience and knowledge in rehab.
 
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I've finally gotten her to accept the halter and not take of the second she sees me coming from across the field. Shes still pretty grumpy about her hooves though, but I am still working on it.
I had somehow missed the fact that she could not be led reliable or have her feet handled. That sort of explains how her feet got so bad and that's enough to rule out x-rays for now also. Yeah, getting her able to be handled is a huge priority right now.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I had somehow missed the fact that she could not be led reliable or have her feet handled. That sort of explains how her feet got so bad and that's enough to rule out x-rays for now also. Yeah, getting her able to be handled is a huge priority right now.
Yeah. I finally got the halter on her after working with her for a very long time. I'm thinking about maybe sedating her then getting x-rays while she's out, and have a rehab trimmer there to do what he can while she's not fighting everyone. Is that a good idea? Like, how much can the farrier really do in one trimming?
 

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Not sure about sedating a horse or donkey to get x-rays. Be good if you could. The vet can tell you if that is even possible.

I have a video of Pete Ramey doing rehab on a horse that couldn't stand up with one foot off the ground. He cut off a large portion of the toe while the horse was laying down. (edit: with a hack saw) I'm sure he got x-rays at some point after or before that but I'd need to go back and re-watch the video.

I have trimmed a very gentle horse while laying down. Just sat in a chair with the leg over my knee. Except for the bottom leg on the front, I'd have to either get down on my knees or wait until the horse lay down on the other side. It'll be up to the vet and farrier. But it's going to be a while before she can be adequately handled, sedating her and doing the initial trim on the ground might be one way to go if the farrier agrees.

Thing is, with the way those feet may be hurting, it may just be too much for her to put all the weight on one foot eve if she was gentle.

There are very gentle and well trained horses that won't let any of the four hooves be picked up with a serious case of laminitis. All four are hurting but when the opposite foot is picked up then the other really really hurts.

Talk to the farrier. Talk to the vet.
 
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