The emergence of a new opportunity for “gross” donkeys with twisted hooves

Two pairs of “grossly” overweight miniature donkeys with crooked and overgrown hooves are now thriving in the care of The Donkey Sanctuary.

Penny and Chelsea were discovered at a site in North Devon in June 2020. When donkey care consultant Gina Goldby first arrived, she could see that both donkeys were obese and needed urgent veterinary attention.

Thirteen-year-old Benny’s hooves were in “horrific condition” and showed signs of laminitis. Her companion, a 10-year-old donkey named Chelsea, also had enlarged hooves.

Gina said: “I was mainly concerned about Penny’s hind hooves, as they had such a development that she walked on the outside of the hoof.

“The deformity of the hooves has caused incredible stress on the ligaments and tendons in Benny’s legs.

“Penny’s front hooves were also enlarged and showed deformities commonly associated with laminitis. I was worried she was in pain, so it was important to get her checked out by a vet ASAP.”

Jenna was concerned that Penny and Chelsea were too fat after noticing that donkeys had large coils of fat covering their necks and drooping bellies.

The couple had been living with a group of other donkeys, all of whom were overweight. But as soon as Gina discovered Penny and Chelsea, she realized there were other issues to be addressed in addition to obesity, and she called an outside vet on site.

The vet examined Penny and Chelsea and explained that the severity of Penny’s hoof deformities would result in her needing years of horse grooming to correct the deformities and continue to keep her hooves balanced.

Jenna discussed Benny and Chelsea’s continuing care needs with the owner, and it was agreed that it was in the best interest of the donkeys to leave them in the care of The Donkey Sanctuary.

Penny and Chelsea are now doing well at Brookfield Charitable Farm near Honiton, Devon and have a lifelong home in the care of The Donkey Sanctuary.

Both of them gradually lost extra weight under the supervision of a vet and have a healthy body condition.

The Donkey Sanctuary has also worked with the owner to make changes that will support weight loss in their other donkeys, and they continue to work with a local vet to monitor their progress.

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