Such a Good Girl Callie!

Such a Good Girl Callie!


As most friends of the sanctuary know, the Jenny “Callie” has had trouble the past few years with bruises and abscesses in her front hooves. We don’t know how, but compared to the other donkeys, Callie always seems to pick up rocks in her hooves.


After using a hoof knife to pry loose a small pebble, a donkey may limp for a day or two to get over the bruise. But if its gait does not return to normal in a day or two, a small abscess may have formed inside the hoof wall. 


One of the best treatments for this, and the one we use, is to soak the hoof in hot epsom salt solution. How, you may ask, do you get a donkey to cooperate when you’re dipping her hoof into a hot bucket of epsom salt? Very carefully, that’s how.


Callie’s been through this before so she knows the drill. First, we tie her harness to a post. Second we take off the hoof bootie she’s wearing. Second, we lift up the hurt hoof and lower it into the water. It’s a good idea to distract your animal with feed or a treat during this procedure.


The optimal amount of time for the treatment is 20 minutes. Twice a day. That’s an elusive goal most often because most donkeys will put up a fuss and kick the bucket over at about 10 minutes. You’ve just gotta stick to it… It’s a good idea to massage the area around and above the hoof because that’s good for blood flow and it calms the donkey a bit.


We use a towel to dry off the hoof all around before putting the rubber bootie back on again. It’s been three days of this treatment and there has been small improvements. We will be keeping an eye on it. We may get some digital x-rays done if she does not improve more over the next few days.


Callie is a trooper. Even though she does not like the treatment, she seems to understand we are helping her. She does the best she can to cooperate. Soothing talk and petting helps. You’re such a good girl Callie!

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