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Discuss donkey with teeth problems, can't eat well....suggestions? at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

My mom has an older donkey that she has owned for 10 years. for the ...
  1. #1
    Senior Member th72's Avatar
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    donkey with teeth problems, can't eat well....suggestions?

    My mom has an older donkey that she has owned for 10 years. for the first time, Bama got sick and mom had the vet out today to look at her (she had nasal discharge and, though excited to eat and energetic, didn't want to eat or couldn't). here is her report:

    "But it turns out that Bama is probably well over 20 years old and she has horrible teeth. Dr. John put his hand up in Bama’s mouth and brought it away covered with foamy slobber and then <brace yourself> he *sniffed* it! Bama probably has missing teeth, infected teeth or gums and it is probably affecting her sinus cavities on one side of her face at least. John’s son just opened an equine dental clinic this past summer and they’re still getting established, so we are going to take her to the clinic on Monday morning. "

    But until they go to the clinic, Bama can't eat much. my mom says that her mouth and throat a little swollen, so that might make it hard to swallow. here is another report she wrote to me later today:

    "I’m not sure how Bama is going to eat this weekend. I put her in a stall tonight with her normal feeding of beet pulp and grain. She was definitely hungry, but shortly after she started to eat, she began to choke. I let her out of her stall, talked calmly to her, and she walked around, coughing, sort of gaging, until she finally recovered. I watered down the pulp and grain so she wouldn’t be able to inhale it and make it more tender and soft. Doctor John told me to give her half of a Bute tablet morning and night. So I broke a half in half again and put each piece in a slice of apple, trying not to make them very large. Bama ate the first slice right away. She *loves* apples. She seemed to eat it, but again I could see she had trouble. She managed to get it down, I think, with a lot of drooling and then walked away from me as if I had offered her poison and she was offended. So I didn’t bother with the other slice. Eating is definitely going to be a challenge until we can get her some help on Monday. She is going to be hungry and she may lose some weight, but I’m going to try to spend more time with her and give her the paddock all to herself….trying to keep her content and happy so she can maybe keep her spirits and her strength up. We’ll see. I’m not too troubled about it so long as Bama seems somewhat happy."

    I'm sorry this is so long, but do any of you have any idea of what we can feed Bama until the clinic on Monday? someone suggested bran mash....what do you guys think?

    thanks in advance for any help, and sorry again for the length of this!

    --tara
    Last edited by th72; 11-12-2004 at 09:03 PM.

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    I would just give her the beet pulp, heavily watered. It will be basically the same consistency as a bran mash without upsetting her stomach. Did the vet say if there was something that just suddenly caused this? Or has it been an ongoing progression? Have her teeth never been checked? Sorry for the questions, I've just never heard of a horse's mouth getting that far bad before it was noticed.

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    Senior Member th72's Avatar
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    thanks for your tip, Dawn. I'll pass that along to my mom.

    I don't know what the vet said as far as the cause, but while Bama has had shots and everything appropriate in that manner, I'm not sure what her dental care was like, if she ever had her teeth floated or anything. it's probably been an ongoing progression, but Bama has always been happily eating up until this morning, so maybe it is the swelling or something that suddenly came overnight. I am not sure.

    Bama was a rescue case. my mom got her about 10 years ago from an owner who didn't take care of her. Bama generally went out with the horses (my mom has raised horses for 30 years), but as she has been getting older, she has gotten special attention from my mom and been babied a bit.

    so, sorry I don't know her medical history better, but I know that generally, she has been taken care of very well...just maybe not in the dentristy area (which may be a bad thing, and we will learn from that).

    --tara

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    I would put plenty of warm water in the feed to amke it like thin oatmeal consistency. then she could drink it down with no chewing nessesary. My old guy li9kes his feed thei way.
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    We had an old mule that was missing a bunch teeth - previous owners just left him out to die in a pasture when we noticed him. He got heavily soaked and then mashed beet pulp, and he was able to eat just fine with that. He never really ate hay or grass, it was too hard for him, he just spent a lot time "sudo-grazing".
    I would just ry the beet pulp. Let it soak for 24 hours, we even warmed it up in the winter.
    oh, and props to your mom for rescuing the little gal!
    In the quiet light of the stable, you hear a muffled snort, the stamp of a hoof, a friendly nicker. Gentle eyes inquire, "How was your day old friend?" and suddenly, all your troubles fade away.

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    Senior Member th72's Avatar
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    thanks for the advice, you guys, and thanks for hte kudos, shotgun.

    I will definitely recommend to my mom to water down the feed. I think she tried that with this morning's feeding and Bama ate 1/5 of it, which is better than nothing! I think a lot of the problem comes with swallowing, in that there is an infection and her throat or something is a bit swollen, making it difficult or painful to swallow. but she is still getting special treatment, and will go to a dentist on Monday. I bet she can't wait! *lol*

    thanks again guys!

    --tara

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    She will be fine with out food for a few days. Water she needs. Horses/donkeys can go for days with out food but only three days with out water.
    Beet pulp is as good as hay and you can feed her as much as she can eat with out causing health problems(other than choking) that grains would. Beet pulp is a fiber not a grain and you can safely feed as much as you like. You can add corn/veg oil to the beet pulp to help keep the weight on if weight is what you are concerned about.
    Also you can feed pelleted forms of hay or alfalfa soaked for easy chewing along with a complete vitamin supplement, just soak it with the beet pulp and she will be getting plenty of nutritents. Have a mineral/salt block avl for her salt/mineral needs.
    ejforrest-

    "A horse is the projection of peoples' dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence".

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    Senior Member th72's Avatar
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    ej, I appreciate very much your input! I learned a few new things and have passed along the message to my mom. thank you.

    --tara

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