Aitana: looking good


Aitana flopped in sunshine after a good feed.  The angular shape of her top half still shows the evidence of the weight loss, but her tummy is filling out again.  She is looking much happier and doing her customary regular patrols around the terraces to see what is new; this in contrast to spending her time standing in the stable motionless, as has been the case for much of these past weeks.

Signs of weight-loss remain. In the photo where she is sitting up, there are tell-tale folds of skin around the top of her leg, and standing next to Morris, I can see how her cheeks still remain sunken compared with his.  The weight-loss has to be seen against a history of these animals being slightly overweight, so she is probably getting back to nearer “normal” weight for a donkey of her height now.

The food delivery from Nutrivila comes tomorrow: 24 bales of straw and just two of alfalfa.  The mix of alfalfa in straw was already low but is being reduced, not cut out completely as any changes in diet need to be introduced gradually.  Cereal grain is not being given daily any more (not even the handful they had previously). I have had so much conflicting advice about this but will defer to the clear instruction in the Donkey Sanctuary diet sheets as the definitive guidance on this: “Avoid all cereal based feeds.”

For Aitana there will also be a vitamin supplement and Biotin to encourage hoof growth.  It is good to see her stretching out her front legs when lying down, as she had largely been keeping them folded in when lying down before, presumably to ease the pain in her tendons. Now I know what the signs of laminitis are, after this episode, I will know what to look out for and catch it early if it ever happens again.

Aitana’s front right hoof stretched out here shows the angle cut by the farrier on Thursday.  But as always with donks, we only need to observe the angle of the ears to see that things are looking better!

I keep coming back to the thought of what happened on the 4th July when she was given that ‘flu innoculation by the vet, who failed to observe Aitana was suffering from laminitis.  If you are going to give an equine a quick visual check to see if they are fit to inject with a virus, would you not be looking for signs of laminitis as a clear indication of health?

Aitana is lucky to have survived.  I won’t be letting a vet anywhere near my animals in future unless I have full confidence they know what they are doing.


Thanks to those of you who have taken an interest in Aitana’s recovery, and also for the advice that some have given.  Now perhaps, I can try to recover from all the worry and enjoy the last week of my long-awaited summer holiday…

9 thoughts on “Aitana: looking good

  1. Fantastic! I haven’t seen Aitana looking so ridiculous in a while! Just look at the angle of those ears… The heat will help with all that stretching. Aitana, enjoy your well deserved rest in the sun!


  2. I’m so glad she’s feeling better! My Don Quixote had a bout with laminitis last March and it sure was scary. But once properly treated he rebounded pretty quickly. A good vet is worth his/her weight in gold.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Gareth, So glad Aitana is improving! What a relief. There is nothing worse when our beloved animals are sick and we feel helpless to a certain degree. Here is a link to some of the homoeopathic veterinary literature which is currently available:
    I’m glad you got good advice in the end. I have a specialist vet for my animals as the general cat and dog vet knows very, very little about exotics which can be disastrous as you clearly found out with your first vet who injected Aitana with that vaccine. Also you are right to draw conclusions regarding the vaccine and the chain of events which followed. Even in human medicine there are clear links between vaccination and certain types of illnesses which are then ‘woken up’. Too much to share here but there is plenty of case histories citing this within homoeopathic literature. Homoeopaths cottoned on to this a long, long time ago but of course were a direct threat to the pharmaceutical industries etc. so we were not liked at all.
    Do hope your beautiful donk continues to get better and you have a happy and relaxing final week of your holiday.
    Best wishes, Mary


  4. Thanks again Mary, and I’ll certainly take a look at the link you sent. At present with Aitana looking like she is making a full recovery, and the vet recommended by the Donkey Sanctuary (Spanish branch) driving up from the south of the province to see Aitana later today,we have the situation well under control.

    You and other readers may like to hear this little footnote from earlier today.

    Tito from Nutrivila brought the monthly delivery of donkey food (24 bales of straw, two bales of alfalfa ONLY…; and no cereal at all…); a direct response to Aitana’s laminitis, in case there’s anything we have been overdoing on the nutrients front.

    I talked with Tito for about half an hour, concerning the way that Aitana had been vaccinated by the vet (“X”) while having clear signs that everyone later identified as laminitis when they saw the photos. Tito said he had been asking around for me, talking to people with horses who come to his shop, and many use “X” but think she is not very good, while a very few use the vets from the horse hospital in San Juan, who are enormously expensive (this is the place where rich people with horses get their stallions and Viennese dancing horses pampered… Otherwise we are stuck for equine vets locally.

    As we neared the end of this conversation, a man drove past in a white van and hooted when he saw Tito. He was another Nutrivila customer. (It turned out he has sixty dogs, several horses and two donkeys.) He said, by way of compliment to me, “Your donkeys are in wonderful condition! I see them when I drive past.”

    Tito then explained to him what we had been discussing, about the innoculation into Aitana while she had been laminitic. The visitor turned to me and asked straight away: “The vet? It wasn’t X, was it?” I nodded and he threw up his hands: “I wouldn’t let her near my animals ever again.”

    He now has a vet who comes up from Malaga. To put it in perspective, that would be like living in Folkestone and have your vet come down from Leeds…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Eisssshhhhhh…..(SA expression which can mean many things, but in this context it is ohh heck!). Mind you….my specialist vet is over an hour’s drive away. I have no choice – wouldn’t let anyone else look at them, but I take your point. It is not always easy to get the correct advice right on your doorstep. The main thing is you are now better informed on several levels. Nutrition and lifestyle are the two pillars for good health – same for us, same for our four legged pals. You seem to have learned a lot through this last worrying episode, so hopefully this should be avoidable in the future, in particular with Aitana. When you have time, look into using homoeopathy on all your animals – they respond beautifully and it raises their natural level of health, reducing their susceptibility to various complaints. These gentle, but powerful medicines have saved the lives of all sorts of different creatures over the years, some of which I treated, some which were treated by vets and others. Don’t be put off by the medical fraternity telling you it is dangerous mumbo jumbo – these comments come from people who are ill-informed and have no experience or training. Best of luck for a continued good outcome,

    Liked by 1 person

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