Sunday, December 26, 2010

Montana Marathon: Farriers and Veterinarians Trim 31 Donkeys' Hooves After Years Of Neglect

The struggling Montana Large Animal Sanctuary and Rescue gave up. It gave up trying to go on taking care of more than 1000 hooved animals it had taken in. There are camels and llamas and horses and donkeys and cows by the dozens.

According to news reports, they ran out of money, then they ran out of hay and now the animals have been rescued from the rescue. They are in temporary shelters while organizations in the state try to figure out what they will do to re-home them.

What these animals do have, in excess, however, is hoof. It's been years since the donkeys, at least, have been trimmed.

That changed this week when the donkeys were moved and a group of vets and farriers joined forces to get their hooves back to some semblance of normal. That, of course, wasn't easy. Some may be suffering from laminitis. All may be sore after trimming, whether from the trimming itself or the redistribution of load on tendons and ligaments. Donkeys are also prone to white line disease, which would require medication if they are affected.

But the farriers just kept on trimming.

According to the television news report, each hoof was radiographed before it was trimmed, and a farrier spent an average of 15 minutes sawing and then trimming each hoof.

The Montana Animal Care Association, Montana Horse Sanctuary, Montana Office of the Humane Society of the United States and Western Montana Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation all organized the effort to help the donkeys.

It's interesting that about 75 inquiries have already been received to adopt the donkeys, which will be going to new homes in pairs to lessen the stress of having been in a herd for so long. Their plight--and their pain--touched a lot of people.

Donations for the animals can be sent to: Western Montana Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation, P.O. Box 1168, Corvallis, MT 59828 (indicate "for donkeys" on check).

To help the horses, please contact Jane Heath, Montana Horse Sanctuary executive director, via email: They'll also fix you up with a camel. Or a llama. Or...

Thanks to, the website for Channel 18 in Missoula, Montana, all the volunteer organizations, and all the veterinarians and farriers who worked on this rescue and the hoof trimming marathon. Special thanks to anyone who takes in one of these animals and gives it a home, at last.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to
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