A pair of “grossly” overweight miniature donkeys with twisted 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 Welfare Adviser Jenna Goldby first arrived, she could see that both donkeys were in an obese body condition and needed urgent veterinary attention.

Thirteen-year-old Penny’s hooves were in a “horrendous state” and showed signs of laminitis. Her companion, a 10-year-old donkey called Chelsea, also had overgrown hooves.

Jenna said: “I was mainly concerned about Penny’s hind hooves, as they had a considerable twist that resulted in her walking on the outside of the hoof.

“The deformity of the hooves much have been causing incredible pressure on the ligaments and tendons in Penny’s legs.

“Penny’s front hooves were also overgrown and showed abnormalities that are commonly associated with laminitis. I was concerned she was in pain, so it was important that she was examined by a vet as soon as possible.”

Jenna was concerned that Penny and Chelsea were both extremely overweight after observing that the donkeys had large rolls of fat covering their necks and pendulous bellies.

The pair were living with a group of other donkeys, all of whom were overweight. But as soon as Jenna spotted Penny and Chelsea, she realised there were other issues to address as well as obesity, and called an external vet to the site.

The vet carried out an examination of Penny and Chelsea and explained the severity of Penny’s hoof abnormalities would result in her requiring years of farriery care to correct the deformities and continue to keep her hooves balanced.

Jenna discussed Penny and Chelsea’s ongoing care needs with the owner, and it was agreed it would be in the donkeys’ best interests for them to be relinquished into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary.

Penny and Chelsea are now progressing well at the charity’s Brookfield Farm near Honiton, Devon and have a home for life in the care of The Donkey Sanctuary.

They have both gradually lost the excess weight under the guidance of a vet and have a healthy body condition.

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

Have you heard about Your Horse’s #FitNotFat campaign, which is supported by Dodson & Horrell? Equine obesity is an enormous welfare problem and we’re on a mission to provide owners and riders with the knowledge, skills and information you need to keep your horse in tip-top health. It could be life saving! Find out more

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