Donkey on the mend after charities step in to provide ‘life-saving’ sarcoid surgery

  • A donkey with a severe sarcoid is recovering after welfare charities stepped in to get him the specialist veterinary care he needed to survive.

    Skye, an eight-year-old skewbald who was living on the grounds of a distillery in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands, had a large sarcoid on his chest that needed urgent veterinary attention.

    A local groom and volunteers looked after Skye and a pony he lived with, after their owner could no longer care for them. They were told by a vet that Skye would need specialist surgery and dedicated aftercare, owing to the severity of the sarcoid. A combination of all these factors meant that it was suggested the “only option” could be to put the donkey down.

    Emma Norval, one of the volunteers, contacted the Donkey Sanctuary to ask if they could help.

    The Donkey Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare worked together to explore other treatment options for Skye.

    “Due to the nature of Skye’s sarcoid, the only treatment option available was to remove it via laser treatment,” said Jenna Goldby, welfare adviser at the Donkey Sanctuary.

    “It was not going to be possible to remove it on site, so World Horse Welfare transported him to the University of Glasgow, School of Veterinary Medicine, for the operation.”

    World Horse Welfare field officer John Burns added: “Because the sarcoid was on Skye’s chest the operation had to take place with him standing. Under the expert care of Professor David Sutton, the tumour was removed using laser treatment.

    “Everyone is really hopeful that Skye will continue to make a full recovery and go on to live in very good health.”

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    The donkey was moved to a holding base, funded by the Donkey Sanctuary, after his surgery and his health is “continuing to improve”.

    “This is a great outcome for Skye and I hope he goes on to live a happy and enriched life,” added Jenna. “The Donkey Sanctuary has a team of donkey welfare advisers around the country and we’re here to offer free support and advice to donkey owners.”

    Emma said: “If it had not been for such a quick response from the Donkey Sanctuary I don’t think the lovely, gentle Skye would be here today. He is such a lovely boy.”

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