How Carolina Equine Turned an Often Fatal Injury into a Happy Ending: A CEH Success Story

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While Carolina Equine Hospital usually sees horses for treatment out on the farm, occasionally we get the chance to help a donkey in need. It is an extra special day when that happens to be a baby donkey! While most appointments are for regular checkups and vaccines, occasionally we are called to help with equine emergencies and unusual cases. Keep reading to learn more about an unusual and amazing case we got to see recently!

Meet Pi

Pi is an adorable dark brown donkey foal. She is a mini donkey which means she will not grow up to be as large as a standard-size donkey. She can be a little mischievous at times, but as a mini donkey that makes her even cuter! She is very loved by her family, and they are the ones that noticed when she got hurt!

What Made Her Family Call CEH

Pi’s family was down at the barn feeding their animals when they witnessed one of the larger horses step on the back leg of the tiny baby donkey. Equine broken legs usually end in euthanasia because an equine’s bodyweight can’t be supported on three alone.  Pi’s humans knew this and called Carolina Equine Hospital to see if they could help the tiny donkey in any way.

The Big Reveal

Dr. Julia Dietz examined Pi and found Pi’s left hind pastern was very swollen and bent at a horribly unnatural angle.  Dr. Dietz did some X-Rays and they revealed a Salter-Harris fracture, a fracture that passes through the growth plate of the bone. With Pi, this fracture occurred in the second phalanx (pastern bone).

How Dr. Dietz Helped

Dr. Dietz sedated Pi and after numbing the fetlock she applied traction to straighten the limb and pull the fractured bone into correct alignment. Dr. Dietz applied a cast to Pi’s leg and Pi was put on antibiotics and some medicine for pain. Every couple weeks, the cast was changed as little Pi started growing and serial X-Rays revealed that the bone was beginning to heal. 

Pi Update

Pi is now out of her cast and bandage.  Her owners were warned that her left hind leg may not be completely normal as she grows, since a fracture through the growth plate can alter normal bone development, but because Pi is a miniature donkey she can get around quite comfortably with minor abnormalities that could cripple a full-size horse.  She runs and plays now as if she’d never had a broken leg. We expect her to have a happy life as she grows and continues her mischief like a normal baby donk!

Carolina Equine Hospital

With an emergency vet on call 24/7, there is no need to wait if you think your have an equine emergency on your hands! Calling after hours? Give us a call at 336-349-4080 and press 0 when prompted by the machine to be connected to the emergency doctor! 

You can read more about Dr. Julia Dietz in our recently published provider highlight.