Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tragic Death of Mal

I wish I had better news to report. I had to put Mal (our mini donkey jack) down today. I am still reeling over the whole thing.

We had Mal gelded a week ago last Tuesday by the local equine vet. At the time of gelding he also vaccinated Mal. Standard procedure for an unvaccinated (or unknown vaccination history) gelding surgery. Everything seemed to be fine and Mal was his normal self within days. Then this morning (8 days post gelding) when I went out to do chores Mal was not right; stiff, head down, silent, third eyelids up a little. I went up to the house to call the vet. Our first assumption was that it was most likely an infection. I had antibiotics in the house and drew up what the vet recommended over the phone. So, I went to give him that and to take his temp. By the time I got back down to the barn (maybe 15 minutes later) Mal was flat on his side, legs and neck stiff and he was non-responsive. I took his temp and it was normal. Gave the antibiotic anyway and went back to call the vet again. He said he would be right out.

When the vet arrived it was obvious that Mal had tetanus and the vet said that he was too far gone for treatment. Once the tetanus toxin bonds with the nerves it can not be unbonded. I had to let him go. It broke my heart. Mal was a wonderful little donkey and he was very much loved by us all. Poor Inara (his sister) keeps wandering the pasture looking for him.

I had never seen an animal suffer from tetanus before and I hope to never have to again. It is an awful disease. The vet is quite upset as well. He said that in 13 years practice he had never lost an animal from complications from gelding. The practice of vaccinating at the time of gelding is standard. He was more surprised that it happened to a donkey as he said "they are so hardy, they never get sick".

Tonight I am sad for Mal, sad for Inara and sad we lost a beloved part of our family.

In memory of Malcolm the ultimate cookie optimist.


Blessed Wife and Mother said...

Aww....((hugs)) I am so sorry to hear this.

Diana said...

Thanks. It has been a rough few days. I couldn't even blog about it until today (Friday).

Pichinde said...

Oh, I'm so sorry.