Butterscotch is a one year old male donkey who was recently abandoned, underweight and malnourished. He was knuckling and dragging his right fore-leg and had what we call a ‘dropped’ elbow. There was some swelling along the humerus or upper arm.
The main considerations for this presentation are bone breakages and nerve injuries. We radio-graphed the long bones of the limb, from the shoulder to the knee, which were all fine. The main nerve for consideration is the Radial nerve which exits the body by the Brachial Plexus and wraps around the outside of the upper arm. Usually nerves get damaged by trauma, mostly falls and banging into objects.
Radial nerve paralysis is time dependent healing and like nerves in the human body, no new nerve cells are produced. It is up to the body to repair the nerves we are born with. This is why we keep Butterscotch as comfortable as possible and hope the body repairs the nerve.
Our treatment plan includes splinting the leg, for support and to help keep function to the muscles. We are carrying out physiotherapy daily to help maintain muscle tone and Butterscotch is on anti-inflammatory medication. Butterscotch is not in any pain with this condition so we hope to see some function returning to the limb over the next 3 weeks.
Butterscotch is very bright and alert. He has a great appetite and he is getting stronger each day here in the sanctuary. Butterscotch is being closely minded by his companion Nugget, another abandoned donkey and both donkeys are enjoying their stay here in the veterinary hospital getting plenty of treats from staff.