When vets first examined the growth on Skye the donkey’s chest, they feared he would have to be put down.
But thanks to two dedicated charities, the eight-year-old – often seen grazing in the grounds of a Fort William distillery – is on the road to recovery.
A local vet was contacted after a large growth was spotted on Skye’s chest, which was found to be sarcoid, a kind of skin cancer.
The vet warned that the donkey may have to be put to sleep or undergo specialist surgery and dedicated aftercare.
A close call
Both Skye and another donkey he lived with were taken in by a local groom and volunteers. Determined to do what she could to save him, volunteer Emma Norval contacted The Donkey Sanctuary for help.
She 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.”
The charity teamed up with World Horse Welfare to organise treatment for Skye, and he was transported to Glasgow University’s vet school for laser treatment.
Jenna Goldby, donkey welfare adviser at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “Due to the nature of Skye’s sarcoid, the only treatment option available was to remove it via laser treatment. 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.”
John Burns, field officer at World Horse Welfare, said: “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.”
Road to recovery
After surgery, Skye was moved to a holding base funded by The Donkey Sanctuary. He has settled in well and is being taken care of by a team of dedicated groomers.
Ms Goldby reminded donkey owners that help and support is always available.
She said: “This is a great outcome for Skye and I hope he goes on to live a happy and enriched life. 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.”