A donkey suffering from a form of cancer has received life-saving surgery, thanks to international animal welfare charities, The Donkey Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare.

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

An independent vet examined the large growth on Skye’s chest and diagnosed it as a sarcoid, a kind of skin cancer.

The vet confirmed Skye would need specialist surgery and dedicated aftercare due to the severity of his sarcoid. It was suggested that the only option could be to put Skye to sleep.

A local groom and volunteers looked after Skye and a pony he lived with, after their owner could no longer care for them.

In a desperate effort to save Skye, Emma Norval, a local volunteer who helped look after him, contacted The Donkey Sanctuary to see if they could offer any support.

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, Donkey 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.”

Life-saving surgery for Highlands' donkey
Skye after his surgery. Photo: The Donkey Sanctuary

“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,” said John Burns, Field Officer at World Horse Welfare. “Everyone is really hopeful that Skye will continue to make a full recovery and go on to live in very good health.”

Following surgery, Skye was moved to a holding base funded by The Donkey Sanctuary, where his health is continuing to improve. He has settled in well and is receiving the care that he deserves from his dedicated grooms.

“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,” Emma Norval said.

The Donkey Sanctuary has a team of Donkey Welfare Advisers around the country and they are able to give free support and advice to donkey owners.

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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