Donkey Who May Have Had a Stroke or Has a Brain Tumour
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Jenny Wood
Posted on: March 31, 2008

We have a donkey who may have had a stroke or brain tumour. She has had 3 rounds of steriods and is at the moment on the 3rd one which will last for seven days.Before medication, she would not eat at all and would circle all the time regardless of whether we called her or were holding on to her, however since the second round of steroids she has started to eat very well (though it is only hay and concentrates but will only eat if fed by hand). Since the 3rd round of steroids began she has started to eat hay by herself and grass if we pick it and hand it to her. We have just started to feed her a product by Equine Herbals in the UK that contains valerian which we are hoping will calm the inflammation in the brain and stop the circling from coming back as we are leaning more towards believing she has had a stroke.... are there any other herbal products or certain herbs that you think could possibly help us?

The symptoms you describe could indicate quite a number of different causes so without knowing more or hearing what your veterinarian has to say it is unfortunately, very difficult to comment. However, I can tell you a bit about valerian. This herb (Valeriana officinalis) does has an effect on the nervous system and has traditionally been used in cases of epilepsy. With the ability to act as a sedative, hypnotic, antispasmodic, anticonvulsant as well as a stimulating tonic, it is no wonder various North American aboriginal groups historically employed valerian for seizures in babies, amongst other ailments. It also has a history of use during the European Middle Ages as well as in the early 1900s in North America to control seizure activity and epilepsy although it has been noted that this effect on humans may not be the same in animals (Milks, 1949). In humans, valerian can be inconsistent. Some people find it works as a lovely sedative, others have reported they found it "sped them up". Do keep an eye on your donkey to see if she has any odd effects. Dosing of valerian is as follows: horses: 30 to 60 ml per day of the fluid extract or 1 to 2 ounces of the dried herb per day. Other herbs that have been used as anticonvulsants include: Saint John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum), skullcap (Scutellaria laterifolia) and baical skullcap (Scultellaria baicalensis). Please check with a qualified practitioner before you administer any herbs to your donkey.

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