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Posted: 9th February 2024

Vet unblocks donkey's stomach with cola
“It was touch and go for a while whether we continued treatment, as the impaction was quite severe” – Jamie Forrest.
Fizzy drink used to treat gastric impaction.

A rescue donkey’s stomach blockage has been successfully treated using 24 litres of cola.

Joey, a fifteen-year-old donkey at The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon, stopped eating after his elderly mother died in November.

Soon afterwards, it was found that he had developed a large gastric impaction. The veterinary team at the charity used an abdominal ultrasound and conducted a gastroscopy to diagnose the problem and he was placed on a restricted diet to stop the impaction from growing bigger.

Jamie Forrest, one of the sanctuary’s veterinary surgeons, said: “Intensive treatment was required to resolve the impaction. As well as pain relief, we flushed Joey’s stomach with cola several times a day to dissolve the solid.

“We used six litres of full-sugar cola a day, spread out over three treatments, for four days, to soften and dissolve the impactions in his stomach so the ingesta could once again travel to his intestine.

“In essence, the cola acted like a drain cleaner. It eats away at the firm matter and eventually softens it to a point where it can pass.”

As well as dissolving the blockage, the full-sugar cola helped reduce the risk of hyperlipaemia. A second gastroscopy, conducted after the four days of treatment, showed the blockage had cleared.

Dr Forrest added: “We are really pleased with Joey’s recovery. It was touch and go for a while whether we continued treatment, as the impaction was quite severe.

“Thankfully, he pulled through. We thought he had the strength to survive the whole time so we persevered with the treatment, and we couldn’t be happier with the result.”

Fizzy drinks such as cola should never be given to a donkey by anyone who is not a qualified veterinary surgeon.

Image © The Donkey Sanctuary

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