This is what worked for my donkey’s persistent LUNGWORMS.

Princess Buttercup Pebbles had persistent lungworms since she arrived over 2 years ago.

My vet in Paso told me that BLM donkeys often have lungworms that they pick up in the BLM holding pens.  Horses get lungworms, too, but they don’t affect horses like they do donkeys.  Donkeys seem to get more severe cases which can be more difficult to resolve.

The cure?  Regular ivermectin paste treatments (at worm cycle intervals) usually does the trick.

But for Princess Buttercup Pebbles, the issue was made worse because she simply refused to take Ivermectin in any form.  (Being a once wild donkey, she has her own mind about certain things.)

The only way we could get the drug into her was to sedate her and then dose her with IV ivermectin.


Princess Buttercup Pebbles is adorable. She’s very friendly… unless you have medicine anywhere in your hands, in your pockets or are just thinking about medicine… if you are any of those things, she will not participate.


When she initially arrived from the BLM pens, her haircoat was shaggy, she was skinny and she had a snotty nose with labored breathing.

When the vet came to check her out, he said she had lungworms, plain as day.

Since PBP was already sedated in order to be examined, he gave her IV ivermectin and told me to repeat with paste during the worm egg cycles – every 2 weeks for 2 months.  That should kill them all.

Initially, she got better… her snotty nose went away and she was breathing much more cleanly.

HOWEVER, after the first dose of paste Ivermectin, she would not take it again, in any form and in any way.  I tried to disguise it in her favorite foods.  Nope.  I tried to train her with a syringe of apple sauce.  Nope.  I tried molasses and apple flavored ivermectin.  Nope.

Sometimes I’d get a little into her when I’d give her a lot of sweet feed with the paste mixed in… but soon enough, she’d figure it out.

So, PBP would get better (no snotty nose and easier breathing) and then she’d get worse again.  When I would give up on the paste, I had to call the vet to come and sedate her for a strong IV dose.

This went on and on for 2 years.   We could never make the infestation totally go away.

It came to the point where this was going to do permanent damage to her lungs.

I took this photo when she first came to me… it was summer and she had a shaggy coat, the first sign. She also had a persistent goopy nose. I could hear her breathing. All signs of lungworms in a donkey


I was considering having her stay in a hospital for a few months so that they could treat her totally and completely with sedation and IV Ivermectin.

But as a last ditch effort, I thought I’d try feed-through wormer.  You know, the kind of pellets that you put on their food daily to keep all worms out.

So, about 8 weeks ago, I purchased my first batch of that product and put it on the prepared nighttime buckets for all three of them in that pen.  (I figured it was best to treat all three, just in case someone got pushed off of their particular bucket.).  I did train the two donkeys to go up into the new pen to get their buckets – and that worked to keep the pushy Shetland out of their food.  He couldn’t be bothered to walk that far to harass them…

She would get better for a month and then the snotty nose would come back or her coat would look course. She was also somewhat boney in her hips… failure to thrive.


I can honestly say that Princess Buttercup Pebbles looks 100% better!  She hasn’t had a snotty nose in about a month (which is unheard of), I cannot hear her breathe, she is putting on better weight and she shed out – finally – and looks great!

For sure, I will keep this up for at least 6 months and maybe forever.

I started giving her consistent, daily feed-through pelleted wormer in her bucket at night. She couldn’t pick it out of the food and she didn’t seem to even notice that it was there!


I’m not a vet and am not suggesting you do what I did.  I’m just telling you what worked for my particular donkey when nothing else would.

I think for anyone out there struggling with a wild donkey who is just too wary for their own good, this might be a solution.

For me, I never wanted to give my horses the FEED-THROUGH wormers because I figured it had to be bad for them to have those chemicals in them at all times.

But, having lungworms is worse.

So, for me, I accidentally on a whim, found a solution for my wild donkey’s lungworms.

My girl, coming in for a selfie with me.


I found this article and it goes into detail on lungworms in donkeys.  It isn’t the same as horses…

Click image to read the article


Feed-through wormers are easily acquired although they can be expensive – but not as expensive as vet bills.

Let me know if this helped you!


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3 comments have been posted...

  1. Calvin48

    Your donkey is adorable. I’m a little confused about the deworming. Can one now buy ivermectin in pellet form? Or did you switch to another class of dewormer? At any rate, I’m glad the pellets are working for your donkey. I’ve heard of lungworm, but I didn’t realize it was such a problem in donkeys.
    I really like and very much appreciate Bunny’s comment.

  2. Bunny

    Spread in the BLM pens, yes. Originally also may become infected from grazing in areas where there is “welfare ranching” of cattle – on public lands, at taxpayer expense – cattle being a reservoir for the parasite and the parasite in various forms able to survive in the environment for a surprising amount of time. That would be those same public lands where the wild burros and wild horses are being rounded up by helicopter, the survivors dumped in pens and then often sold to those who rehome them – from BLM pens to kill pens (NYT reveal). All allegedly to “protect them” but in truth to protect the cattle ranching. Princess Buttercup is indeed very fortunate to have escaped that fate.

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