Last time I wrote I introduced you to Lucy, a little donkey with a lion heart. Lucy came to us in very poor condition, and worryingly, she was reluctant to eat or drink. The vets who examined Lucy found that she had very poor dental health and required significant dental treatment. That is where Chris Napthine of Yorks Equine Ltd stepped in to help. Chris has over 10 years’ experience in equine dentistry and holds qualifications with British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), British Veterinary Dental Association (BDVA) and is a member of the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians (BAEDT).
He explains why the dental health of donkeys is so important: “Most equines will experience some form of dental problems during their lives. You should have your donkey treated regularly, generally once or twice a year to maintain the health of your donkey’s mouth. Unfortunately many donkeys show no outward signs of pain or discomfort so it is often not until a dental examination that this can be identified and treated. That's why it is important your donkey is examined at least every 12 months by a BAEDT technician who will be able to recommend an appropriate treatment plan and advise accordingly.”
When Chris examined Lucy’s teeth he found a variety of problems which required treatment over several sessions. In addition to abnormal angles and overgrowths which would have made chewing difficult, some of Lucy’s teeth had become displaced and there were numerous diastemata (gaps between the teeth) which were packed with feed in varying stages of decomposition. Chris concluded that the condition of her teeth would have had a detrimental effect on Lucy’s ability to eat or digest food properly which would have contributed to her poor body condition.
Lucy’s determined spirit shone through as she tolerated the extensive nature of her treatment without the need for sedation. Almost immediately there was a difference in her ability to eat, readily accepting a tasty treat (or three) from Chris. Over the coming days and weeks Lucy began drinking more and she was willing to try a variety of different foods. Lucy’s dental treatment is not over yet. At the moment she requires on-going visits every three months and will continue with regular routine examinations in the future.
If you would like to read more on Lucy’s journey please keep your eyes peeled for more blogs coming very soon.
Donkey Dental Facts
- 20% of donkey deaths are due to dental or dental related disease.
- Some dental disorders are amongst the most painful conditions suffered in donkeys.
- Dental disease is the second most common health problem in donkeys.
- Dental disease is preventable with good routine dental care.
If you have a donkey please remember:
- Donkeys remain in better dental health for longer with regular examinations and treatment by a qualified British Association Equine Dental Technician (BAEDT) or vet with specialist dental interest.
- Dental care works best as prevention; if problems become severe, it’s unlikely that they are curable.
- Always ask for a “dental chart” to keep a record of dental care, and an examination at least once a year is required for all donkeys.