United Kingdom

Guide to common skin disorders in donkeys

Background: Although they are a minority equine species in the UK, donkeys are both much loved companion animals and conversely frequently neglected and suffer poor welfare. Skin disease is a common complaint and often presents at an advanced state due to a number of factors, including inadequate owner knowledge, infrequent checking and grooming, and a lack of concern for the welfare of the affected donkey, alongside donkey-specific factors, such as a difference in hair coat from horses.

Aim of the article: This article covers the main presenting signs that veterinary surgeons see in donkeys with skin disease, and offers guidance on diagnosis and treatment options.

Journal
Volume
43
Issue
6
Start page
318
End page
327
Publication date
Country

A review of laminitis in the donkey

Laminitis is a commonly occurring, painful condition of the foot that can have a major impact on the welfare of affected donkeys. When faced with a donkey suspected to have laminitis, the approach is broadly similar to that in the horse, however there are certain factors unique to donkeys that this article aims to highlight including: the differences in use, behaviour, anatomy, therapy and management.

Publication date
Country

Suspensory ligament desmitis caused by onchocerca sp. in three donkeys

Three donkeys were presented with progressive lameness and distal suspensory ligament breakdown in multiple limbs. Treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs was only partially effective and eventually the donkeys were euthanized due to further progression of the lameness and concerns for their welfare. At necropsy, the distal part of the suspensory ligaments in multiple limbs, including the suspensory ligament branches, was markedly thickened, enlarged, and mottled white and brown on cut section. In one case, adult Onchocerca sp. nematodes were grossly identified embedded within the suspensory ligaments. Histopathologic examination revealed chronic, multifocal to coalescing, moderate to severe, lymphoplasmacytic, eosinophilic, and fibrosing desmitis and tendinitis with intralesional, coiled adult nematodes of Onchocerca sp., accompanied by osseous and cartilaginous metaplasia. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first histopathologic description of suspensory ligament desmitis and tendinitis associated with Onchocerca sp. in donkeys.

Volume
58
Issue
2
Start page
401
End page
404
Publication date
Country

Oesophageal obstruction in a donkey due to mediastinal lymphadenitis caused by mycobacterium avium complex

Mycobacterial infections are rare in horses, donkeys and mules. Although there are a few reports in horses, mycobacterial disease is poorly documented in the donkey. Mycobacterial infection of equine species typically affects the alimentary tract, causing granulomatous enterocolitis resulting in diarrhoea and chronic weight loss, while lymph nodes and liver may also be affected. We now document recurrent oesophageal obstruction, secondary to cranial mediastinal lymphadenitis caused by Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of MAC infection in a donkey in the UK.

Volume
185
Start page
66
End page
71
Publication date
Country

Endoparasite control for donkeys in the UK

The prevalence of endoparasites, their control and clinical relevance in donkeys can often cause confusion and concern to vets and owners alike. While donkeys can be affected by the same parasite species as horses, infection characteristics, presenting signs and symptoms of disease can differ. Donkeys do not always show obvious signs of disease until it is severe so it is important to know what to look out for when clinically assessing a donkey and how best to diagnose potential infection with parasites. There is a limited selection of anthelmintic products available for use in the donkey, so prescribing using the cascade is sometimes warranted. Careful consideration should be given to the choice and frequency of anthelmintic treatments in order to balance controlling disease with preserving anthelmintic efficacy.

Journal
Volume
5
Issue
2
Start page
84
End page
89
Publication date
Country

Working across Europe to improve donkey welfare

The UK public and veterinary profession often think of the equine charity sector as dealing with issues directly related to the UK equine population - overproduction, rehoming, shelter and welfare. However, The Donkey Sanctuary, like many UK-based equine charities, also works in Europe and further afield to try to address a much broader range of issues.

Volume
1796
Start page
298
End page
300
Publication date
Country

Viraemic frequencies and seroprevalence of non-primate hepacivirus and equine pegiviruses in horses and other mammalian species

Non-primate hepacivirus (NPHV), equine pegivirus (EPgV) and Theiler's disease associated virus (TDAV) are newly discovered members of two genera in the Flaviviridae family, Hepacivirus and Pegivirus respectively, that include human hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human pegivirus (HPgV). To investigate their epidemiology, persistence and clinical features of infection, large cohorts of horses and other mammalian species were screened for NPHV, EPgV and TDAV viraemia and for past exposure through serological assays for NPHV and EPgV-specific antibodies. NPHV antibodies were detected in 43% of 328 horses screened for antibodies to NS3 and core antibodies, of which three were viraemic by PCR. All five horses that were stablemates of a viraemic horse were seropositive, as was a dog on the same farm. With this single exception, all other species were negative for NPHV antibodies and viraemia (donkeys (n=100), dogs (n=112), cats (n=131), non-human primates (n=164) and humans (n=362). EPgV antibodies to NS3 were detected in 66.5% of horses, including 11 of the 12 horses that had EPgV viraemia. All donkey samples were negative for EPgV antibody and RNA. All horse and donkey samples were negative for TDAV RNA. By comparing viraemia frequencies in horses with and without liver disease, no evidence was obtained that supported an association between active NPHV and EPgV infections with hepatopathy. The study demonstrates that NPHV and EPgV infections are widespread and enzootic in the study horse population and confirms that NPHV and potentially EPgV have higher frequencies of viral clearance than HCV and HPgV infections in humans.

Volume
95
Issue
8
Publication date
Country

Use of sterile maggots to treat panniculitis in an aged donkey

An aged female donkey developed a severe, localised, suppurative panniculitis secondary to a skin wound. Bacterial culture of swabs taken from the wound gave a profuse growth of multi-drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a profuse growth of Escherichia coli and a moderate growth of beta-haemolytic Streptococcus species. The lesion did not respond to conventional medical and surgical treatment and continued to progress. Six applications of sterile larvae (maggots) of the common greenbottle, Lucilia sericata, were used to debride the wound successfully.

Volume
149
Start page
768
End page
770
Publication date
Keywords
Country

Understanding the attitudes of communities to the social, economic and cultural importance of working donkeys in rural, peri-urban and urban areas of Ethiopia

Working donkeys (Equus africanus asinus) are vital to the development and support of people's livelihoods in rural, peri-urban, and urban areas of Ethiopia. However, despite their critical role in providing transport, food security, and income generation to some of the poorest and most marginalized households, donkey contributions to human livelihoods have been largely unexplored. Donkey users, veterinary surgeons, business owners, and civil servants were interviewed to investigate the role humans play in shaping donkey lives while furthering our understanding of the social and economic impacts of working donkeys to human lives. Findings are discussed through seven guiding themes; donkeys as generators of income, the relationship between donkeys and social status, donkeys and affect, empowerment through donkeys, the role of donkeys in reducing vulnerability and encouraging resilience, donkey husbandry, and gender dynamics all of which gave a broader and richer insight into the value of donkeys. Donkeys are an important support in rural, peri-urban, and urban settings through the creation of economic security, independence, and participation in local saving schemes. In addition, donkeys provide social status, empowerment to marginalized groups such as women and the very poor and provide a sense of companionship. Whether the interviewee was a donkey user or a key informant appeared to influence their views on donkeys and their welfare, as did their location. The variations in views and practices between urban and rural settings suggests that assessing the socioeconomic value of donkeys in different locations within the same area or country is critical, rather than assuming that similar views are held between compatriots. Despite their centrality to many people's lives in Ethiopia, working donkeys often hold lowly status, are misunderstood, and given little husbandry and healthcare.

Volume
7
Issue
60
Publication date
Research output

Toxicity of essential and non-essential oils against the chewing louse

The toxicity of six plant essential oils to the chewing louse, Bovicola (Werneckiella) ocellatus collected from donkeys, was examined in laboratory bioassays. The oils examined were: tea-tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), peppermint (Mentha piperita), eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus Labillardiere), clove bud (Eugenia caryophyllata) and camphor (Cinnamomum camphora). All except camphor oil showed high levels of toxicity, with significant dose-dependent mortality and an LC50 at concentrations of below 2% (v/v). Hundred percent mortality was achieved at concentrations of 5–10% (v/v). Two essential oil components: eugenol and (+)-terpinen-4-ol showed similar levels of toxicity. The data suggest that these botanical products may offer environmentally and toxicologically safe, alternative veterinary pediculicides for the control of ectoparasitic lice.

Volume
93
Issue
2
Start page
831
End page
835
Publication date
Country
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