The donkey suffers from a similar range of respiratory diseases as the horse; however, there are a number of subtle variations, knowledge of which can influence the success of treatment. As an animal adapted to a semi-arid terrain, there are variations in physiology, anatomy and disease susceptibility. The nonathletic nature of the donkey means that delayed presentation is common with many diseases and, while there may be enhanced resistance to some transboundary and parasitic diseases, there may be equal or increased severity of illness to some endemic diseases, e.g. equine influenza. Donkeys frequently live to geriatric ages and the clinician should be aware of the increased risk of conditions such as tracheal collapse, fibrosing pneumonia and neoplasia in this age group. As with any condition that causes stress and inappetance, respiratory disease in the donkey may be complicated by hyperlipaemia and good nursing care is an essential component of treatment.