colic

Emergency management for donkeys and mules

This article provides an overview of initial assessment and management of common emergency presentations in donkeys and mules. The principles are similar to those in horses (and ponies), but clinicians must be aware of differences in recognition of signs of pain/disease, approach to handling, pharmacology of some drugs, and subtle differences in the physiology and local anatomy in donkeys and mules. The epidemiology of common disease presentations will vary between pet/companion or working/farmed donkeys and mules. Regular dental checks, deworming, vaccination, and monitoring of behavior and quality of life are important aspects of preventive care.

Volume
37
Issue
2
Start page
495
End page
513
Publication date

Idiopathic typhlocolitis in 40 aged donkeys

Typhlocolitis was diagnosed in 40 aged donkeys at routine post mortem examinations subjected to euthanasia for colic-related clinical signs at The Donkey Sanctuary. Gross pathological changes included oedema, ulceration and haemorrhage involving the caecum and ventral colon. Histopathology indicated endoparasite and bacterial associated inflammation in 20 and 11 cases, respectively. Bacterial culture in 18 cases did not yield a definite aetiological agent. Other management and stress related factors were looked at to identify obvious risk factors. This report describes the clinical, biochemical and haematological parameters and pathological changes observed in 40 donkeys diagnosed with typhlocolitis.

Volume
22
Issue
2
Start page
553
End page
57
Publication date

Gastrointestinal disorders of donkeys and mules

A review of common gastrointestinal disorders of donkeys and mules is presented. Clinically relevant aspects of donkey behavior, anatomy, and physiology are highlighted. Diagnosis, management, and treatment of conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract from stomach to rectum, including liver and pancreas, are discussed.

Published online ahead of print.

Volume
35
Issue
3
Start page
419
End page
432
Publication date
Country

Expression of PGP 9.5 by enteric neurons in horses and donkeys with and without intestinal disease

Intestinal motility disorders are an important problem in horses and donkeys and this study was carried out in order to evaluate the enteric neurons in animals with and without intestinal disease. Surplus intestinal tissue samples were collected from 28 horses undergoing exploratory laparotomy for colic. In addition, surplus intestinal samples from 17 control horses were collected immediately following humane destruction for clinical conditions not relating to the intestinal tract. Similar samples were also collected during routine post-mortem examinations from 12 aged donkeys; six animals were humanely destroyed for conditions related to the intestinal tract, while the remaining six were humanely destroyed for other reasons including dental and orthopaedic diseases. Tissue samples were fixed in formalin and immunohistochemical labelling was performed targeting the enteric neurons using a polyclonal antibody specific for the neuronal marker PGP 9.5. The distribution and density of neuronal networks were assessed qualitatively and semiquantitatively. There was strong PGP 9.5 expression in both the horse and donkey samples and labelling was detected throughout the tissue sections. In both species, PGP 9.5-immunoreactive nerve fibres were detected in all layers of the intestinal tract, both in large and small intestinal samples. Networks of enteric neurons were present in the donkey with a similar distribution to that seen in the horse. There was no demonstrable difference in enteric neuronal density and distribution in the groups of animals with intestinal disease compared with those without, apart from two (out of 28) horses with intestinal disease that showed a marked reduction in PGP 9.5 immunoreactivity. Apart from these two animals, this total cohort analysis differs from some previously observed findings in horses with intestinal disease and may therefore reflect the different pathophysiological processes occurring in varying intestinal conditions resulting in colic both in the donkey and the horse.

Publication date
Country

Epidemiology of impaction colic in donkeys in the UK

Background

Colic (abdominal pain) is a clinical condition of serious concern affecting the welfare and survival of donkeys at The Donkey Sanctuary in the UK. One of the most commonly reported causes is due to impacted ingesta in the large intestine ("impaction colic"). However little is known about the incidence of, or risk factors for, this condition. Here we describe the epidemiology of colic in donkeys, specifically impaction colic. We focus on temporal aspects of the disease and we identify environmental and management related risk factors for impaction colic in UK donkeys.

Results

There were 807 colic episodes in the population of 4596 donkeys between January 1st 2000 and March 31st 2005. The majority (54.8%) of episodes were due to a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of impaction of the gastrointestinal tract. The mortality risk for all colics (51.1%) was higher than reported in other equids. The incidence rate of all colics (5.9 episodes per 100 donkeys per year) and of impaction colic (3.2 episodes) was similar to that in horses. A retrospective matched case-control study of all impaction colics from January 2003 (193) indicated that older donkeys, those fed extra rations and those that previously suffered colic were at increased risk of impaction. Lighter body weight, musculo-skeletal problems, farm and dental disease were also significantly associated with a diagnosis of impaction colic.

Conclusion

To our knowledge this is the first study to estimate the incidence rate of colic in a large population of donkeys in the UK. In contrast to other equids, impaction was the most commonly reported cause of colic. We identified several risk factors for impaction colic. Increasing age, extra rations and previous colic are known risk factors for colic in other equids. Results support the hypothesis that dental disease is associated with impaction colic. Musculo-skeletal problems may be associated with colic for various reasons including change in amount of exercise or time at pasture. Other associated factors (weight and farm) are the subject of further research. Identification of risk factors for impaction colic may highlight high risk donkeys and may allow intervention strategies to be introduced to reduce the incidence of the disease.

Volume
3
Issue
1
Publication date
Country

Clinical dental examinations of 357 donkeys in the UK. Part 2: epidemiological studies on the potential relationships between different dental disorders, and between dental disease and systemic disorders

Dental disease has been shown to be a risk factor for weight loss and colic in horses. No extensive clinical studies in donkeys have investigated the potential relationship between different dental disorders, or between dental disease and systemic disorders.

Objectives

To determine possible associations between dental disease and body condition score, weight loss, the need for supplemental feeding and prevalence of colic in donkeys of all ages, and to gain a better understanding of the pathogenesis of dental disease by the determination of associations between different dental disorders.

Methods

A prospective cross-sectional analysis of clinical dental examinations of 357 donkeys in The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth was performed. Other epidemiological factors such as estimated age group, body condition score, weight loss, medical history and supplemental feeding were also recorded, and multiple regression analyses were performed to determine possible associations.

Results

Donkeys from older age groups were more likely to have dental disease, poor body condition score and suffered previous colic episodes. The presence of dental disease was also significantly associated with weight loss, colic, low body condition score and the need for supplemental feeding. The presence of diastemata, periodontal disease, wave mouth, smooth mouth and step mouth are frequently associated with the presence of other dental disorders.

Conclusions

In addition to oral-related pain, dental disease can cause significant systemic disorders and so has increased welfare implications in donkeys. Some dental disorders promote the development of other types of dental abnormalities and thus increase the severity of dental disease in individual animals.

Potential significance

Effective treatment of dental disorders slows down the progression of dental disease and decreases the risk of developing some medical disorders such as colic and weight loss that are associated with dental disease.

Volume
41
Issue
4
Start page
395
End page
400
Publication date
Country

Dietary management to improve the gastrointestinal health of the donkey

Faith A. Burden
Nikki Stradling
Presentation date

The Donkey Sanctuary is a welfare organisation which cares for over 2500 donkeys. Donkeys may require additional feeding due to dental disease, ill health or previous neglect. Research in 2005 highlighted that impaction colics (IC) were a significant cause of mortality in resident donkeys (50 cases, 16% of total euthanasias or deaths) and gastric ulceration (GU) was common in donkeys examined post mortem (PM) (41%). Further studies established that feeding practices were contributing to the incidence of IC and GU. Cox et al.1, (2007) demonstrated that donkeys fed concentrate rations were at an increased risk of developing IC (Odds Ratio=2.5, P<0.001). Research in to GU by Burden et al.2, (2009) showed an increased risk of donkeys developing GU when fed cereal concentrate rations (OR=2.4, P<0.001).

Feeding practices were changed from 2008 onwards; prior to this cereal-based rations were fed in meals to donkeys requiring additional feed. They were replaced with fibre-based concentrates fed ad libutum or in small meals. The incidence of GU and IC have been monitored since these changes through PM examination of all animals that die or are euthanased. Prevalence at PM of IC in 2011(5% (n=13)) was significantly lower (P<0.001) than in 2005 (16% (n=50)), univariable logistic regression analysis indicated that donkeys fed concentrate rations are no longer at a greater risk of IC (P>0.05) when compared with those not fed concentrates. Active GU was seen in 7% (n=25) of donkeys at PM in 2011 compared to 41% in 2005, Univariable logistic regression analysis indicated that donkeys fed fibre-based concentrate rations were at no greater risk of developing GU than those not fed concentrates (P>0.05). During this time period the only significant management changes made were those related to feeding; however the effect of other variables on the prevalence of GU and IC at PM warrants further investigation.

Country
Published as conference proceedings

A comprehensive approach to minimise the fatal effects of tetanus and colic in donkeys of Ethiopia

E. Bojia
Feseha Gebreab
Alemayehu Fanta
G. Ayele
Mersha Tesfaye
Andrew F. Trawford
Presentation date

Retrospective analysis of the clinic database between 2003-2005 indicated that tetanus (27 cases), colic (134), rabies (7), strangles (17), hyena bite (429), dystocia (39), hernia (27) and car accidents are the major causes of direct mortality in donkeys of Central Ethiopia. The case fatality rates of donkeys affected by these diseases were: tetanus 22%, colic 27%, dystocia 15%, strangles 12%, hernia 11%, hyena bite 7% and rabies 100%, in clinical intervention sites of the Donkey Sanctuary. In the non-intervention areas the mortality rates are expected to be higher as there would be no treatment intervention. In this paper the two major causes of mortality: tetanus and colic are discussed. In the project in Ethiopia, treatments of advanced cases of tetanus following standard procedures have been successful. Of 27 cases treated 21 have been cured. The treatment has, however, been expensive, costing the project an average of 1400 Eth Birr per donkey (mature donkey costs 300-400 Eth Birr) and requiring a long period of hospitalisation. In an ideal situation, prophylactic immunisation is the best option. Economic realities however prohibit such an option from being feasible in countries like Ethiopia. An extension system and strategy that focus on the prevention of wounds using proper harnesses/saddles and institution of a sound hoof care programme is the option in mind. Colic characteristics are: gastric impaction 8%, obstruction of small intestines 7%, colonic impactions 19%, flatulent colic 23%, enterolithiasis/foreign bodies 24%, throboembolism due to strongylosis and undiagnosed cases 19%. Free access to mouldy or coarse feed, ingestion of polythene bags, fertiliser sacks and used fabrics of nylon clothes were the major causes. Common sites of lodgement for enteroliths were the proximal portion of the transverse colon, transverse and small colons. Enterolith/foreign body was often diagnosed in pregnant donkeys with colic. Few cases were relieved by surgery. A considerable number of the enteroliths were removed by manual traction. Veterinary intervention alone will do little to alleviate such problems. The use of school children to collect polyethylene bags and fertiliser sacks, improve farmers' awareness of the risk being posed by these materials and that of braided nylon ropes. Encouraging farmers to prevent donkeys from grazing at waste disposal sites is also another preventive measure that can be practised against colic. Extension and education programmes for owners should pay particular attention to these issues.

Country
Published as conference proceedings
Publication date

Colic in the donkey

The donkey is a unique species of equine, with certain specific variations and adaptations that differ from its cousin the horse. The donkey is used by humans as a pack and draft animal in areas of the world where its ability to cope with low‚Äźquality fiber and harsh conditions have excluded the horse. This chapter highlights the differences in anatomy and particularly physiology that have enabled the donkey to fulfill these roles. One of the consequences of being equipped to survive in areas of food scarcity is the tendency to deposit adipose if conditions are reversed. This fact, combined with insulin resistance, leads donkeys rapidly to become metabolically compromised and develop hyperlipemia as a response to stress and sudden reduction in appetite. The consequence is that many donkeys with colic must also be treated for hyperlipemia, which may have a higher mortality rate than the primary condition. Pain behaviors in the donkey may be more subtle than those in the horse and therapeutically there are differences in drug metabolism between donkeys and horses. This chapter summarizes the types of colic that occur in the donkey in relation to anatomic location and as a consequence of management and environmental factors.

Chapter number
38
Start page
471
End page
487
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