condition scoring

Practical feeding and condition scoring for donkeys

Donkeys have evolved to thrive on highly fibrous, poor quality foodstuffs and have evolved as browsers as well as grazers. As such, they have different nutrient requirements with significantly lower energy and protein needs when compared with horses. Dietary management of donkeys is essential when kept in a temperate climate as they are prone to obesity and related disorders. A diet based on fibrous forages and limited grazing is usually sufficient for the majority of donkeys and mules. Specialist feeding is discussed in this article.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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Gatrointestinal parasite burden, body condition and haematological values in equines in the humid tropical areas of Mexico

M. P. Valdez-Cruz
Mariano Hernandez-Gil
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Working equines in Mexico are distributed throughout the territory, but the management practices and the health and welfare conditions differ widely between regions depending on people's customs and specific climate conditions. The Eastern coast of México has an important equine population used for work in rural production systems. Something that owners and animal workers are concerned about is how the gastrointestinal parasite burden affects the equines nutritional status and health. This is because parasite reinfestations are most likely to occur in hot, humid climates. However, there are few reliable data to support this and the lack of information makes it difficult to design treating strategies and extension activities to ensure the health and welfare of equines in these areas. To address this, a trial was designed to determine the prevalence of animals infected with gastrointestinal nematodes, the parasite burdens and their effects on the nutritional status and haematological values of working equines from a tropical area of Mexico. One hundred and twelve equines were randomly selected in five different villages of the area. One sample of faeces and one sample of blood (in a tube containing EDTA) were obtained from every animal. Gastrointestinal parasite burden using the McMaster technique, proportions of nematodes species present through a coproculture, packed cell volume, total plasma proteins, red blood cell count and white blood cell count, were measured. The nutritional status was assessed using body condition score. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics. All calculations were done per species (horses, donkeys and mules) and community (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). Prevalence of infected equines was higher than 90%. The most common nematode species was Strongylus vulgaris. The parasite burden was low to moderate in horses and donkeys, higher in mules; however, it did not affect the body condition, nor the haematological values (P>0.05). Results suggest that in spite of the high prevalence and parasite burdens, equines involved in this trial are not being seriously affected, as shown by the body condition and haematological parameters.

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