Case control study to investigate risk factors for impaction colic in donkeys in the UK

Impaction colic is the single most common type of colic diagnosed in a large population of donkeys (more than 2000 animals) at The Donkey Sanctuary, UK and the fatality rate from the disease is high. Here we identify risk factors for impaction colic in this population during 2006 using an unmatched case control study. There were 71 cases of impaction colic and multivariable analysis identified a number of variables associated with the disease. Management factors that increased the risk of impaction included paper bedding, feeding of concentrates, limited access to pasture and increasing number of carers. In addition health variables that were associated with an increased risk of impaction colic were weight loss, recent vaccination and a number of dental abnormalities. This study has identified variables which may help to identify donkeys at high risk of impaction colic; those with a history of weight loss and with concurrent dental pathology. Furthermore the study has also identified a number of variables that may be targeted to reduce the incidence of impaction colic in this donkey population, such as modification of concentrate feeding practices and pasture access.

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