Influence of dental correction in nociceptive tests response, fecal appearance, body condition score and apparent dry matter digestibility of Zamorano-Leonés donkeys (Equus asinus)

The influence of dental correction on nociceptive (pressure) test responses, fecal appearance, BCS, and apparent digestibility coefficient for DM was studied in 18 Zamorano-Leonés donkeys, an endangered local breed from the Zamora province in Spain. For this purpose, donkeys were divided into 2 homogeneous control and treatment groups, based on age, BCS, and dental findings. On d 1, 45, 90, and 135, BCS and nociceptive test responses were evaluated in all donkeys. Feed and fecal samples were collected from all donkeys for 3 consecutive days, starting at each of the aforementioned days. Apparent digestibility coefficient for DM was estimated, using ADL as an internal marker. A progressive decrease of positive nociceptive test responses was observed from d 1 up to 90 (P < 0.01) in the treatment group. No difference between groups was observed for BCS. However, BCS at d 90 was greater (P = 0.018) than observed on d 1 or 45, indicating a time influence. Concerning apparent digestibility coefficient for DM, there were differences among collection days in apparent digestibility coefficient for DM (P < 0.05). No differences in fecal appearance were observed between treatments or collection days. This study highlighted the importance of regular dental care for not only Zamorano-Leonés donkeys but also the equid population, in general, to improve their welfare.

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