Skin Disorders


Derek Knottenbelt. Skin Disorders. Published in Elisabeth D. Svendsen, James Duncan, David Hadrill. September 2008. The Professional Handbook of the Donkey (4th edition).

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For centuries the donkey has been regarded as a robust and willing servant of man, and most veterinarians accept that, as a species, it suffers rather fewer skin diseases than most other domestic animals. However this may be more in the perception than the actuality because the donkey tends to show few signs of cutaneous discomfort. The concept of a skin diseas being a significant factor in the overall health of the animal is not widely appreciated; it is largely viewed as trivial and incidental.

Many of the skin diseases of the donkey (and the horse for that matter) have not been well characterised and so they are often given the names of the 'similar' disorders in humans and other animals. This is probably unjustified and may even be grossly misleading when treatments are sought. Extrapolation from other species only works if the conditions have identical pathophysiology and if the various species have identical treatment requirements and tolerances. In the case of the donkey, little is known and much is assumed. Some of the skin disorders that afflict donkeys in troical climates are very serious both to the donkey itself and to its owners. Zoonotic implications should be considered where fungal skin infections in particular, such as Trichophyton and Microsporum spp. (the causes of dermatophytosis/ringworm) and others such as Cryptococcus spp. and Histoplasma spp. organisms are endemic.