United Kingdom

Spatial cognition and perseveration by horses, donkeys and mules in a simple A-not-B detour task

Citation

Britta Osthaus, Leanne Proops, Ian Hocking, Faith A. Burden. December 2012. Spatial cognition and perseveration by horses, donkeys and mules in a simple A-not-B detour task. Animal Cognition.

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Publication date: 
28 December 2012
Journal: 
Animal Cognition
DOI number: 
DOI 10.1007/s10071-012-0589-4
Abstract

We investigated perseveration and detour behaviour in 36 equids (Equus caballus, E. asinus, E. caballus x E. asinus) and compared these data to those of a previous study on domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). The animals were required to make a detour through a gap at one end of a straight barrier in order to reach a visible target. After one, two, three or four repeats (A trials), the gap was moved to the opposite end of the barrier (B trials). We recorded initial deviations from the correct solution
path and the latency to crossing the barrier. In the A trials, mules crossed the barrier significantly faster than their parental species, the horses and donkeys. In the B trials, following the change of gap location, all species showed a reduction in performance. Both dogs and horses exhibited significant spatial perseveration, going initially to the previous gap location. Donkeys and mules, however, performed at chance level. Our results suggest that hybrid vigour in mules extends to spatial abilities.

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The evaluation of African and UK bioactive plant extracts for the control of equid gastrointestinal nematodes

Citation

Laura Peachey, Gina L. Pinchbeck, Claire Scantlebury, Gebre Tefera, Mulugeta Getachew, D. Etana, Faith A. Burden, Andrew F. Trawford, Jacqui. B. Matthews, Jane Hodgkinson. The evaluation of African and UK bioactive plant extracts for the control of equid gastrointestinal nematodes. Presented at International Conference on Equine Infectious Diseases IX. (21 October - 26 October 2012). Kentucky, USA.

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Date presented: 
Tuesday 23 October 2012
Abstract

In the developed world the control of equid gastrointestinal (GI) nematodes, in particular cyathostomins, is increasingly challenging due the threat of anthelmintic resistance. In developing countries such as Ethiopia despite high parasite burdens, access to genuine anthelmintic treatment is limited. In both situations there is a need for alternative treatment and management regimens for effective parasite control and consequently there has been increasing interest in the use of bioactive plant extracts (BPEs) [1]. This study identified candidate plants in the UK and Ethiopia and evaluated their in vitro efficacy against cyathostomin populations derived from donkeys. A participatory rural appraisal (PRA) approach was used to identify five ethnoveterinary medicines for use in donkeys in Ethiopia. In the UK three plants were identified following extensive review of literature citing efficacy against GI nematodes of other host species and two extracts were provided courtesy of Prof Jerzy Behnke, University of Nottingham. Hydro-alcoholic extraction of dried plant material was carried out for the eight extracts prior to reconstitution in both water and DMSO. Efficacy of each extract was evaluated by egg hatch assay (EHA) and larval migration assay (LMA) using eggs and larvae recovered from the faeces of donkeys at the Donkey Sanctuary, UK. Dose response curves were produced and ED-50 values were calculated using probit analysis. Of the five Ethiopian plant extracts tested, four showed efficacy in the EHA and/or LMA. The two most efficacious were Acacia nilotica and Rumex abyssinicus in the EHA with ED-50 values of 0.72mg/ml and 1.29mg/ml respectively. Of the five UK extracts four showed efficacy in the EHA and/or LMA. The two most efficacious were Carica papaya (papaya) in the LMA and Allium sativum (garlic) in the EHA with ED-50 values of 18.9µM and 0.65mg/ml respectively. The two BPEs most efficacious in vivo for Ethiopia and the UK are to be carried forward to in vivo trials. This study has demonstrated in vitro efficacy of nine plant extracts against cyathostomins. There is evidence in the literature that these plant extracts show efficacy both in vitro and in vivo against GI nematodes in other species. Therefore these results have identified potential alternatives to synthetic anthelmintics for the treatment of cyathostomins that require further investigation.

[1] Githiori JB, Athanasiadou S, Thamsborg SM. Use of plants in novel approaches for control of gastrointestinal helminths in livestock with emphasis on small ruminants. Vet Para 2006;139, 308–320.

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Drug Resistant Cyathostomins in Donkey Herds; Lessons in Management for All Equids

Citation

Andrew F. Trawford, Faith A. Burden. Drug Resistant Cyathostomins in Donkey Herds; Lessons in Management for All Equids. Presented at International Conference on Equine Infectious Diseases IX. (21 October - 26 October 2012). Kentucky, USA.

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Date presented: 
Sunday 23 October 2011
Abstract

The Donkey Sanctuary has over 2500 donkeys on its farms in the UK. Endoparasite control in these herds has been a major focus for the last 10 years. Monitoring of the herds has identified significant levels of anthelmintic resistance in the cyathostomins parasitising the donkey herds. Lack of efficacy of ivermectin, moxidectin, pyrantel and fenbendazole has been identified on multiple sites and in a number of cases treatment of donkeys harbouring such parasites is becoming increasingly challenging. Changes in management practices and approach to parasite treatment is discussed. Research to establish the extent of drug resistance and clinical significance of parasitism in donkeys is of primary concern; projects have focussed on identification of drug resistance, impacts of pasture management, validation of thresholds of faecal egg counts for treatment and alternatives to anthelmintics. Significant changes in management practices have been based upon results of these studies and new ideas and techniques are being developed. Treatment of all donkeys is carried out on the basis of a strongyle faecal egg count which is carried out on a 4-weekly basis throughout the year. Preliminary data and clinical experience has shown that increasing the FEC treatment threshold for healthy, mature donkeys to ≥ 1000 strongyle epg is sufficient to control clinical disease whilst reducing pasture contamination. Application of new treatment thresholds have reduced the reliance on chemical treatment. The mean number of anthelmintic treatments per year per animal was one in 2011; this is a significant reduction from previous dosing regimes where animals would be treated a minimum of four times per year. Animals are monitored frequently with problematic herds being 100% sampled every four weeks; such monitoring allows individualised treatment programmes and highlights reduced egg reappearance periods early. Reduced ERPs are investigated immediately with suspect animals undergoing a faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) at the next treatment. Failed FECRTs trigger an alternative approach to treatment and further investigation. It is evident that some individual cases are becoming increasingly difficult to treat effectively; future trials of combinations of anthelmintics are being considered. Effective parasite control has also led to an increased emphasis on pasture management; dung is closely managed and carefully composted. Pasture is also rested in 6 month blocks with mixed species grazing instigated where possible. Good pasture management practices produce significant drops in pasture larval counts and is the primary mechanism used to reduce parasitism. Research and practical experience has emphasised the importance of good pasture management, treatment based upon faecal egg counts and routine assessment of efficacy of treatment. Researching and trialling higher dosing threshold has also led to significant decreases in the reliance of the organisation on anthelmintics with no recorded clinical effects. The lessons learnt from management of these large herds of donkeys may provide salient and important foundations for future equid herds that undoubtedly will experience similar problems in the future.

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A novel approach to pain recognition in donkeys

Citation

Gabriela Olmos, Faith A. Burden. A novel approach to pain recognition in donkeys. Presented at 14th World Congress on Pain, Sattelite Symposia: Pain and Pain Management in Non-Human Species. (27 August - 31 August 2012). Milan, Italy.

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Date presented: 
Sunday 26 August 2012
Abstract

Pain due lesions and clinical conditions is one of the main welfare concerns of the more than 42 millions donkeys that presently exist in the world. Yet, the knowledge to gauge pain in donkeys is lacking, misunderstood and/or not validated (Ashley, 2005).

Pain (yes/no/uncertain) and its severity (VAS; no pain=0 to worst pain=100mm) was assessed in 403 donkeys’ ante-mortem (ATM) and post-mortem (PTM). Also behaviours/signs (BS) and pain related lesions (PRL) were assessed ATM and PTM, respectively. Using principal component analysis the more than 53 BS and 238 PRL observed were narrowed to 58 biologically meaningful component or groups (14 BS and 44 PRL components, respectively). Components were used as risk factors in multiple regression analysis to identify which BS and/or PRL are commonly used in clinician’s (veterinary/pathologist) decision making process to determine whether a donkey ‘is’ (i.e. ATM) or ‘was’ (i.e. PTM) in pain and its severity (mild to severe). Furthermore, multiple correlations were made to understand which BS relate significantly with specific PRL and how.

A cross tabulation between pain ATM and PTM, where pain related lesions are used as a quasi-gold standard of pain assessment; identify that 2 in 10 donkeys are wrongly assumed as in NO-PAIN. Moreover, only 43% of the donkey observations are used by clinicians to make their opinion on donkey pain and its severity (i.e. 7 BS and 18 PRL components were significantly associated with pain as stated by clinicians). Yet, multiple correlations showed 20 plausible biologically meaningful relationships between BS and PRL; some currently not used by clinicians.

This methodology, previously successfully used in humans (Gregory, 2010) is novel to donkey veterinary medicine and warrants further research to consolidate findings. Nonetheless, the achieved correlation list of behaviours vs. pathologies is a significant work with valid applications in donkey pain identification and prognosis.

Ashley FH, Waterman-Pearson AE, Whay HR (2005) Behavioural assessment of pain in horses and donkeys: application to clinical practice and future studies, Equine Vet J, 37(6), 565 - 575.

Gregory NG (2010) Relationships between pathology and pain severities: a review. Animal Welfare 19, 437-448.

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The effect of pasture restriction on dry matter intake by foraging donkeys in the UK

Citation

Stephanie J. Wood, David Smith, Catherine J. Muir, J. Oliver, Derek Cuddeford. October 2006. The effect of pasture restriction on dry matter intake by foraging donkeys in the UK. Presented at 5th International Colloquium on Working Equines. (30 October - 2 November 2006). Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Date presented: 
Monday 30 October 2006
Abstract

Measuring daily food intake of foraging animals is essential if accurate feeding rations are to be implemented. The alkane technique, which has recently been validated in equines, now provides the opportunity to measure intake at pasture. The aims of this study were to determine the effects of herbage mass and grazing time allowance on dry matter intakes in mature donkeys in the UK. The effect of grazing time allowance on diet composition was also measured. Two study periods took place; period 1 when pasture was sparse (herbage mass 133.1±10 g dry matter/m2) and period 2 when pasture was more abundant (herbage mass 284.5±17.2 g dry matter/m2). Eighteen mature donkeys, male and female, were selected for the study and split into three grazing groups. Groups 1 and 2 were restricted to 8 and 12 hours grazing time per day, respectively. Group 3 was allowed 23 hours grazing time daily. Access to a yarded area and shelter was available to all donkeys during grazing periods. Barley straw was fed ad libitum to all donkeys and was available at all times. Each donkey was administered with 150 mg per day of an n-alkane marker Dotriacontane (C32) in the form of a labelled wheat biscuit fed three times daily for the 12 days of each study period. During period 1 grazing time allowance had no significant effect on daily DMI although the donkeys with 23 hours access did consume more than donkeys with only 12 and 8 hours grazing access (2.61, 2.54 and 2.26 kg, respectively). The proportion of grass and straw comprising daily intake was affected by grazing time allowance (P<0.05). Grass comprised 18% of daily intake for the 8 and 12-hour groups and 11% in the diet of the 23-hour group, although this difference was not significant. During period 2 daily DMI remained unaffected by grazing time allowance. The proportions of grass and straw within the diet were significantly affected (P<0.001), grass comprised 25 and 29% of daily intake for the 8 and 12-hour groups but made up 41% of daily intake of the 23-hour group. These results show that grazing time allowance has little effect on overall DMI but when given the opportunity donkeys increase their grass intake.

Proceedings
Publisher: 
The Brooke
Publication date: 
30 October 2006

Seasonal variation of digestible energy requirements of mature donkeys in the UK

Citation

Stephanie J. Wood, David Smith, Catherine J. Muir, Derek Cuddeford. October 2006. Seasonal variation of digestible energy requirements of mature donkeys in the UK. Presented at 5th International Colloquium on Working Equines. (30 October - 2 November 2006). Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Date presented: 
Monday 30 October 2006
Abstract

At present there are no published feeding guidelines specific to donkeys. Current recommendations are to feed 0.75 of horse energy needs on a body weight basis. However, it has been shown that donkeys have a greater digestive efficiency than horses and ponies and thus, feeding them as though they were small horses results in excess energy intake and, as a consequence they become obese. The formation of feeding guidelines begins with the estimation of the energy requirement for maintenance, as this is the value upon which nutrient requirements are related to. The aim of the study was to determine the maintenance digestible energy requirements of mature donkeys during each UK season. Twenty mature donkeys (10 male, 10 female) were selected for use in the study. The donkeys were fed a diet of hay and barley straw in quantities that were adjusted to maintain body weight. An equilibration period of minimum 16 days was followed by a five day total faecal collection; this was carried out for each season. Food and faecal samples were analysed for dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), digestible energy (DE), crude protein (CP), neutral-detergent fibre (NDF) and acid-detergent fibre (ADF); nutrient and energy intakes were calculated. There was a significant seasonal effect on all intakes except NDF and ADF. DM and DE intakes showed significant increases in winter compared to summer, rising by 42 and 35%, respectively. Digestible crude protein (DCP) intakes increased during winter and spring but were significantly lower in autumn compared to all other seasons. A strong seasonal effect was exerted on all in vivo digestibilities although there was no effect of sex. OM, NDF and ADF intakes were affected by sex with male animals having higher intakes compared to female animals. Comparison of these results with NRC (1989) horse requirements showed a considerably reduced requirement by donkeys for energy and protein and thus it was concluded that feeding tables specific to horses are not suitable for calculating donkey requirements.

Proceedings
Publisher: 
The Donkey Sanctuary
Publication date: 
30 October 2006

Normal donkey dental anatomy

Citation

Nicole du Toit, Susan A. Kempson, Padraic M. Dixon. October 2006. Normal donkey dental anatomy. Presented at 5th International Colloquium on Working Equines. (30 October - 2 November 2006). Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Date presented: 
Monday 30 October 2006
Abstract

This study examined normal donkey teeth using gross anatomical inspection, computed axial tomography (CAT), radiography, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and, decalcified and undecalcified histology to determine their normal gross anatomy, histology and ultrastructure. CAT findings have shown donkey endodontic anatomy and the density (in Hounslow units) of donkey calcified dental tissues, i.e. enamel, dentine and cementum to be similar to values recorded in horses. Decalcified and undecalcified histology has identified donkey cheek teeth to have a similar histological appearance to that which has been described in the horse. SEM of donkey dental tissue has demonstrated minor differences to normal horse dental ultrastructure. Now that normal donkey dental anatomy has been clearly defined, pathological changes can be identified in diseased teeth and supporting structures and will allow a better understanding of the pathophysiology of common donkey dental disorders. Ultimately the results of this project will enable better dental care specifically developed for donkeys, promoting welfare in the donkey.

Proceedings
Publisher: 
The Donkey Sanctuary
Publication date: 
30 October 2006
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