United Kingdom

Epidemiology of impaction colic in donkeys in the UK

Citation

Ruth Cox, Christopher Proudman, Andrew F. Trawford, Faith A. Burden, Gina L. Pinchbeck. February 2007. Epidemiology of impaction colic in donkeys in the UK. BMC Veterinary Research. 3:1.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
1 February 2007
Volume: 
3
Issue: 
1
DOI number: 
10.1186/1746-6148-3-1
Abstract

Background

Colic (abdominal pain) is a clinical condition of serious concern affecting the welfare and survival of donkeys at the Donkey Sanctuary in the UK. One of the most commonly reported causes is due to impacted ingesta in the large intestine ("impaction colic"). However little is known about the incidence of, or risk factors for, this condition. Here we describe the epidemiology of colic in donkeys, specifically impaction colic. We focus on temporal aspects of the disease and we identify environmental and management related risk factors for impaction colic in UK donkeys.

Results

There were 807 colic episodes in the population of 4596 donkeys between January 1st 2000 and March 31st 2005. The majority (54.8%) of episodes were due to a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of impaction of the gastrointestinal tract. The mortality risk for all colics (51.1%) was higher than reported in other equids. The incidence rate of all colics (5.9 episodes per 100 donkeys per year) and of impaction colic (3.2 episodes) was similar to that in horses. A retrospective matched case-control study of all impaction colics from January 2003 (193) indicated that older donkeys, those fed extra rations and those that previously suffered colic were at increased risk of impaction. Lighter body weight, musculo-skeletal problems, farm and dental disease were also significantly associated with a diagnosis of impaction colic.

Conclusion

To our knowledge this is the first study to estimate the incidence rate of colic in a large population of donkeys in the UK. In contrast to other equids, impaction was the most commonly reported cause of colic. We identified several risk factors for impaction colic. Increasing age, extra rations and previous colic are known risk factors for colic in other equids. Results support the hypothesis that dental disease is associated with impaction colic. Musculo-skeletal problems may be associated with colic for various reasons including change in amount of exercise or time at pasture. Other associated factors (weight and farm) are the subject of further research. Identification of risk factors for impaction colic may highlight high risk donkeys and may allow intervention strategies to be introduced to reduce the incidence of the disease.

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Donkey dental anatomy. Part 2: Histological and scanning electron microscopic examinations

Citation

Nicole du Toit, Susan A. Kempson, Padraic M. Dixon. June 2008. Donkey dental anatomy. Part 2: Histological and scanning electron microscopic examinations. The Veterinary Journal. 176:3. 345-353.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
1 June 2008
Volume: 
176
Issue: 
3
Page numbers: 
345-353
DOI number: 
10.1016/j.tvjl.2008.03.004
Abstract

Ten normal cheek teeth (CT) were extracted at post mortem from donkeys that died or were euthanased for humane reasons. Decalcified histology was performed on three sections (sub-occlusal, mid-tooth and pre-apical) of each tooth, and undecalcified histology undertaken on sub-occlusal sections of the same teeth. The normal histological anatomy of primary, regular and irregular secondary dentine was found to be similar to that of the horse, with no tertiary dentine present. Undecalcified histology demonstrated the normal enamel histology, including the presence of enamel spindles. Scanning electron microscopy was performed on mid-tooth sections of five maxillary CT, five mandibular CT and two incisors. The ultrastructural anatomy of primary and secondary dentine, and equine enamel types-1, -2 and -3 (as described in horses) were identified in donkey teeth. Histological and ultrastructural donkey dental anatomy was found to be very similar to equine dental anatomy with only a few quantitative differences observed.

Donkey dental anatomy. Part 1: Gross and computed axial tomography examinations

Citation

Nicole du Toit, Susan A. Kempson, Padraic M. Dixon. June 2008. Donkey dental anatomy. Part 1: Gross and computed axial tomography examinations. The Veterinary Journal. 176:3. 338-344.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
1 June 2008
Volume: 
176
Issue: 
3
Page numbers: 
338-344
DOI number: 
10.1016/j.tvjl.2008.03.003
Abstract

Post-mortem examination of 19 donkey skulls showed that donkeys have a greater degree of anisognathia (27% width difference between upper and lower jaws) compared to horses (23%). Teeth (n = 108) were collected from 14 skulls and examined grossly and by computed axial tomography (CAT). A greater degree of peripheral enamel infolding was found in mandibular cheek teeth (CT) compared to maxillary CT (P < 0.001). A significant increase in peripheral cementum from the apical region to the clinical crown was demonstrated in all CT (P < 0.0001). All donkey CT had at least five pulp cavities with six pulp cavities present in the 06s and 11s. A new endodontic numbering system for equid CT has been proposed. A greater occlusal depth of secondary dentine (mm) was present in older donkeys (>16 years) than in the younger (<15 years) donkeys studied. Based on gross and CAT examinations, donkey dental anatomy was shown to be largely similar to that described in horses.

Dimensions of diastemata and associated periodontal food pockets in donkey cheek teeth

Citation

Nicole du Toit, Faith A. Burden, Lee Gosden, Padraic M. Dixon. April 2008. Dimensions of diastemata and associated periodontal food pockets in donkey cheek teeth. Journal of Veterinary Dentistry. 26:1.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
1 April 2008
Volume: 
26
Issue: 
1
Abstract

Equine cheek teeth (CT) diastemata often cause deep periodontal food pocketing and are therefore regarded as a painful dental disorder of equidae. However there appears to be no information available on the size or shape of these diastemata. This post mortem study examined 16 donkey skulls (mean age = 32-years) containing 45 CT diastemata to define the anatomical shape and dimensions of these diastemata, and of the associated periodontal food pockets that occur with this disorder. Diastemata were found to more commonly involve mandibular (56.0%) compared with maxillary CT (44.0%), and 71.0% of these diastemata had adjacent intercurrent dental disorders that may have predisposed donkeys to the diastemata. The median widths of all diastemata were 2.0-mm at the occlusal surface and 3.1-mm at the gingival margin, with no diferences in widths between the lateral or medial aspects of diastemata. Diastemata were defined as open (60.00%) or valve (40.00%) based on their gross appearance. This classification was confirmed to be accurate by measurements that showed valve diastemata to have an occlusal to gingival width ratio of 0.4, in contrast to open diastemata where this ratio was 1.07. Food was impacted in 89.0% of diastemata, but all diastemata had adjacent periodontal disease. Periodontal food pocketing was present adjacent to 76.0% of diastemata, more commonly on the lateral aspect (73.0% prevalence; mean pocket depth = 4.1-mm) than the medial aspect (47.0% prevalence; mean pocket depth = 2.4-mm). The depth of periodontal pockets of diastemata was not associated with the height of the erupted crowns of adjacent CT.

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

Citation
Authors
Publication details
Publication date: 
1 April 2009
Volume: 
41
Issue: 
4
Page numbers: 
395-400
Abstract

Reasons for performing study

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.

Objectives

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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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Clinical dental examinations of 357 donkeys in the UK: Part 1: Prevalence of dental disorders

Citation

Nicole du Toit, Faith A. Burden, Padraic M. Dixon. April 2009. Clinical dental examinations of 357 donkeys in the UK: Part 1: Prevalence of dental disorders. Equine Veterinary Journal. 41:4. 390-394.

Authors
Publication details
Publication date: 
1 April 2009
Volume: 
41
Issue: 
4
Page numbers: 
390-394
DOI number: 
10.2746/042516409X368912
Abstract

Reasons for performing the study

Dental disorders have a high prevalence in older donkeys and horses, but the nature and pathogenesis of many of these disorders have yet to be established.

Objectives

The identification and determination of the prevalence of important dental disorders in different age groups in a large single population of donkeys, to establish a better understanding of the nature and pathogenesis of these disorders.

Methods

A prospective cross-sectional study was performed on the donkey population at The Donkey Sanctuary with detailed oral examinations of 357 donkeys within 7 different age groups (age range 2-53 years) recorded.

Results

The prevalence of dental disease in all donkeys was 73%, increasing in prevalence from 28% in the youngest to 98% in the oldest age group. There was an increase in prevalence of commonly recognised dental disorders with increasing age, such as: diastemata (3.8% in youngest to 86% in oldest group); missing teeth (0-56%); overgrown teeth (15-86%); worn teeth (8-84%); displaced teeth (0-38%); and periodontal disease (0-28%).

Conclusions

There was a significant increase in the prevalence of dental disorders with increasing age with the largest significant increase for most dental disorders occurring in the 15-20 year age group. POTENTIAL SIGNIFICANCE: Most dental disorders significantly increase in prevalence in the 15-20 year age group and, therefore, prophylactic geriatric dental treatment in donkeys should be commenced from age 15 years.

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Demographics, management and health of donkeys in the UK

Citation

Ruth Cox, Faith A. Burden, Christopher Proudman, Andrew F. Trawford, Gina L. Pinchbeck. May 2010. Demographics, management and health of donkeys in the UK. Veterinary Record. 166:18. 552-556.

Authors
Publication details
Publication date: 
1 May 2010
Journal: 
Veterinary Record
Volume: 
166
Issue: 
18
Page numbers: 
552-556
DOI number: 
10.1136/vr.b4800
Abstract

In this paper, the management and health problems of donkeys on loan to independent carers from The Donkey Sanctuary are characterised, and the demographics of the UK's donkey population are described using data from a variety of sources. All carers that fostered a donkey from The Donkey Sanctuary between September 2004 and August 2005 (1432 donkeys) were surveyed using a postal questionnaire requesting information about the donkey, its premises, daily care, health and preventive medicine. The response rate was 77.8 percent. The mean (sd) age of the donkeys was 20.8 (7.4) years. The majority (92 percent) of the donkeys were kept as pets. Approximately one-third (33.6 percent) of the donkeys were overweight. The most common medical problems were hoof, dermal and oral problems. A total of 86 percent of the donkeys had a dental examination at least every 12 months, and at least 45 percent had at least one dental problem.

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