donkey

Exploring methodologies for capturing multispecies engagement in equid assisted activities: The perspective of autistic children and donkeys

Citation

Michelle Whitham Jones. 1 July 2019. Exploring methodologies for capturing multispecies engagement in equid assisted activities: The perspective of autistic children and donkeys. Journal of Animal Law & Interdisciplinary Animal Welfare Studies. 3.

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Publication date: 
1 July 2019
Volume: 
3
Abstract

Using equids for their assumed therapeutic impact on humans is a growing area of ​​knowledge in human health sciences. The impact of Equid Assisted Activities (EAA) is often measured by psychometric test score changes for the human. Thus, evidence for the practice tends to be assessed through an anthropocentric lens. The research described in this article consisted of exploring a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methodologies for measuring EAA through the perspective of autistic children and their donkey partners. The Quality of Engagement Tool (QET) is introduced as an instrument to measure ongoing engagement between participants during sessions. Narrative Analysis and Narrative Ethology captured tangential and sequential stories of interactions that revealed the individuality of each child or donkey participant's experience. The findings identified that one participant was able to affect their partner's engagement behavior irrespective of species, and that both donkeys and children modified their behaviors when interacting with a member of the opposite species. The results suggest that, in principle, EAA has the potential to bring about behavioural changes to the other species. Therefore, in order to ensure validity, both the human and equid's ongoing responses must be measured equally in future research.
Published online

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Use of Animal Welfare assessment protocols (AWIN) and health data to monitor and improve herd health in donkeys

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Alexandra K. Thiemann, Karen Rickards. Use of Animal Welfare assessment protocols (AWIN) and health data to monitor and improve herd health in donkeys. Poster presented at 15th World Equine Veterinary Conference. (21 April - 23 April 2018). Beijing, China.

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Date presented: 
Saturday 21 April 2018
Abstract

Introduction-The Donkey Sanctuary (DS) is a global welfare charity whose mission is
“To transform the quality of life for donkeys, mules and people worldwide” [1]. In the UK, the DS cares for over 2000 donkeys on a number of farms varying in size from 250-580 animals. The farms aim to rehome approximately 10% of their herd annually to guardian (private) homes or donkey assisted therapy centres. The farms also provide a show case for our work to visiting public and professionals. Welfare of the donkeys on the farms is critical to the credibility of the Donkey Sanctuary.
The veterinary team monitors the herd health to maintain high welfare standards. Traditional input consisted of weekly visits, annual vaccination, dental treatment, parasite control, and a reactive approach to illness. Since the introduction of The DS Animal Management System [2] and Animal welfare assessment protocols(AWIN), the team have been able to use evidence -based criteria (EBC) to assess farm herd health.
Methods- Every four months 1) the AMS data base is interrogated supplying information on relevant queries including Body Condition Score, Lameness, Colic, Hyperlipaemia, Sarcoids, Infectious disease, and Mortality rate, 2) an on farm welfare assessment is performed following the stage 1 AWIN (Animal Welfare Indicators) protocol for donkeys [3].
Resource based and animal- based indicators are assessed on a randomly selected 10% of the herd by a team including vet, farm manager and grooms. Different animals are selected at each visit by using the farm named list of donkeys.
Results- Results are recorded via excel, graphical representation and written documentation. The results can be sub-divided in many ways depending upon clinical need.

Discussion- Using EBC and AWIN provides the vet team with tools to pro-actively monitor donkey health, refine management practices, re-direct budgets and track progress. Welfare can be bench marked and improvements aimed for. Monitoring / recording welfare data allows the DS to be compliant with national legislation [4]. Although a number of welfare assessment tools are available AWIN is validated and straightforward to use. The poster will illustrate 4 quarters of data presented graphically.

References
1.https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/our-mission, accessed 12/12/17

2 , The Donkey Sanctuary’s Animal Management System (Microsoft Dynamic CRM), introduced October 2015 Sarah Tulloch, AMS Manager/Project Lead.
3 AWIN http://www.animal-welfare-indicators.net/site/flash/pdf/AWINProtocolDonk..., accessed 12/12/17
4 Animal Welfare Act 2006 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/45/contents, accessed 12/12/17

EMS and PPID in donkeys

Citation

Alexandra K. Thiemann. 9 May 2019. EMS and PPID in donkeys. Presented at Schweizerische Tierarztetage. (8 May - 10 May 2019). Fribourg, Switzerland.

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Date presented: 
Thursday 9 May 2019
Abstract

Equine Metabolic Syndrome is defined as a “Clinical syndrome associated with an increased risk of laminitis that includes insulin dysregulation and any combination of increased generalised or regional adiposity, weight loss resistance, and altered adipokine concentrations.” https://sites.tufts.edu/edu/equineendogroup.
Donkeys are prone to Equine Metabolic Syndrome due to their physiological adaptations to survive in resource poor environments. The donkey has a lower nutritional requirement than a pony of the same size, but is often exposed to excess feed with high non- structural carbohydrate levels. In addition, they are generally given little exercise.
Donkeys and many small pony breeds are considered to be relatively insulin resistant- which has a survival advantage, but also leads to, and is linked with both hyperinsulinemia and obesity.
As well as clinical symptoms we need to test for insulin dysregulation. Resting insulin levels have very low sensitivity /high specificity and should not be relied upon as a sole test. At the Donkey Sanctuary we use an oral carbohydrate challenge using Karol Light (corn syrup). As donkeys are at increased risk of hyperlipaemia we do not starve patients before testing , but have a standard protocol that involves the donkey only having access to straw for at least 6 hours prior to testing.
We then give 45ml/100kg of syrup and obtain baseline blood samples. A second sample is taken 60-90 minutes later to measure serum insulin, which should be below 60mU/L.
At present adipokine testing is not validated for donkeys
There will be cases of EMS that do not demonstrate obesity and cases that also suffer from concurrent PPID, so in some cases further diagnostics will be warranted.
In many cases management of EMS relies on improving the dietary management of the donkey, and initiating a controlled weight loss programme. Ideally, the exercise is increased, but this will be dictated by whether there is any underlying lameness. To prevent boredom in cases of dietary restriction there are several ways to modify and enrich the stable environment.
Medical treatments exist: metformin can be used to reduce glucose absorption enterically and help in transitioning a donkey to pasture; a thyroxine derivative may be useful to increase the metabolic rate.
Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) is seen in donkeys and, as many are kept until they are geriatric it is seen relatively frequently. The condition is known to be associated with an increased risk of immunosuppression and laminitis. Affected cases may have obvious clinical signs such as hirsutism, muscle wastage and polydipsia.
However we rely upon testing suspect donkeys for elevations in ACTH to detect cases before such signs are reached.
PPID results in hyperinsulinemia, which is a risk factor for laminitis. We also find these cases may have higher faecal egg counts, higher ectoparasites burdens and delayed wound healing.
Treatment of the underlying disorder relied upon the use of pergolide- Prascend at 2µg/kg. As the drug can suppress appetite donkeys need careful monitoring when on the drug and may need to start at lower doses. Testing In autumn when the levels are at their highest is considered the best time to discriminate for positive cases.

Medication for donkeys

Citation

Alexandra K. Thiemann. 9 May 2019. Medication for donkeys. Presented at Schweizerische Tierarztetage. (8 May - 10 May 2019). Fribourg, Switzerland.

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Date presented: 
Thursday 9 May 2019
Abstract

Drug manufacturers consider the donkey to be a minor species, despite the millions that work to sustain livelihoods globally, through draught power, milk and meat. Unfortunately, this means that very few drugs are licensed for use in the donkey and we rely upon the work of a select few researchers to know about drug metabolism. The Donkey Sanctuary has a non-invasive research policy and so is unable to work in this field.

In most instances, it is sensible to start with using recommended horse dosages but with knowledge of some fundamental differences between the species to aid in correct prescribing.

Donkeys can range in size from miniature to mammoth and accurate weighing is best practice. Donkey foals may be only 10- 15kg when born. There are donkey specific weight /height normograms and weight tapes available:

https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/what-we-do/for-professionals/techn....

Many donkeys are obese and this can affect the distribution of drugs. Conversely, a thick winter coat can hide an emaciated frame. It is helpful to determine Body condition Score BCS, when considering medication and this requires hands on palpation of the donkey.

The donkey evolved to be more desert adapted than the horse, and are reported to tolerate dehydration with fewer and later clinical and haematological signs. The normal haematology and biochemistry values are different from horse: red cell numbers are lower with a larger mean cell volume. They have a different volume of distribution of drugs. Their liver metabolises drugs in a slightly different manner from the horse- usually more rapidly with some exceptions.

Donkeys are stoical and good at masking disease. Routine haematology and biochemistry samples are advisable before starting treatment especially with potentially nephrotoxic or protein bound drugs. Good assessment of pain is useful in monitoring the effectiveness of analgesia, we use a donkey composite and facial pain score.

Donkeys working overseas are often dehydrated and may need rehydrating before full doses of drugs such as NSAIDs are used.

It is always good practice to base prescribing on a full clinical examination and the results of any test results including bacteriology culture and sensitivity. However due to the fact that donkeys often present late with clinical signs, and many are geriatric and immunosuppressed, antibiotic therapy may need to be based on empirical knowledge and using best practice guidelines available to protect critically important antibiotics.

This presentation will cover recommendations for prescribing in donkeys for the following areas:

Sedation
Anaesthesia/Analgesia
Maintenance of anaesthesia with top ups
Maintenance of anaesthesia with triple drip
Antibiotics
Anthelmintics

References:

Grosenbaugh et al, (2001) Pharmacology and therapeutics in donkeys. EVE 23 (10) 523-530
Matthews, N.S., et al, (1997b) Anaesthesia of donkeys and mules. Equine vet. Educ. 9, 198-202.
Burden, F and Thiemann, A K (2015) Donkeys are different. Journal of Equine Vet Science 35 (5) 376-382.

Seasonal abundance of the stable fly Stomoxys calcitrans in southwest England

Citation

A. Parravani, Charlotte Chivers, Nikki Bell, Sarah Long, Faith A. Burden, Richard Wall. May 2019. Seasonal abundance of the stable fly Stomoxys calcitrans in southwest England. Medical and Veterinary Entomology.

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Publication date: 
30 May 2019
DOI number: 
10.1111/mve.12386
Abstract

The stable fly Stomoxys calcitrans (L.) is a cosmopolitan biting fly of both economic and welfare concern, primarily as a result of its painful bite, which can cause blood loss, discomfort and loss of productivity in livestock. Between June and November in 2016 and May and December in 2017, Alsynite sticky‐traps were deployed at four Donkey Sanctuary sites in southwest England, which experience recurrent seasonal biting fly problems. The aim was to evaluate the seasonal dynamics of the stable fly populations and the risk factors associated with abundance. In total, 19 835 S. calcitrans were trapped during the study period. In both years, abundance increased gradually over summer months, peaking in late August/September. There were no relationships between seasonally detrended abundance and any climatic factors. Fly abundance was significantly different between sites and population size was consistent between years at three of the four sites. The median chronological age, as determined by pteridine analysis of flies caught live when blood‐feeding, was 4.67 days (interquartile range 3.8–6.2 days) in males and 6.79 days (interquartile range 4.8–10.4 days) in females; there was no significant, consistent change in age or age structure over time, suggesting that adult flies emerge continuously over the summer, rather than in discrete age‐related cohorts. The data suggest that flies are more abundant in the vicinity of active animal facilities, although the strong behavioural association between flies and their hosts means that they are less likely to be caught on traps where host availability is high. The implications of these results for fly management are discussed.
Published online.

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Donkey and mule behaviour for the veterinary team

Citation

Anna Haines, Joanna Goliszek. January 2019. Donkey and mule behaviour for the veterinary team. UK-Vet Equine. 3:1. 27-32.

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Publication date: 
23 January 2019
Journal: 
UK-Vet Equine
Volume: 
3
Issue: 
1
Page numbers: 
27-32
DOI number: 
10.12968/ukve.2019.3.1.27
Abstract

The donkey's evolution, ethology and learning capacity mean that the behaviour of donkeys and mules is significantly different to that of the horse. Subtle behaviour change in the donkey can indicate severe, life-threatening disease. An understanding of donkey and mule behaviour will help veterinary surgeons to handle these animals safely, treat them effectively and educate owners to spot the subtle signs of disease

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Engagement behaviour of donkeys during equine assisted activities

Citation

Michelle Whitham Jones. 28 October 2018. Engagement behaviour of donkeys during equine assisted activities. Presented at 6th Donkey Welfare Symposium. (26 October - 28 October 2018). Davis, California, USA.

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Date presented: 
Sunday 28 October 2018
Abstract

There is a wealth of research citing the benefits of Equid Assisted Interactions (EAI’s) but these are often anthropocentric and fail to include measures that capture donkey engagement behaviours during sessions. This observational bias, possibly quite common in EAI research, reinforces the assumption that animal assisted interactions are somehow enriching for the non-human animal thus welfare interests can be overlooked.

Aims and Objectives

• To design a quality of engagement tool (QET) that captures engagement behaviours of both donkeys and autistic children during interaction sessions.
• To identify potential enrichment or welfare measures for individual donkeys during EAI sessions.

Engagement behaviour of donkeys during equine assisted activities

Citation
Authors
Presentation details
Date presented: 
Tuesday 4 December 2018
Event name: 
Congreso Bienstar Equino
Abstract

There is a wealth of research citing the benefits of Equid Assisted Interventions (EAI's) but these are often anthropocentric and fail to include measures that capture donkey engagement behaviours during sessions. This observational bias, possibly quite common in EAI research, reinforces the assumption that animal activities are somehow enriching for the non-human animal thus welfare interests can be overlooked. By designing and implementing a unique Quality of Engagement Tool (QET), I was able to capture engagement behaviours of both donkeys and autistic children during interaction sessions and identify potential enrichment or welfare measures for both species participants.

Training Compassionate Vets for Calmer Donkeys

Citation

Anna Haines. Training Compassionate Vets for Calmer Donkeys. Poster presented at SPANA Working Animal Congress 2017. (2 October - 5 October 2017). Marrakech, Morocco.

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Date presented: 
Tuesday 3 October 2017
Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Working donkeys and mules often require veterinary intervention for a variety of clinical problems. It is crucial that vets, animal health professionals and other equine professionals have a sound knowledge of donkey and mule behaviour to enable them to assess the animals and provide treatment in a species-accurate, humane and compassionate way.

HANDLING TECHNIQUES AFFECT EQUINE WELFARE

The way in which donkeys and mules are handled can affect their welfare since quality of life is measured not only by physiological factors but also by emotional and affective states (1). Negative interactions can contribute to the development of fearful behavioural responses which can persist for a long time after the interaction takes place. Correct application of behaviour modification techniques can positively develop the human-animal bond and help the animal to remain calm during required veterinary procedures, often meaning that painful methods of restraint are not required. Simple techniques for approaching equines, taking rectal temperatures, using stethoscopes and appropriate restraint can, and should, be used to reduce stress for all aspects of a veterinary examination and treatment.

HUMAN BODY LANGUAGE

Correct approach to an equine patient is vital to minimise stress and to prevent a flight response. Equines are sensitive animals who can detect very subtle body language signals. The body language and behaviour of the veterinary surgeon and animal handler can influence the animal’s behaviour; approach with calm, relaxed body language and allow the animal the opportunity to investigate you.
A relaxed, calm approach:

• Rounded shoulders
• Relaxed muscle tone, gentle movements
• No direct eye contact
• Indirect approach from the animal’s shoulder
• Allowing time for the animal to investigate

PRACTICAL APPLICATION

• Using a stethoscope
• Allow the animal the chance to have a look at your equipment
• Introduce the stethoscope to the animal’s body gradually, starting in an area that is not too sensitive
• Stroke or scratch the animal to provide reassurance as you work
• Taking a rectal temperature
• Help the animal to relax by approaching steadily from the side
• Scratch the animal along his body and on either side of his tail to encourage relaxation
• Do some gentle lifts of the tail before lifting to insert the thermometer

LESS IS MORE

When considering methods of restraint for veterinary examination consider that often ‘less is more’. Distressed and fearful animals are more likely to display erratic behaviours and become more likely to cause injury to themselves or their handlers (2). If calm, consistent handling is not sufficient to keep an equine calm during examination, and restraint is required, the least invasive and minimally aversive restraint options, such as a head hold or the raising of one leg, should be attempted first.

Ear twitches should not be used on equines; a recent study (3) found a significant increase in sympathetic tone and salivary cortisol levels when an ear twitch is applied and it also led to the development of avoidance behaviour indicating the aversive-ness of this procedure. Equines can become sensitised to aversive events or procedures after very few exposures (4) therefore aversive procedures should be avoided wherever possible and stress experienced during veterinary procedures must be kept to an absolute minimum.

Donkeys and Humans – how the use of donkeys as Livestock Units on Agriculture Schemes in Ireland potentially influences government-NGO interactions

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Authors
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Date presented: 
Monday 7 May 2018
Abstract

Background
In many parts of the developing world, donkeys are kept as working animals and used primarily for transport (of goods and people) and agricultural activities (such as ploughing). In these regions, donkeys are of particular value due to their low purchasing price, ease of management and efficiency of work output. Similarly in the past in Ireland, donkeys proved to have innumerable uses, being capable of surviving and working on terrain that was unsuitable for horses, which latter, people could not afford in any case. Today, donkeys are mainly kept either as companion animals or as Livestock Units (LUs) registered on agricultural area aid schemes to aid in the collection of farm subsidies. In 2017 the Department of Agriculture (DAFM) who administer the subsidy scheme, also made an ex gratia payment of €120,000 to The Donkey Sanctuary to support its work in rescue/rehoming, in controlling indiscriminate breeding and in providing veterinary services to privately owned donkeys in Ireland.

Methods
Information was gathered concerning the mapping of areas eligible for subsidy payments, the numbers of applicants, the place of origin of applicants and the numbers of registered donkeys (and other equidae) these applicants used as LUs for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. The value of payments made to applicants registering equidae as LUs during these years was also gathered. The Donkey Sanctuary provided information regarding their interactions with private-donkey owners including subsidy applicants – the collection of background information, the provision of veterinary services and the rehoming of donkeys to applicants who might register them as LUs.

Results
Subsidy year Total equine-applicant payments €uro value Horse/donkey Livestock Unit numbers Total equine Livestock Unit numbers
2010 € 4,030,377 10480
2011 € 6,214,130 18447
horses donkeys
2012 € 2,374,996 4546 2222 6768
2013 € 2,284,832 3564 2593 6157
2014 € 2,305,650 2606 2544 5150

Table 1. €uro value of ANC equine-applicant payments and the numbers of equines registered as Livestock Units (LUs) on ANC during the years 2010 to 2014

In the first 11 months of 2017, The Donkey Sanctuary provided donkey welfare improvement services to 176 owners of 700 private donkeys including circa 90 castrations, 450 farriery, 50 dental treatments, 130 identification and 60 husbandry including nutritional advice. They rehomed approximately 40 donkeys to subsidy applicants who might use them as LUs. The detail will be presented.

Conclusion
DAFM administer an agriculture subsidy scheme which permits the use of donkeys as Livestock Units but does not have an ostensible animal welfare function; never-the-less they make ex gratia animal welfare payments to NGOs such as The Donkey Sanctuary in support of services targeted at the owners of private donkeys. This provides an opportunity for government and NGOs to engage in such a way that public monies might be better used to support animal welfare improvements.

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