donkey

Seasonal variation of strongylosis in working donkeys of Ethiopia: a cross-sectional and longitudinal studies

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Publication details
Publication date: 
24 May 2017
Page numbers: 
1-7
DOI number: 
10.1007/s00436-017-5485-z
Abstract

Helminths are one of the major health problems of working donkeys, often with heavy worm burden and contributing to their early demise and/or reduction in their work output. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies were conducted to investigate the current infection prevalence and level of strongyles infection donkeys would acquire through different seasons in the mid-lowland agro-ecological zones of Ethiopia. For this purpose, faecal samples from 206 (cross-sectional study) and 102 (longitudinal study) randomly selected donkeys were directly collected from the rectum and analysed. For the longitudinal study, the 102 donkeys dewormed at the end of main rainy season, beginning of October, were monitored for the level of strongyle infection they would acquire during subsequent dry and short rainy seasons. The cross-sectional study of 206 donkey has revealed an overall infection prevalence of 89.3% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 84.4, 92.9). Donkeys in the lowland zone showed a significantly higher strongyle infection prevalence (P = 0.0126) and mean eggs per gramme of faces (EPG) (P = 0.001; 2775 EPG) compared to donkeys in the midland zone (980.8 EPG). Age, sex and body condition did not have any significant effect on either the infection prevalence or level of infection (P > 0.05). The longitudinal study has shown a significantly lower strongyle infection prevalence (P = 0.003) and level of infection donkeys acquired (P = 0.001) in the subsequent dry and short rainy seasons compared to the main rainy season following October deworming. However, these values were not significantly different between the two agro-ecological zones (P > 0.05). This study clearly showed that parasitic infections are primarily acquired during the main rainy season when pasture/herbage coverage is relatively better, and the environment is conducive for parasites survival and development. On the other hand, the finding of majority of donkeys shedding low or no eggs during the dry and short rainy seasons showed that October deworming was effective, and donkeys acquire low or no parasitic infection during the subsequent dry and short rainy seasons. Therefore, the practice of anthelmintic treatment of donkeys at the end of short rain in May may not be necessary, and October deworming once a year is sufficient.

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Management practices and milk production in dairy donkey farms distributed over the Italian territory

Citation

Francesca Dar, Giulia Segati, Emanueala Dalla Costa, Faith A. Burden, Andrew Judge, Michela Minero. April 2017. Management practices and milk production in dairy donkey farms distributed over the Italian territory. Macedonian Veterinary Review. 40:2. 1-4.

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Publication date: 
6 April 2017
Volume: 
40
Issue: 
2
Page numbers: 
1-4
DOI number: 
10.1515/macvetrev-2017-0016
Abstract

Limited information is available about the actual management characteristics of dairy donkeys in Southern Europe. The aim of the present study is to describe animal management of dairy donkey farms in Italy. Twelve farmers were asked to answer a questionnaire on the management of their animals and their farms distributed over the Italian territory. Six farms grouped their animals in paddocks according to the production characteristics (e.g. lactating, dry, stallions); three farms housed the stallions in single boxes. Most of the visited farms were family run and the number of animals cared for by a single person varied from five to 103 animals. All the farms but one performed mechanical milking with a modified goat milkmaid.Vaccinations were regularly performed only on two farms. All the foals received colostrum and suckled from their own mothers. Foals were nursed by their mother until 6-12 months old. During the separation period before milking, foals were usually (83%) housed in paddocks near their mothers with the possibility of visual and/or tactile contact, however such separations could be for up to 12 hours (17%). Even though the assessed sample was small, considerable differences were seen between farms, likely due to lack of uniform information available for the farmers. The adoption of scientific based procedures is suggested in order to improve both animal welfare and milk quality.

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Epidemiologic analysis of a sarcoid outbreak involving 12 of 111 donkeys in Northern Italy

Citation

Hans Abel-Reichwald, Edmund K Hainisch, Sophie Zahalka, Annunziata Corteggio, Giuseppe Borzacchiello, Barbara Massa, Luca Merlone, Lubna Nasir, Faith A. Burden, Sabine Brandt. October 2016. Epidemiologic analysis of a sarcoid outbreak involving 12 of 111 donkeys in Northern Italy. Veterinary Microbiology. 196. 85-92.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
15 October 2016
Volume: 
196
Page numbers: 
85-92
DOI number: 
10.1016/j.vetmic.2016.10.021
Abstract

Equine sarcoids develop upon bovine papillomavirus type 1 or 2 (BPV1, BPV2) infection in conjunction with trauma and represent the most common tumour disease in horses and other equids, including donkeys. In face of a sarcoid outbreak involving 12 of 111 donkeys and mules at the ‘Rifugio degli Asinelli’, a subsidiary charity organization of The Donkey Sanctuary, non-invasively collected sample material including crusts, dandruff, swabs and hair roots was collected from sarcoid-affected and 26 healthy donkeys, as well as dandruff from a grooming kit and tabanids caught from or in the vicinity of sarcoid patients. In addition five previously collected sarcoids stored in formalin were provided.

DNA isolated from collected material was tested for the presence of the BPV1/2 E5 oncogene using PCR. Positive samples were further analysed by E2/E4 and LCR PCR and amplicon sequencing to determine a possible common source of infection via comparative alignment of intralesional BPV1/2 gene variants. IC/PCR was used to assess sample aliquots for the presence of BPV1/2 virions, and IHC to analyse five tumours for BPV1 E5 and L1 protein expression.

All sarcoid-affected donkeys, two of 55 tabanids and dandruff from a curry comb tested positive for BPV1/2 E5, yet negative by IC/PCR. Healthy animals were BPV1/2-free. IHC revealed different levels of intralesional E5 and L1 expression. A series of BPV1 E5, E2, and LCR variants and BPV2 E5 were detected from donkeys, indicating that they had accidently developed sarcoids at about the same time rather than having acquired disease from each other.

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Working across Europe to improve donkey welfare

Citation

Alexandra K. Thiemann, Andy Foxcroft. August 2016. Working across Europe to improve donkey welfare. The Veterinary Record. 1796. 298-300.

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Publication date: 
19 August 2016
Volume: 
1796
Page numbers: 
298-300
DOI number: 
10.1136/vr.i4112
Abstract

The UK public and veterinary profession often think of the equine charity sector as dealing with issues directly related to the UK equine population – overproduction, rehoming, shelter and welfare. However, the Donkey Sanctuary, like many UK-based equine charities, also works in Europe and further afield to try to address a much broader range of issues, as Alex Thiemann and Andy Foxcroft explain

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Equine Cyathostominae can develop to infective third-stage larvae on straw bedding

Citation

Sandy Love, Faith A. Burden, Eoghan McGirr, Louise Gordon, Matthew Denwood. August 2016. Equine Cyathostominae can develop to infective third-stage larvae on straw bedding. Parasites and Vectors.

Authors
Publication details
Publication date: 
31 August 2016
DOI number: 
10.1186/s13071-016-1757-1
Abstract

Background
Domesticated grazing animals including horses and donkeys are frequently housed using deep litter bedding systems, where it is commonly presumed that there is no risk of infection from the nematodes that are associated with grazing at pasture. We use two different approaches to test whether equids could become infected with cyathostomines from the ingestion of deep litter straw bedding.

Methods
Two herbage plot studies were performed in horticultural incubators set up to simulate three straw bedding scenarios and one grass turf positive control. Faeces were placed on 16 plots, and larval recoveries performed on samples of straw/grass substrate over 2- to 3-week periods. Within each incubator, a thermostat was set to maintain an environmental temperature of approximately 10 °C to 20 °C. To provide further validation, 24 samples of straw bedding were collected over an 8-week period from six barns in which a large number of donkeys were housed in a deep litter straw bedding system. These samples were collected from the superficial bedding at 16 sites along a “W” route through each barn.

Results
No infective larvae were recovered from any of the plots containing dry straw. However, infective cyathostomine larvae were first detected on day 8 from plots containing moist straw. In the straw bedding study, cyathostomine larvae were detected in 18 of the 24 samples. Additionally, in the two barns which were sampled serially, the level of larval infectivity generally increased from week to week, except when the straw bedding was removed and replaced.

Conclusions
We have demonstrated that equine cyathostomines can develop to infective larvae on moist straw bedding. It is therefore possible for a horse or donkey bedded in deep litter straw to become infected by ingesting the contaminated straw. This has implications for parasite control in stabled equids and potentially in housed ruminants, and further investigation is required in order to establish the relative infective pressure from pasture versus straw bedding.

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Besnoitiosis in a european donkey

Citation

Cynthia de Vries, A. Santi, Karen Rickards, G. Loesenbeck. Besnoitiosis in a european donkey. Presented at ECVP Annual Meeting 2016.

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Presentation details
Date presented: 
Wednesday 7 September 2016
Event name: 
ECVP Annual Meeting 2016
Abstract

Introduction: A 3-year-old castrated male donkey was presented with multifocal, moderately firm, dull, white nodules, varying in size from 0.5-2.0 cm in diameter. The nodules were located on the skin of the penile shaft and showed depigmentation. Other locations on the body were not involved.

Materials and Methods: Surgical excision of the nodules was performed. All formalin-fixed samples were embedded in paraffin and routinely processed for histopathological examination.

Results: Histopathological examination revealed presence of multifocal, round to oval, protozoal cysts within the dermis, with a size of 150-500 μm. The mature cyst walls consisted of four distinct layers, including an outer, hyalinized, eosinophilic layer of collagen fibers, a thin homogenous intermediate layer, a layer consisting of the cytoplasm of the host fibroblast with a compressed nucleus, and an inner layer that formed the parasitophorous vacuole. The vacuole was filled with numerous bradyzoites of 2 x 8 μm. There was a mild to moderate, superficial to mid-dermal infiltration of lymphocytes, plasma cells, macrophages and eosinophils, surrounding the cysts and blood vessels. The hair follicles were atrophic. The overlying epidermis showed mild acanthosis and orthokeratotic hyperkeratosis. Based on the histopathological findings, a diagnosis of Besnoitia sp. infection was made.

Conclusions: Besnoitiosis is an emerging disease in cattle in Europe. Few outbreaks have been reported in donkeys in the USA. To our knowledge, this is the first report in the literature of Besnoitia sp. infection in an European donkey.

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Efficacy of anthelmintics in horses and donkeys in Ireland: An in vivo and in vitro study

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Presentation details
Date presented: 
Friday 3 June 2016
Abstract

Strongyles are the most important parasite group infecting equids. Management of these parasites has relied on intensive use of anthelmintics, however, resistance has developed against all drug classes and is becoming a major practical problem in many countries. Resistance to the benzimidazole (BZ) group is geographically widespread and resistance to pyrental has also been reported. Today the macrocyclic lactones (ML) class of drugs has become the most commonly used drug, but evidence of emerging resistance (i.e. shortened egg reappearance period (ERP)) has been identified in many countries. A variety of tests are available to monitor anthelmintic efficacy but most of them are expensive, laborious and time consuming. The aim of this project was to determine the efficacy of anthelmintic drugs used in eight equine groups in Ireland. The anthelmintic efficacy was determined by calculating the percentage reduction in the faecal egg count (FEC) between the group mean at Day 0 and Day 14 post-treatment (FECRT). In addition FECs were also calculated at two week intervals for up to 16 weeks after anthelmintic drug administration to determine the ERP for BZ, ivermectin and moxidectin. ERP was defined when the group arithmetic mean FEC exceeded 10% of the group arithmetic mean FEC at Day 0.The larval development assay (LDA) was used to detect resistance to BZ in two groups of horses and the larval migration inhibition assay (LMIA) was also performed to measure the sensitivity to ivermectin in two groups of donkeys and moxidectin in two horse farms and two groups of donkeys. The results of FECRT indicate BZ-resistance on both farms; FECR of 86% and 61%, an ERP of only two weeks and the EC50 for the LDA of 0.3 and 0.7 µg/ml, respectively. While MLs were still effective in all cases with a FECR >95% and the EC50 for the LMIA ranging from 0.06 to 0.38 µg/ml the ERP ranged from only 4 to 10 weeks. Overall the results from this study indicate that BZ was ineffective but both ivermectin and moxidectin are still effective in all groups. However, the reduced ERP results for the MLs would suggest that these products are less effective compared to label claims - a shortened ERP is believed to be an early indicator of resistance.

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Donkeys - a unique and challenging endoparasite host

Citation

Faith A. Burden, Mulugeta Getachew. April 2016. Donkeys - a unique and challenging endoparasite host. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 39:Supplement. S102-S103.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
5 April 2016
Volume: 
39
Issue: 
Supplement
Page numbers: 
S102-S103
DOI number: 
10.1016/j.jevs.2016.02.216
Abstract

Endoparasites in donkeys are ubiquitous and may cause serious disease. All common helminth parasites that affect horses also infect donkeys, therefore donkeys that co-graze can act as a significant source of infection for either species. Whilst donkeys are prone to the same parasite species as horses infection characteristics and presenting signs and symptoms of disease may differ. Large strongyles and cyathostomins are common in donkeys worldwide with Strongylus vulgaris causing significant disease in donkeys with poor anthelmintic treatment history. Cyathostomins infect the majority of donkeys globally and may rarely cause cyathostominosis or colitis; however signs and symptoms of both can vary significantly from those displayed in affected horses. The significance of low level cyathostomin infection on the donkey host is unclear, many donkeys appear to thrive with high faecal egg counts (> 3000epg) and when the donkey is in general good health they may exist with high cyathostomin burdens with little impact on their overall health. The donkey is renowned as the reservoir host for the lungworm, Dictyocaulus arnfieldi. Mature horses are not permissive hosts to the full life cycle of this parasite, but develop clinical signs on infection. In contrast, donkeys are permissive hosts without displaying overt clinical signs and act as a source of infection to co-grazing horses. Donkeys are also susceptible to the flukes, Fasciola hepatica and Fasciola gigantica and may be an important reservoir host for both human and herbivore infections particularly in developing countries. Finally, Parascaris spp. infections in donkeys are common, however infection is not only associated with young, immuno-compromised animals as seen in horses. Parascaris spp. infection is a frequent finding in all age groups of donkeys. The inability of many donkeys to develop lifelong immunity to Parascaris poses problems when attempting to reduce transmission of this parasite in herds which include adult and young donkeys. Anthelmintic treatment is challenging as many anthelmintics are not licensed for use in this species; however dosing should follow best practice used in horses. Anthelmintic resistance is of particular concern in donkeys with recent reports of lack of efficacy of all anthelmintic classes in cyathostomins infecting donkeys. Control of parasites in donkeys must primarily focus on reducing the risk of infection, maintaining good health and targeting drug treatments carefully. Donkeys can be co-grazed safely with other species but careful monitoring and control should be practiced to ensure that donkeys do not act as reservoirs of infection to other, more susceptible animals. The importance of parasite infection, particularly co-infection with multiple species must be appreciated. Donkeys under stress due to malnourishment, infectious disease, overwork or neglect are at a high risk of disease related to parasite infection and consideration must be given to targeted treatments in such circumstances. Whilst the donkey remains a challenging parasite host following simple control measures and improving the overall welfare of the donkey will undoubtedly serve both the donkey and other species grazing alongside.

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Reference intervals for biochemical and haematological parameters in mature domestic donkeys (Equus asinus) in the UK

Citation

Faith A. Burden, Mulugeta Getachew, Elizabeth Hazell-Smith, Valerie Patrick, Ryan Trawford, Harriet Brooks Brownlie. November 2015. Reference intervals for biochemical and haematological parameters in mature domestic donkeys (Equus asinus) in the UK. Equine Veterinary Education.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
18 November 2015
DOI number: 
10.1111/eve.12512
Abstract

Reference intervals (RIs) for haematology and serum biochemistry for donkeys in a temperate climate have been previously published using blood sample results from the resident population of a large donkey shelter in the UK. Periodic review of reference intervals is recommended to ensure their applicability to the patient population and changes in laboratory methods and technologies. The current study aimed to revise the previously published haematology and serum biochemistry values for the adult domestic donkey (Equus asinus) in the UK in the light of a change in analytical equipment at the Donkey Sanctuary laboratory, but also to refine the demography of the sample population with respect to age, physiology and clinical history. Clinical pathology results from 138 clinically healthy mature (4–24 years inclusive) female and castrated male donkeys selected from the resident population of the Donkey Sanctuary, were analysed retrospectively. The animals were blood sampled during the period February 2008 to June 2011 as part of a routine health screen prior to rehoming. Results for a total of 38 biochemical and haematological parameters were analysed including 3 previously unreferenced parameters in addition to those assessed in the previous study. The new reference intervals and median values show very poor transferability with recently derived reference intervals for non-Thoroughbred horses and only limited transferability with reference intervals previously published for donkeys in the UK. Of particular note is a marked reduction in the upper reference limit for triglycerides of 2.8 mmol/l (from 4.3 mmol/l) since this parameter is used to decide when donkeys are at risk of developing hyperlipaemia. This study demonstrates the value of intermittent review of reference intervals and refinement of study populations. Notwithstanding the caution with which reference interval data from different laboratories should be compared, the lack of transferability of results between donkeys and horses highlights the importance of use of species-appropriate reference intervals for clinical decision-making.

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Residual and ovicidal efficacy of essential oil-based formulations in vitro against the donkey chewing louse Bovicola ocellatus.

Citation

Bryony Sands, Lauren Ellse, Richard Wall. November 2015. Residual and ovicidal efficacy of essential oil-based formulations in vitro against the donkey chewing louse Bovicola ocellatus.. Medical and Veterinary Entomology.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
2 November 2015
DOI number: 
10.1111/mve.12148
Abstract

Essential oils have shown good experimental potential as novel veterinary ectoparasiticides. However, if they are to be used as veterinary products, they must be available in formulations that are suitable for practical application against specific ectoparasites. Here, the efficacies of formulations containing 5% (v/v) lavender or tea tree oil, in combination with two emulsifiers [a surfactant, 5% (w/v) N-lauroylsarcosine sodium salt (SLS), and a soluble polymer, 5% (w/v) polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)], with or without 10% coconut oil, were tested in contact bioassays against the donkey chewing louse Bovicola ocellatus (Piaget) (Phthiraptera: Trichodectidae). Residual activity was quantified in open and closed containers; ovicidal efficacy was also examined. Exposure to either of 5% (v/v) lavender or tea tree oils with SLS or PVP resulted in louse mortality of 100%, but when coconut oil was included as an excipient, significantly lower efficacy was recorded. However, the formulations became significantly less effective after 2 h in open containers and 40 h in closed containers. The results confirm that the residual activity of essential oils is relatively transitory and the addition of 10% coconut oil does not prolong the period of insecticidal activity by slowing essential oil evaporation. Too short a period of residual activity is likely to be a significant impediment to the effective practical use of essential oils. However, unlike many synthetic pediculicides, the essential oils tested here were highly ovicidal, which suggests that prolonged residual activity may not be essential to kill newly hatched nymphs after treatment.

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