mule

Reference intervals for hematological and blood biochemistry values in healthy mules and hinnies

Citation

A. K. McLean, W. Wang, F. Navas-Gonzalez, J. B. Rodrigues. May 2016. Reference intervals for hematological and blood biochemistry values in healthy mules and hinnies. Comparative Clinical Pathology. 25:4. 871-878.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
10 May 2016
Volume: 
25
Issue: 
4
Page numbers: 
871-878
DOI number: 
10.1007/s00580-016-2276-3
Abstract

Little scientific information is known regarding mules and even less is known about hinnies. Due to increased popularity of both as recreational animals which are still commonly found as working equids, there is a need for such basic information for practitioners and owners. The purpose of this study was to begin to establish reference ranges for hematological and biochemical parameters of clinically healthy mules and hinnies compared to those of their sires and dams (horses and donkeys of similar genotype, phenotype within species) used for hybrid offspring production. Such information will contribute to our understanding and attempts to improve management and disease diagnosis of hinnies and mules. Eighty-one healthy equids (n = 30 hinnies, 20 mules, 20 donkeys, and 11 horses) were sampled. Clinical data recorded age, gender, BCS, and temperature. Two 10-mL blood samples were collected by venipuncture of the jugular vein, using “vacutainer” plain and EDTA tubes. These samples were analyzed for RBC, PCV, Hb, WBC, platelets, proteins, fatty acids, electrolytes, enzymes, and glucose. Average and standard deviations were calculated. Kruskal-Wallis test was used to test the significant value. Findings were considered to be significant if P ≤ 0.05. When comparing all parameters among four groups of equids, differences were found for temperature, red blood cell lines, white blood cell lines, electrolytes, and enzymes. Differences in mules and hinnies were seen in RBC, WBC, magnesium, bilirubin, creatinine, and AST. The results are constricted to very few known populations of equid hybrids with similar genetics. In this study, hinnies and mules showed results that were closer to those of horses than those of donkeys. Some differences recorded in hinnies may be related to age: RBC, WBC, MCH, MCV, eosinophils, magnesium, total bilirubin, creatinine, and AST. Findings may help establish new, relevant hematological and biochemical parameters which may prevent medical misdiagnosis. Additional research is needed with larger populations of healthy mules and hinnies.

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Measuring conformation in mules, hinnies, and donkeys (Equus asinus) from Spanish and Portuguese populations

Citation

A. K. McLean, W. Wang, A. Heartfield, J. B. Rodrigues. May 2015. Measuring conformation in mules, hinnies, and donkeys (Equus asinus) from Spanish and Portuguese populations. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 35:5. 426-427.

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Publication date: 
1 May 2015
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Page numbers: 
426-427
DOI number: 
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2015.03.112
Abstract

Mules and hinnies are hybrid offspring of donkeys (Equus asinus) and horses (Equus caballus). Little scientific information is known regarding mules and even less is known about hinnies, the reciprocal cross. Conformation standards are in place for horses but currently are not available for equid hybrids or donkeys. Conformation maybe related to functionality and longevity of equids. All animals in this study were of similar genetics (Zamora Leones and Mirandes donkey breeds and Spanish horses) from Toro, Spain and Miranda do Douro, Portugal and used for traction.

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The prevalence of lameness and associated risk factors in cart mules in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Citation

Alina Ali, Solomon Orion, Tewodros Tesfaye, Jennifer A. Zambriski. September 2016. The prevalence of lameness and associated risk factors in cart mules in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Tropical Animal Health and Production.

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Publication date: 
1 September 2016
DOI number: 
10.1007/s11250-016-1121-7
Abstract

Ethiopia has 7.1 million donkeys and mules, the majority of which are used as pack animals. Factors such as poor harness quality, long-distance traveling, and heavy cartloads have been linked to reduced work efficiency. Addressing the health and welfare of working equids is imperative not only for the animals but also for the households dependent upon them for livelihood. In developing countries, 75 % of working equids have gait or limb abnormalities, but the relationship between workload and prevalence of lameness is unknown. We examined 450 cart mules in Bahir Dar,
Ethiopia. Lameness and workload were assessed through use of a survey and lameness exam. We found that 26.8 % of cart mules were lame, and acute lameness of the forelimb was the most common. Animals with poor harness quality were 2.5 times more likely to have sores and 1.6 times more likely to be lame. Lameness tended to be associated with cartloads >700 kg (P = 0.09), and there was a significant association
between multiple-leg lameness and cartload weight (P = 0.03). The presence of sores was the best predictor of lameness (P = 0.001). Possible areas of intervention may include education to reduce average daily workload and improving harness design.

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Donkeys are Different

Citation

Faith A. Burden, Alexandra K. Thiemann. March 2015. Donkeys are Different. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.

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Publication date: 
20 March 2015
Abstract

As a unique species of equine the donkey has certain specific variations from the horse. This review highlights the origins of the donkey and how this impacts upon its behaviour, physiology and propensity to disease. The donkey is less of a flight animal and has been used by humans for pack and draught work, in areas where their ability to survive poorer diets, and transboundary disease while masking overt signs of pain and distress has made them indispensable to human livelihoods.

When living as a companion animal however the donkey easily accumulates adipose tissue, this may create a metabolically compromised individual prone to diseases of excess such as laminitis and hyperlipaemia. They show anatomical variations from the horse especially in the hoof, upper airway, and their conformation. Variations in physiology lead to differences in the metabolism and distribution of many drugs. With over 44 million donkeys worldwide it is important that veterinarians have the ability to understand and treat this equid effectively.

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Review: Anaesthesia and analgesia of the donkey and the mule

Disclaimer

Non-DS research

This publication may be of interest, however, The Donkey Sanctuary has had no direct involvement with this publication, and claims no credit for published results.

To our best knowledge donkey welfare has not been compromised, and the following published research is furthering the understanding and respect of donkeys worldwide.

Citation

Nora Matthews, J. P. A. M. van Loon. January 2013. Review: Anaesthesia and analgesia of the donkey and the mule. Equine Veterinary Education. 25:1. 47-51.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
1 January 2013
Volume: 
25
Issue: 
1
Page numbers: 
47-51
DOI number: 
10.1111/j.2042-3292.2011.00312.x
Abstract

The number of donkeys and mules throughout the world is stable, and awareness of their use and concern for welfare, pain recognition and treatment are receiving increasing veterinary interest. Therefore, accurate information about anaesthesia and analgesia in donkeys and mules is important to ever more equine practitioners. Since donkeys are physiologically and pharmacologically different from horses, knowledge on species specific aspects of anaesthesia and analgesia are very important. Mules combine elements from both donkey and horse backgrounds, leading to great diversity in size, temperament and body type. Physiologically, they seem to resemble horses more than donkeys. This review highlights the current knowledge on various anaesthetic and analgesic approaches in donkeys and mules. There is still much information that is not available about donkeys; in many circumstances, the clinician must use available equine information to treat the patient, while monitoring carefully to observe for differences in response to therapy compared to the horse.

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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 details
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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Mind the gap: Spatial perseveration by horses, donkeys and mules in a simple detour task

Citation

Britta Osthaus, Faith A. Burden, Ian Hocking, Leanne Proops. Mind the gap: Spatial perseveration by horses, donkeys and mules in a simple detour task. Presented at ASAB Interdisciplinary Workshop 2012: Physical Cognition and Problem Solving. (27 June - 28 June 2012). Birmingham, UK.

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Presentation details
Date presented: 
Thursday 28 June 2012
Abstract

We compared spatial problem solving abilities in the mule (Equus asinus x Equus caballus) with that of its parent species to assess the effects of hybridization on cognition. In a detour task the animals(N=48) 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) and deviations from the straight line and the latency to crossing the barrier were recorded. Mules performed significantly above chance level on their first detour, unlike the other two species. We discuss our results with reference to hybrid vigour and to the flexibility of problem solving strategies with regards to species differences.

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Social relations in a mixed group of mules, ponies and donkeys reflect differences in equid type

Citation

Leanne Proops, Faith A. Burden, Britta Osthaus. May 2012. Social relations in a mixed group of mules, ponies and donkeys reflect differences in equid type. Behavioural Processes.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
10 May 2012
DOI number: 
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2012.03.012
Abstract

Donkeys and mules are frequently kept as companion animals for horses and ponies, with these different equids often being considered a homogenous group. However, the extent to which domestic equids form inter-specific bonds and display similar social behaviour when living in a mixed herd has not previously been studied. Here we compare the social organization of these three (sub)species when housed together, providing the first systematic analysis of how genetic hybridization is expressed in the social behaviour of mules. A group of 16 mules, donkeys and ponies was observed for 70 h and preferred associates, dominance rank and the linearity of the group’s hierarchy was determined. The different equids formed distinct affiliative groups that were ordered in a linear hierarchy with ponies as the most dominant, mules in the middle ranks and donkeys in the lowest ranks. Within each equid subgroup, the strength of the hierarchy also varied. Thus in the present study, the three (sub)species displayed different social organization and levels of dominance and preferred to associate with animals of the same equid type, given the opportunity. These results suggest that different domestic equid (sub) species display variations in social behaviour that are likely to have a strong genetic basis.

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Practical feeding and condition scoring for donkeys

Citation

Faith A. Burden. October 2011. Practical feeding and condition scoring for donkeys. Equine Veterinary Education.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
1 October 2011
DOI number: 
10.1111/j.2042-3292.2011.00314.x
Abstract

Donkeys have evolved to thrive on highly fibrous, poor quality foodstuffs and have evolved as browsers as well as grazers. As such, they have different nutrient requirements with significantly lower energy and protein needs when compared with horses. Dietary management of donkeys is essential when kept in a temperate climate as they are prone to obesity and related disorders. A diet based on fibrous forages and limited grazing is usually sufficient for the majority of donkeys and mules. Specialist feeding is discussed in this article.

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The potential of the whole-community approach to achieve the welfare of donkeys and mules

Citation

Avril R. Moreno. December 2010. The potential of the whole-community approach to achieve the welfare of donkeys and mules. Presented at 6th International Colloquium on Working Equids. (29 November - 2 December 2010). New Delhi, India. 407.

Authors
Presentation details
Date presented: 
Monday 29 November 2010
Proceedings
Number of pages: 
407
Publisher: 
The Brooke
Publication date: 
31 December 2010
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