dental

Nutrition and dental care of donkeys

Citation

Faith A. Burden, Nicole du Toit, Alexandra K. Thiemann. August 2013. Nutrition and dental care of donkeys. In Practice. 35. 405-410.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
1 August 2013
Journal: 
In Practice
Volume: 
35
Page numbers: 
405-410
DOI number: 
doi:10.1136/inp.f4367
Abstract

The domestic donkey is descended from wild asses and has evolved to live in some of the most inhospitable places on earth. Little research has been carried out to address the specific needs of the donkey, which has traditionally been viewed as a small horse. The donkey is different from the horse in many ways; of particular note is its ability to thrive on highly fibrous feeds. This article discusses the nutritional requirements of donkeys and how dental disease may play a role in determining their nutritional requirements.

Online references

Post mortem survey of dental disorders in 349 donkeys from an aged population (2005-2006). Part 1: prevalence of specific dental disorders.

Citation

Nicole du Toit, John Gallagher, Faith A. Burden, Padraic M. Dixon. May 2008. Post mortem survey of dental disorders in 349 donkeys from an aged population (2005-2006). Part 1: prevalence of specific dental disorders.. Equine Veterinary Journal. 40:3. 204 - 208.

Authors
Publication details
Publication date: 
1 May 2008
Volume: 
40
Issue: 
3
Page numbers: 
204 - 208
Abstract

Abstract

REASON FOR PERFORMING STUDY:

Donkey dental disorders are being recognised with increased frequency worldwide and have important welfare implications; however, no detailed investigations of dental disorders in donkeys appear to have been published.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the prevalence of specified dental disorders in donkeys by performing a prospective post mortem study on donkeys that were subjected to euthanasia or died for other reasons at the Donkey Sanctuary, UK.

METHODS:

Post mortem examinations were performed on 349 donkeys over an 18 month period, 2005-2006. The presence and extent of specified dental disorders were recorded and these data analysed to determine their prevalence and common locations.

RESULTS:

A high prevalence (93%) of disorders was noted in the population with a median age of 31 years. In particular, cheek teeth diastemata (85% prevalence) were very common, often associated with advanced periodontal disease. Other disorders observed included missing teeth (in 55.6% of donkeys), displaced teeth (43%), worn teeth (34%), local overgrowths (15%), focal sharp overgrowths (3%) and dental-related soft tissue injuries (8%).

CONCLUSIONS AND POTENTIAL RELEVANCE:

Aged donkeys have a high prevalence of significant dental disease, especially cheek teeth diastemata. These findings highlight the importance of routine dental examinations and prophylactic dental treatments to improve the dental health and welfare of donkeys.

Online references

Comparison of the microhardness of enamel, primary and regular secondary dentine of the incisors of donkeys and horses

Citation

Nicole du Toit, B. Bezensek, Padraic M. Dixon. June 2008. Comparison of the microhardness of enamel, primary and regular secondary dentine of the incisors of donkeys and horses. Veterinary Record. 162:9. 272-275.

Authors
Publication details
Publication date: 
1 June 2008
Journal: 
Veterinary Record
Volume: 
162
Issue: 
9
Page numbers: 
272-275
DOI number: 
10.1136/vr.162.9.272
Abstract

The microhardness of the enamel, primary dentine and regular secondary dentine of seven donkey and six horse incisors was determined with a Knoop indenter at the subocclusal and mid-tooth level. The mean microhardnesses of the donkey incisor enamel, primary dentine and secondary dentine were 264·6 63·00 and 53·6 Knoop Hardness Number, respectively. There was no significant difference between the microhardness of the enamel and primary dentine on the incisors of the donkeys and horses, but the microhardness of the regular secondary dentine of the donkeys' incisors at the mid-tooth level was slightly but significantly less than that of the horses. There was also a difference in the microhardness of the secondary dentine between the subocclusal and mid-tooth levels in both donkey and horse incisors.

Because most donkeys live well beyond 30 years of age (Crane 1997), it has been proposed that their teeth may be harder than the teeth of horses, wear more slowly, and thus remain functional for longer (Misk and Seilem 1999). There have been studies of dental microhardness in human beings (Craig and Peyton 1958, Collys and others 1992), sheep (Suckling 1979), cattle (Attin and others 1997) and horses (Muylle and others 1999b). In horses, there are differences between breeds in the rate of dental wear caused by attrition (Muylle and others 1997, 1998) and in the microhardness of enamel and secondary dentine (Muylle and others 1999b), which could account for these differences. It is proposed that there may be a similar difference between the microhardness of the teeth of donkeys and horses that may contribute to the less rapid attrition of donkey teeth.

The aim of this study was to compare the microhardness of the enamel and primary and secondary dentine of the incisor teeth of donkeys and horses, to determine whether there was a significant difference between them.

Online references

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.

Authors
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.

Authors
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 findings in 203 working donkeys in Mexico

Citation

Nicole du Toit, Faith A. Burden, Padraic M. Dixon. December 2008. Clinical dental findings in 203 working donkeys in Mexico. The Veterinary Journal. 178:3. 380-386.

Authors
Publication details
Publication date: 
1 December 2008
Volume: 
178
Issue: 
3
Page numbers: 
380-386
Abstract

Clinical dental examinations of 203 unsedated working donkeys in tropical and temperate climatic areas in Mexico revealed a high prevalence (62%) of dental disease with sharp enamel points present in 98% of the animals. More significant dental disorders (diastemata, 4%; overgrown teeth, 18%; worn teeth, 16%; missing teeth, 0.5%; displaced teeth, 1.5%; fractured teeth, 2%) with welfare implications that required immediate treatment were also present in 18% of donkeys. The high prevalence of buccal ulcers (14.3%) and calluses (13.3%) present in this population was believed to be due to the high prevalence of sharp enamel points in conjunction with the use of tight nose bands and head collars. Dental disease was significantly associated with age groups, but not with body condition score or to the climatic area where the donkeys lived. As part of more general examinations, 81% of donkeys that had faecal egg counts performed, had parasite burdens which mainly showed a moderate level of infection. This study concluded that dental disease is a welfare concern in working donkeys in Mexico.

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