working donkey

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 details
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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Common infectious diseases of working donkeys: their epidemiological and zoonotic role

Citation

Mulugeta Getachew, Faith A. Burden, Ulli Wernery. April 2016. Common infectious diseases of working donkeys: their epidemiological and zoonotic role. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 39:Supplement. 107.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
5 April 2016
Volume: 
39
Issue: 
Supplement
Page numbers: 
107
DOI number: 
10.1016/j.jevs.2016.02.225
Abstract

Over 38% of the world equine population (114 million) is made up of donkeys and more than 97% are found in developing countries and are specifically kept for work. Despite their significant contribution to the national economy, the attention given to study the infectious diseases of working donkeys is minimal. To address this The Donkey Sanctuary (DS) has been conducting studies in collaboration with Addis Ababa and Nairobi Universities, Central Veterinary Research Laboratory (CVRL) in Dubai and the Trypanosomosis Research Centre (TRC) in Kenya. These studies have shown a high prevalence of some important infectious diseases. Helminthosis: Helminth infection profiles of working donkeys living in semi-arid or tropical conditions are often very different from those of equids in temperate climates. They are often diagnosed with a high worm burden or faecal egg count irrespective of their age. The high level of age-independent infection may show that donkeys either do not develop protective immunity or that they might have become immuno-compromised, consequent upon the stress of their work intensity and/or undernourishment and general poor husbandry. Trypanosomosis: Although there is a general belief that donkeys are more resistant, trypanosomosis has been shown to cause severe clinical disease in working donkeys. Epidemiological studies in Ethiopia and Kenya have shown that the prevalence of trypanosomosis was as high as 65%, often with mixed infections of two or more species. In both countries T. congolense was the predominant species followed by T. brucei and T. vivax; often associated with anaemia and poor body condition. Trypanosomosis is claimed by local farmers as the major health constraint of donkeys in both countries. Recent serological studies by the DS in collaboration with the CVRL showed a sero-prevalence of 1.1% (n=662) T. equiperdum in Ethiopia. Piroplasmosis: Equine piroplasmosis is one of the most significant tick-borne diseases of donkeys in Ethiopia and Kenya. Recent studies in Ethiopia in collaboration with CVRL showed sero-prevalence of 53.3% to 58% T. equi and 13.2%-13.3% B. caballi (n=15-395) Most of the cases were associated with anaemia. Similar studies in Kenya reported only T. equi with a sero-prevalence of 81.2% (n=314). Viral and bacterial diseases: A recent study in Ethiopia in collaboration with CVRL showed a sero-prevalence of 8.5% (n=165) AHS, 84.6% (n=104) EHV-4, 20.2% (n=104) EHV-1, 0.5% (n=662) glanders and 0.2% (n=657) EIA. Similar study made in Kenya also showed a sero-prevalence of 35.2% (n=398) AHS. Donkeys showing typical clinical signs of AHS were noted in Kenya and Ethiopia. Although no epidemiological studies are available, cases of tetanus, strangles, rabies, anthrax and dermatophilosis are common occurrences in donkeys. These studies highlight how important infectious diseases in donkeys are and the need to consider them in overall epidemiological studies and for sound control and prevention strategies.

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Treatment efficacy in Equine Trypanosomosis: A prospective comparative study of three trypanocides in over 250 clinical cases in working equidae

Citation

Alexandra Rafferty, Jan Rodgers, David Sutton. April 2016. Treatment efficacy in Equine Trypanosomosis: A prospective comparative study of three trypanocides in over 250 clinical cases in working equidae. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 39:Supplement. S99.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
5 April 2016
Volume: 
39
Issue: 
Supplement
Page numbers: 
S99
DOI number: 
10.1016/j.jevs.2016.02.211
Abstract

Trypanocides are essential in trypanosomosis management, but evidence regarding treatment efficacy in equids is scarce. The objective of this study was to establish the relative efficacy of three trypanocides (Diminasan® 3.5 mg/kg IM, Cymelarsan® 0.25 mg/kg IV and Samorin® 0.5 mg/kg IV) with respect to improvement of clinical parameters and parasitic burden and to evaluate adverse drug reactions. A prospective randomised clinical efficacy study was performed in ten villages in The Gambia. Owners were invited to present horses and donkeys for free examination (history, clinical examination and jugular blood sample for packed cell volume (PCV) and total serum protein). Horses and donkeys were enrolled if they fulfilled at least 2/5 inclusion criteria for trypanosomosis (anaemia (PCV<24%), poor body condition (≤1.5), limb or ventral oedema, abortion or pyrexia). Randomised trypanocide treatment was administered and the animals were observed for adverse reactions. Follow up evaluation was performed at one and two weeks to assess treatment effect. Blood samples for each animal collected at weeks 1, 2 and 3 underwent PCR analysis with validated specific primers1 for T. vivax west (TVW), T. congolense savannah (TCS) and T. brucei (TBR).

254/710 animals examined fulfilled study inclusion criteria with follow up data obtained for 243. Age, gender, species, median PCV (22%; range 8-26) and body condition score (median 1.5/5; range 0.5-2.5) were comparable between treatment groups (p>0.1). No immediate adverse reactions occurred following Cymelarsan® or Diminasan®. Immediate reactions occurred in 12/45 (27%) of donkeys treated with Samorin® ranging from neck scratching, lip smacking to tachycardia, cold extremities, sweating and hypothermia. Demeanour classifications improved following treatment with Samorin® or Diminasan® (p=0.002). PCV increased at 1 and 2 weeks post treatment for all treatment groups (p<0.001). On preliminary analysis of PCR results (n=65), animals representing four villages were positive before treatment (week 1) for TVW (55/65; 85%), TCS (44/65; 67%) and TBR (17/65; 26%) with mixed infection common (45/65; 69%). Trypanosome species profile varied between villages (p<0.05). Post treatment positives occurred in all groups for all Trypanosoma sp but with a marked decrease in prevalence (Fig 1). Positives were most common in the Cymelarsan® group, particularly for TCS (7/13; 54%). Two weeks post treatment Diminasan® (15/19; 79%) and Samorin® (19/23; 83%) had reduced parasitaemia below the threshold of detection in most cases. The data support the continuation of treatment with Diminasan® and Samorin® (with careful titration of dosing in donkeys). Further investigation to quantify parasitaemia in post treatment positives will aid differentiation between treatment failure, reduced parasitaemia, new infections and residual non-viable parasite DNA.

Acknowledgements

This work was funded by The Donkey Sanctuary.

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A Neglected and Emerging Helminthosis: A Case of Equine Fasciolosis

Citation

Mulugeta Getachew, Giles T. Innocent, Stuart W. Reid, Faith A. Burden, Sandy Love. September 2015. A Neglected and Emerging Helminthosis: A Case of Equine Fasciolosis. Equine Veterinary Journal. 47:S48. 21.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
6 September 2015
Volume: 
47
Issue: 
S48
Page numbers: 
21
DOI number: 
10.1111/evj.12486_47
Abstract

Reasons for performing study
Although fasciolosis is an important livestock disease worldwide, the public health importance of human fasciolosis has increased in recent years and it is recognised as an important re-emerging zoonotic disease, its epidemiology and pathogenicity in donkeys, and the epidemiological role they may play have not been determined.

Objectives
To investigate the epidemiology and pathogenicity of fasciolosis in donkeys.

Study design
Cross-sectional coprological and retrospective post-mortem study.

Methods
Faecal samples collected from 803 randomly selected working donkeys from the central region of Ethiopia were analysed by a sedimentation-centrifugation-flotation technique. Further data on liver-flukes and associated pathologies were obtained by routine post mortem examinations of 112 donkeys, subjected to euthanasia on welfare grounds or died. Data were analysed using a generalised linear model and multivariate binary logistic regression in R statistical package with significance level of statistical tests set at P<0.05.

Results
Infection prevalences of 44.4% and 41.9% were obtained in coprologically and post mortem examined donkeys, respectively, irrespective of their age. Both Fasciola hepatica and Fasciola gigantica were identified with the mean infection intensity of 30 flukes. Older donkeys (≥8 years) were found harbouring a significantly higher worm burden (P<0.0001). Gross and histopathologies of hyperplasia and thickening of the bile ducts, fibrosis of large portal areas and irregular bile duct proliferation and hypertrophy were noted.

Conclusions
The high infection prevalence of fasciolosis and the associated hepatic pathologies in working donkeys shows not only the susceptibility of donkeys and the impact it has on their health, but also indicates the important role they can play in the epidemiology of both livestock and human fasciolosis. These further demonstrate the need for these animals to be considered in the overall epidemiological studies and for sound control strategies and prevention of fasciolosis.

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The impact of access to animal health services on donkey health and livelihoods in Ethiopia

Citation

M. Martin Curran, Feseha Gebreab, David G. Smith. The impact of access to animal health services on donkey health and livelihoods in Ethiopia. Tropical Animal Health and Production. 37:1. 47-65.

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Publication details
Volume: 
37
Issue: 
1
Page numbers: 
47-65
DOI number: 
10.1007/s11250-005-9008-z
Abstract

This study was carried out to assess the impact of animal healthcare services on poor donkey owners in Ethiopia. The services provided by the Donkey Sanctuary were used as a case study. A questionnaire survey was designed and carried out in the areas around Debre Zeit in the Highlands of Ethiopia. The staff carried out a survey at 10 sites. Six of these were in Donkey Sanctuary project areas and four were in control areas. The results showed that in project areas donkeys were significantly healthier and more productive than in non-project areas. Donkey owners in project sites felt better off for having access to animal healthcare services; donkey owners in non-project sites were less confident about their incomes and the health of their animals.

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