Donkeys differ from horses and ponies, with differences in anatomy, physiology and temperament that are important to be aware of when planning sedation, anaesthesia and analgesia. Protocols for donkeys may be based upon those used in horses and ponies, but careful attention must be paid to the different pharmacological and handling requirements as well as the variations necessary for certain procedures. It is also important to note the difficulties in judging the weight of a donkey.
The doses for drugs may be different to those used in horses and ponies because of an altered drug metabolism. Such differences are thought to be a result of the donkey being a desert adapted animal, with differing body fluid compartment distribution and faster oxidative metabolism of many drugs compared to horses and ponies.