The anatomy and treatment of the musculoskeletal system in donkeys is largely the same as in horses and ponies, with the exception of the foot and it is important to be aware of the differences in the anatomy of the foot, and the associated requirement for different management of conditions.
Conditions of the musculoskeletal system are one of the main reasons for euthanasia, and a lack of regular footcare frequently contributes to this. The stoical nature of the donkey can make lameness diagnosis challenging. This is exacerbated in the companion donkey by a lack of physical exercise, regular inspection and opportunities to be aware of issues.
Laminitis, one of the most common causes of lameness, can easily be overlooked and may go undiagnosed for a considerable time.
Hoof disorders and distal limb osteoarthritis and injury are commonly found in working donkeys globally, where as higher limb joint osteoarthritis is more commonly in older companion animals.