Dental disease is recorded as being the second most common clinical problem encountered in the donkey, after disorders of the feet. It has the potential to cause significant pain, which may go unrecognised in these stoic animals.
Published studies indicate that a wide range of pathology is seen in a significant proportion of animals in all the environments in which they are kept. The pathology often increases in incidence and severity with age and may be more prevalent in certain populations or breeds. Individual animals often present with multiple disorders.
The common dental disorders have been classified for the purposes of this chapter by the origin; developmental or acquired; not forgetting that developmental disorders may eventually lead to the onset of acquired problems. The specific aspects related with the disorders are included here, providing important information for a better understanding, diagnosis and treatment of the disorders.
It is important to consider that conditions rarely present singularly, so a full examination is essential. Where a condition is acquired and secondary to a development disorder, it may be appropriate to address the primary cause as part of the treatment.