Reason for study
Dental disorders have recently been recognised as having major clinical and welfare implications in donkeys. However, no investigation appears to have examined the association of dental disorders with managemental factors and any intercurrent illness.
To determine the association of dental disorders observed in a post mortem study with age group, body condition score, time since last dental treatment, feeding and the illness that necessitated euthanasia or caused death.
A prospective study documented the type and prevalence of dental disorders in 349 mainly aged donkeys (median estimated age of 31 years) that were subjected to euthanasia over an 18 month period in 2005-2006. The estimated age, body condition score, supplemental feed status, time since last dental treatment and nature of the intercurrent disease that necessitated euthanasia or caused death were also recorded. Multivariable analysis was performed to examine associations of these factors with specific dental disorders and between specific dental disorders.
There was a high prevalence (93.4%) of significant dental disease. Age group was significantly associated with the presence of dental disorders and an older age range was a high risk factor for the presence of cheek teeth (CT) diastemata. There was a significant association between the presence of CT diastemata and the concurrent presence of displaced, missing and worn CT. There was also a significant association between the presence of diastemata and colic.
Conclusions and potential relevance
Aged donkeys have a high prevalence of dental disorders especially of CT diastemata. Dental disorders and, in particular, the presence of CT diastemata were significantly associated with colic. Routine, prophylactic dental treatments should be performed, especially in aged donkeys.