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Questions answered by our Donkey Doctors
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- Hoof and Leg Issues
Is it dangerous for a donkey to eat 2x1 sugar beet?I saw him on a mountain bike trail. I gave 1 on monday and 1 on wednesday and now he isn't in his meadow any more. I am very concerned. I am googling it and I read it is not the best thing to feed him (I will never do it again!). But can a donkey die from it in such a short period?
Sugar beets, depending on their degree of maturity (and therefor sugar content) could cause serious problems in a donkey. Though it is unlikely that just one would cause founder (laminitis) it is certainly possible. The other danger from sugar beets is choke. Large animals tend to bolt the tasty tubers and can get them stuck in their esophagus. Many years ago, when farms around Davis, California, raised a lot of sugar beets, they used to graze cattle on the leftovers after the beets had been topped and harvested. Some of my classmates had jobs "ridin' beets", in which they would ride through the fields looking for cattle choking on beet tops. They would open the animal and reach down their mouth and gullet to pull out pieces of beet that were stuck there. Carrots, celery, chard, or cucumbers are fine, but no beets.
Is there a supplement grain or pellet I can give my donkey as a treat. She is on a grass hay diet and gets to graze in a field grass pasture about a half hour a day. Also can I give her more pasture time? She is not over weight and gets all her shots and is de-wormed 3x per year.
There are a variety of treats given that the donkey is on a good diet, like yours is. Some trainers like just plain whole oats as a reward or treat. A few handfuls of a high fiber grain like that is okay, as a reward in training. I have found small pellets and oats a little clumsy to handle and we use just thin carrot slices. One can also use celery or cucumbers....or chard, depending on what you grow in your garden. We grow all these, feed a "salad" to all donkeys once a day (in addition to some hay and straw) and they do great. Some like carrots more than cucumber and visa versa. You just have to experiment.
What sort of supplement do donkeys need? He gets grass hay. Is horse guard a good choice? Or do they have different requirements?
I am pretty conservative about feed supplements for donkeys, or horses for that matter. I am fortunate in that I live in the Sacramento valley where, for many millennia, minerals have washed out of the mountains of a large geographic area in Northern California. So mineral and trace element deficiencies are rare. Up where I used to live, where that water started in those mountains, things like Selenium and Copper deficiencies were not unusual. I guess the point is: it depends. The quality of forage fed and where it is grown has a large effect on the need for mineral and vitamin supplementation. I know of a colleague who likes California Trace. It is not only a good source of trace elements (Selenium, Copper, Magnesium, Zinc) but also it has a good mix of sulfur amino acids which some research suggests are good for hoof quality. Vitamins, other than Vitamin E (can be deficient in poorly cured hay), are rarely necessary. Donkeys (and horses) make B vitamins and others in their colon. So spending money on these supplements is not a good investment, though more of them has no deleterious effect. Horse Guard is okay too, as long as it does not contain molasses or other highly digestible sugar calories. I couldn't find a feed analysis for Horse Guard.
I live in California. We keep our 2 donkeys on dry lot and provide grass hay (and a salt block). Should I also be giving the California Trace minerals? If so, how much and how often? Thank you.
My short answer is yes. I live in central NY where selenium deficient soils are a huge problem. That may not be the case in your location. However, donkeys do need other vitamins and minerals that are typically not present in sufficient quantities in most dry forages. Also, in my experience, even providing the salt blocks that contain selenium and other trace nutrients are not usually sufficient either. I find that the donkeys just don’t tend to lick them enough to consume adequate quantities. I would recommend feeding California Trace once daily at the dose provided on the label. It is a great way to be sure they are getting the essential micronutrients that they need and, if your donkeys are anything like mine, they will even think of it as a treat too and look forward to it each day.
What is your opinion on Teff hay? Is that a good option for my donkeys?
We have fed Teff hay to donkeys with good results. It is always a good idea to have hay tested as it may vary in non-structural Carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and minerals depending on where it is grown and how it is cured.
I live in SC and have a 4 yr old donkey who has always been out on grass 24/7, he also has been getting a cup of grain twice a day and nibbles on my horses hay. I just noticed he has gotten fat pockets on the side of back and neck, seems to have come up over last month or so. I have had so many comments on social media about how he should and shouldn't be fed. No grass, no grain, dry lot, muzzle. Not sure what is best. Love this little guy and want to do best for him but also want him to enjoy life.
It would be very hard to keep a donkey from getting fat in a place with as much rainfall and grass as NC. Remember these animals evolved to live in an extreme desert environment and are MUCH more efficient in digesting forage than horses. We just identified a 30+ year old donkey that had lived its entire life in Death Valley and was it good shape. That is a tough and efficient animal. It is really important that donkeys not be allowed to get fat, because when they do, it is difficult to get them to lose weight and they are at risk for metabolic diseases and laminitis. Recommendations:
Do not feed your donkey grain ever. It is unnecessary and has way too much digestible calories for a donkey.
IF the donkey is going to be on pasture it needs to be pasture that is as dry as possible. The high energy spring growth should be avoided. This can be done by strip grazing or chopping the grass really short. Muzzles are another option, as is dry lot, though donkeys like to get out in a pasture.
Do not feed the donkey with the horses because horse nutritional requirements are much different and horse feed and hay is just too rich.
Feed a high fiber, properly cured, grass hay or straw as the primary roughage. We feed our donkeys primarily straw with just a little rye grass hay here in California and they do great. The Donkey Sanctuary recommends feeding barley straw. Costal Bermuda, Orchard grass, and Teff hays are okay, but should be tested to make sure they are not too high in non-structural carbohydrates. Hays differ around the country so it is hard to make blanket recommendations. DO utilize advice from The Donkey Sanctuary, especially since they are in an environment that has similar rainfall characteristics to NC. Do NOT use advice on Face Book, unless the content is curated (such as the PVDR site), there are just too many pseudo-experts on social media.
Finally: make sure your donkey gets plenty of exercise. You can easily train them to drive or pack, and hiking or running with your donkey is one of my favorites.
I have a 17 year old female donkey that has been diagnosed with PPID. She seems to have a sensitive stomach and has on/off diarrhea. You can feel her ribs and she has the "hay belly". I am looking to build her topline and add some weight to her. She is currently on a dry lot with having hay fed 2x daily- this usually lasts them throughout the day. the vet is coming out next week to check teeth. She is on Equioxx. I thought of giving some Triple Crown Senior to her for protein. this has come on within the last 6 months or so. I have tried other feeds but she would not eat them.Can you help me with this? If I should put her on feed, could you send along a feeding schedule for her.
Thanks so much.
First I would want to know: are you treating the PPID with Pergolide. We will have at talk on this topic at the DWS this year. With pituitary metabolic disease you are going to the a redistribution of fat to the ventral abdomen (which tends to occur in older donkeys either way). If diarrhea was an issue I would DEFINITELY have a veterinarian auscultate, ultrasound, and/or x-ray the abdomen looking for sand. Also, the teeth definitely need examination because PPID is associated with dental disease and the will affect feed conversion. I would not be in a great hurry to increase protein intake until these issues have been sorted out, as high levels of protein that are not used for muscle formation, which will only occur at a low level in an older donkey, will increase the nitrogen load on the old kidneys. As a feed in older donkeys, particularly if they have bad teeth is Purina's Equine Senior. We had a small standard donkey that was living entirely on Equine Senior at the rate of 9 cups a day. He really got no other feed. In an animal with some dental ability, no sand, and controlled PPID, one might start at 6 cups a day, but I would definitely measure the donkey with a weight tape regularly, to monitor weight game and avoid the development of obesity. Be realistic about 'building her topline'. Metabolic disease driven by a PPID will determine the donkey's body confirmation, no matter what.
I recently noticed my mini donkey is eating manure. He has a salt lick and a mineral lick and he’s on senior feed and hay. I’m wondering if you’d have an explanation for this? He’s eating fine and seems normal but this seems odd.
All equines of all ages, but especially younger ones, will do a little "coprophagy" (eating manure). There is no evidence that this demonstrates a deficiency of any kind. My adult donkeys do it from time to time. It does not hurt them in any way and the only thing that I would worry about is that the donkey may be looking for more "environmental enrichment" (toys, logs to chew on, other donkeys to wrestle with, or some human interaction). You might try taking him for a walk daily or other activity. However, either way, don't worry about it.
I am looking to adopt a donkey and one of the ones I like at the SAC has a broken crest. Is this something that I would have to be concerned with if I adopted him? He is not overweight currently. Thank you for your help.
A broken crest is not a health problem for a donkey, as long as it is no longer obese. This condition does not affect that animal's soundness in any way, just its looks.
I have 3 sheep and 1 donkey. I give loose minerals to them all making sure there is little or no copper that would harm my sheep. However I believe the donkey does need copper. I feed them all together so it would be quite difficult to give donkey a separate mineral. Is there a pill something I can give her and not the sheep?
It is EXTREMELY unlikely that a donkey eating good quality forage would need copper supplementation. Unless your particular part of the country has severely copper deficient soils and forage (local agricultural extension office could tell you this), do not worry about copper supplementation.
How many hours a day is it normal for a donkey to lay down? One of my donkeys consistently lays down much more often than the other. Thank you!
So it looks like the small amount of information available on the amount of time that donkeys spend 'down' suggests that it is something like 1.75% of their daily cycle. Some researchers are working on using some modern technology to measure this more accurately. I think the owner of this donkey should consider pain as a possible cause, even though it is eating etc. A symmetrical gait does not guarantee lack of pain. Veterinary examination and the phenylbutazone (2-4 mg/kg or 1-2 mg/lb) test for a couple of days would be warranted.
What and how much should you feed a mini donkey? Thanks
Approximately 2% of their body weight in grass hay spread out over 2 - 3 feedings per day.
My parents teenage male donkey, Jock, is a bit overweight and the vet they use recommends confining him to a smaller corral to prevent him from eating too much hay. Another visiting vet said that his weight could cause him liver damage. I’m not sure how to help him get to a healthy weight again. Thank you for allowing me to ask for your expertise.
These are always tough cases. Yes, your veterinarian is right in that obesity can result in liver damage or a "fatty liver syndrome". Just like in other animals (dogs, cats, and humans....) losing excess weight is hard and takes time. Don't get impatient. It also takes both a decrease in digestible calories AND an increase in exercise. What we have had the best luck with is using a high fiber roughage, because it keeps the donkeys happy, gives them something to do, and exercises their digestive track without providing a lot of calories. The Donkey Sanctuary recommends Barley Straw (the stems of the barley plant without any grain on it) as the best roughage. the trouble is that in most of the USA barley is not a common crop. So, instead, we have used wheat straw and it has worked just fine. This is usually reserved for horse bedding in the USA, but donkeys can use it quite effectively as feed. Make sure that there are no wheat heads in the straw and have your donkey's mouth examined to make sure the teeth are in good shape. Obviously, the donkey needs to be fenced out of places where it can "help" the horses with their feed and NO green pasture. Donkey are just not evolved to live on highly digestible feeds. Then, start taking walks with your donkey or teach it how to do obstacle courses or (what I have done) train it to pull a wagon. Donkeys enjoy "having a job" and "getting out". They are very easy to train and it is FUN! The nutrients that donkeys need that are not found in straw, are few and can be supplemented with a variety of calorie free additions to the diet, that you can feed with a low-cal treat like some chopped carrots, cucumbers, or chard.
I have a 9 year old John and I have been considering turning him out with my weanling/yearling foals. I usually put out a lick tub for the babies. Would that be safe for my donkey? He truly believes he is a part of the show string horses as he lives with them now with daily turnout but I think he would be a good buddy for my little guys. If it is not safe for him to have access to the lick tub I will let him stay with the show horses. Thank you so much for your time and all the wonderful work you all are doing. Bless you
It depends a lot on what is in the lick tub. If it is salt, other electrolytes, and trace elements, then there really isn't any danger to the donkey. On the other hand if it contains highly digestible energy sources such as molasses, beet pulp, or fats/oils it could very well be harmful to a donkey, with its much lower energy requirement and high propensity for obesity.
I have a kill pen mule and her belly very extended her back hip bones are protruding more each day. Was wormed last month.
I would start with a good dental exam. Particularly with age this can seriously affect body condition and feed conversion. Deworming is a good idea, but a fecal exam 2 weeks after deworming will tell you if she has encysted small strongyles. She may require a Fenbendazole power pack. Deworming should always be evaluated by fecal analysis. We were teaching owners how to do these at the donkey welfare symposium. All you need is a child's microscope. After that, assuming the diet is adequate, it may be necessary to investigate further by some blood work: complete blood count (looking for evidence of anemia or internal abscesses), fibrinogen or Serum Amyloid A (measures of inflammation), and serum chemistries (looking at liver, kidney, and other organ function). This sounds like a lot but it is only two small tubes of blood. As a basic principle: it is better to invest the money on the front end, and get a diagnosis, than to simply try things hoping for improvement. The approach can waste time and end up expending more money (not to mention the mule's welfare), in the long run. Many mules do have a body form with prominent hip bones and a pendulous abdomen, but if you feel it is getting worse rapidly, the above is the approach that I would take.
I would also add that, depending on where the mule has come from and the selenium content of the soil, as well as the feed it has been on, it may be worthwhile to check the selenium and vitamin E status of this animal as well. These can also be run on the same two tubes of blood mentioned for the other diagnostics listed. Deficiency in one or both of these nutrients can result in muscle wasting. Additionally, if the mule is older (like >15 years of age), it may also be worthwhile to have your veterinarian check ACTH levels (also a blood test) to determine if the mule has Cushing’s disease (another illness that can result in muscle atrophy and a pendulous abdomen).
Is it okay to give a miniature donkey a Banamine shot when I think she might be possibly be starting to colic, please? Also could you tell me what the dosage should be, please?
There is some controversy over the exact dosage of flunixin (Banamine) in donkeys. Because they metabolize more rapidly than horses do, some have recommended a higher dose or giving it more frequently. More recently others have suggested sticking to the horse dosage because of concerns about toxicity. We use 1 mg/kg which is the horse dose and have found it efficacious and safe. Two other things to point out:
- Flunixin has the potential for hurting a donkey in several ways: it can injure the kidney at high doses or if the animal is dehydrated, it can cause gastric ulcers, and when give by intramuscular injection it can cause a serious bacterial infection call "Clostridal myositis". Any evidence of swelling or pain at the injection site should be addressed right away. This may require antibiotics or surgically opening the injection abscess. I would avoid intramuscular injection. Flunixin is well absorbed orally. We only give it by intravenous injection.
- If your donkey is colicing repeatedly a you should have a thorough veterinary workup. This should include a dental exam, blood panel, and, potentially abdominal ultrasound or radiography. this sounds like a lot, but colic means that there is something significant going on in the donkey's abdomen which could get worse and could be serious. Having a baseline of information will pay off in getting an accurate diagnosis. It would also be a very good idea to keep a record of any colic symptoms (agitation, rolling repeatedly, anorexia, etc) AND the donkey's heat cycles if it is a jennet. I actually keep a jennet who has mild colic episodes as part of her estrus. We prevent these will flunixin given orally when we know she is coming into heat.
Anyway, this topic is a bit more complex than it may seem...the short answer is 1 mg/kg, but get a diagnosis on the colic first.
Do donkeys need grain?
No, healthy donkeys should be fed a good quality grass hay. Supplemental grain is rarely needed. At PVDR, we only supplement those in poor body condition and nursing moms.
What is the best feed for a healthy donkey?
Peaceful Valley provides a good quality coastal bermuda grass hay for all of our general population. We feed 1-1/2% of their body weight daily and allow for competition and waste (about 10 pound for a standard.
Our 20 year old Donkey received vaccines a few days ago, because of a rabid Bat within 7 miles of our location they asked to ad Rabies to his vaccines he is also compromised with PPID , he has had severe reactions within the day of his vaccines, he became dripping wet within a short time as well as weakness in his back limbs, we were told that its because vaccines make the immune system work overtime and this is not unusual. I do not think this is the case, I have had horses for 40 years and not have seen this before, is it the Rabies shot..we have a horse also 20 wh had the same shots, he is also not himself but nothing like our Donkey
It would be helpful to know what brand of rabies vaccine was used. GENERALLY, rabies vaccine (which in all cases is a killed vaccine, that is there is no living virus in the vaccine) is one of the ones that are least likely to cause a reaction. I would not say that vaccines of any kind make the immune system "work overtime". They do expose the immune system to a foreign material that may, in the animal's future pose the threat of infection, thus readying the immune system for a normal response. When reactions to vaccines occur it is because the donkey (human or any animal) has developed a hypersensitivity (or allergy) to some part of the vaccine. this could be the killed virus, the carrying agent, or the adjuvant (something that is added to improve the normal immune response). You can test the donkey for its level of immunity to rabies. This would be a good idea rather than repeating the vaccination (usually done in 1 year). Vaccine reactions are very rare but any animal can develop a hypersensitivity to just about anything. The reason for this the subject of a large amount of research, and the causes are controversial. The most important vaccinations for donkeys are tetanus and influenza, followed by virus encephalitis (West Nile, EEE and WEE) in some parts of the country.
Hi, I own a mini mare hinny that was used for roping, she is affraid of human's. I purchased her and her sister from a local rescue. I've been rehabilitating my two hinnies for about 3 months. The sister is coming along nicely I can pretty much do anything with her. The hinny I'm writing about is very, very slowly learning to trust me. My question, the hinny has slip her halter off of one ear and the halter is rubbing her skin in front of her ear and behind the other ear, she came with the halter on. She needs to be sedated to remove her halter. My vet has tried 3 different type sedations. Using a blow gun, Doseamine IM, orally Acepromazine 1 1/2 ml in grain didn't work gave her another 1 1/2 ml with grain 40 minutes after the first dose, no effect. Today, 50 mg's of Aceprom tabs in her grain, no results. My vet is and equine vet, but because she is a hinny and weights about 275 pounds he's at a loss of what to give her and the dosage. Do you have any suggestions? The medication needs to go in her grain.
For mules you need to go with 1 1/2 to 2x the dose of Detomidine (Dormosadan). We would use 0.02 -0.08 mg/kg in a horse. So I would go at least 0.08 - 0.12 mg/kg IM or orally in a mule. Then you need to wait 40 minutes without ANY stimulation. Acepromazine will never adequately sedate a significantly scared animal. It just 'takes the edge off' and prevents windup anxiety. Detomidine gel is available and can be mixed with grain. Some will eat it, some won't. As with any sedation in a really wild or frightened animal you may get what appears to be profound sedation, only to have it spook and run off when approached. Personally, i would construct an alley with a side gate chute, as you see at rodeo arenas. Then habituate the mule to this restraint with feed. Allowing the mule two walk through the chute for several days. Once that is done using treats and calm words (and maybe a little Detomidine in the feed) you can slip the halter off or readjust it. You can also use the chute to help gentle the mule. The chute can be made with four 6" posts set in concrete so that the top rail is 5-6 feet high. Use 2x6 planks for the sides and put it together with screws, not nails. You will need a gate at the front, one at the back, and on at least one side, and an "v" shaped alley at the back to make it possible to get the mule in to the chute. All this minimizes trauma to the animal and makes it possible to quietly restrain them.
There are protocols for dart immobilization of mules, donkeys, and horses. As with any sort of drug based approach there are always going to be risks.
What do recommend for vaccines annually?
While necessary vaccines differ depending on management system and part of the country, the Core vaccines are:
- Tetanus (tetanus toxoid)
- Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis (EEE and WEE)
- Equine influenza (this is different from horses where influenza is not necessarily a core vaccine. "Flu" is a much more serious disease in donkeys.)
- West Nile Virus (WNV) (in most parts of the country)
Note: all vaccines should be properly started with a single injection, followed by a second ('booster') injection 2-3 weeks later. Failure to do this may result in incomplete immunity. Further booster vaccinations should be given on a yearly basis. EEE, WEE, and WNV should be boostered before the spring mosquito season starts. In parts of the country where mosquitos are active year around, repeating the EEE, WEE, and WNV vaccines every 6 months may be a good idea. If donkeys are transported frequently, or exposed to a large, transient horse population influenza vaccine may need to be given more than once a year.
Other vaccines that may be important:
- Rabies: in some parts of rural USA rabies is common in the raccoon, skunk, fox, or bat populations. In these areas equines, including donkeys should be vaccinated for local rabies recommendations.
- Potomac Horse Fever : donkeys are theoretically susceptible to this disease and in parts of the country where the disease is common (east and south east) vaccination should be considered. This vaccine can be purchased as mixed with rabies vaccine.
- Streptococcus equi or "strangles" : donkeys are susceptible to this equine disease. Control methods are controversial and should be discussed with your local veterinarian. Quarantine and Hygiene will generally keep this contagious disease out of a herd. Both live and killed vaccines exist, but they are associated with complications and should only be used in special situations.
What vaccine should I give my donkey?
It is always best to check with an equine veterinarian for any specific needs in your area.
At PVDR, we use the following:
Vetera Gold XP + VEE is a combination vaccine for use in healthy horses 4 months of age and older as an aid in the prevention of disease caused by: Equine Influenza Virus (type A2), Equine Encephalomyelitis (Eastern, Western and Venezuelan), Equine Rhinopneumonitis (EHV-1 and EHV-4), Tetanus and West Nile Virus. Vetera Gold XP + VEE aids in the reduction of severity of clinical disease caused by West Nile Virus. It protects against the Ohio/03 (Clade 1), Richmond/07 (Clade 2) and Kentucky/95 Equine Influenza Virus strains. Available in 1 dose/1 ml syringe or 10 dose/10 ml vial.
I have a 4 week old mini baby jack that is shaking his head and itching his ears against everything he can, including us and only stops if we rub his ears for him. At that point he is in total heaven. I believe he has mites. How can I treat them?
Before I thought about mites, I would think lice. Bovicola equi is common in donkeys and can cause considerable itching. The parasite is hard to see and often lives in the mane and on the ears. There are a number of treatments that range from Equispot to Neem Oil. Flea sprays that are used on dogs and cats will also work. You can look for the lice eggs in the mane and on the hair. They are tiny (pin head sized) grayish ovals that are attached to the hair. Whatever treatment you use, repeat in 1 week or a new "hatch" of lice will come right back again. Also, if one donkey has lice they probably all do. Mites (Sarcoptes) can occur in donkeys. If you swab the inside of the ear or take some crusts off the skin to your veterinarian they can identify these rare parasites. In some parts of the country there is also a "spinous ear tick" (Otobius megnini) that can live and reproduce down in the ear canal. This is easy to treat with a commercial tick spray, Neem oil, or a pyrethrin. To find these you would need an "otoscope" to look down into the ear canal. I have never seen ear ticks in donkeys but they do occur in horses and cattle, and there is no reason why the might not get into donkey ears. Again, these are rare, and usually cause a little head shaking and no itching.
Is there a particular Strongicide Based wormer that you recommend for donkeys?
Ivemectin, Pyrantel Pamoate (Strongid), and Fenbendazol (Panacur, including the Panacur "power pack") are all safe and effective in donkeys. Unfortunately, this is not based on the same sort of research as has been done in horses, but that would require killing experimental animals and counting worms in their intestines, which I will not do. This is based on a lot of experience doing the next best thing: counting parasite eggs in the manure after deworming. Remember that deworming programs only work if you take the environment, climate, and individual immunity of the donkeys into consideration. This is best done by fecal analysis and good manure control, followed by the use of dewormers when necessary.
Question on worming
Jan/July you use Ivermectin
I have 5 Australian Shepherds and they can’t be exposed to that wormer due to drug sensitivities.
If they eat livestock poop treated with ivermectin they can become very ill.
What else can I use comparable to Ivermectin???
I’ve used the other products as those are not a problem
This is a question I get fairly frequently at the lab, and I’ve spoken to our Toxicologist about it extensively. The maximum excretion of ivermectin in the feces of horses happens around 24 hours but it can then linger for several days—up to 9 days or so. That said, for a 50 lb dog, it would have to consume about 2 kgs of manure (at peak levels of excretion) to get a toxic dose. That’s a lot of poop that would have to be eaten! The bigger, and more common occurrence (and I have seen this happen!), is dogs consuming de-wormer that has fallen from a horse’s mouth. So it is definitely a good idea to keep your dog in the house while you are actively de-worming your horses at the very least.
While individual collie breed dogs can be sensitive to ivermectin, there are no reported cases of intoxication from eating the feces of herbivores that have been treated with ivermectin. It is likely that the concentration is just too low to be a problem. Other anthelminthics can be used for all parasites except bots, which will require treatment with ivermectin. This should be done after the first hard frost in the winter. As always, deworming plans should be based on regular fecal analysis to insure that treatments are at the right time and neither done too frequently or not often enough. All anthelminthics can have effects on environmental invertebrates such as soil nematodes and dung beetles. So over worming not only wastes money, but affects the environment.
Should donkeys be wormed every month?
The most important part of a deworming program is the analysis that you do by running a fecal analysis, from time to time on your animals. Worming every month may be too much or just right depending on the microenvironment on your pasture. This is almost impossible to evaluate in every individual case. So collecting a few fecal samples, and having them analyzed for worm eggs (which are microscopic) is essential to getting parasite control right. You should be able to get with your vet about doing the analysis. The analysis does not require expensive equipment: basic microscope (the kind they use in elementary or HS biology labs will do), some glass slides, and kitchen salt (and a few measuring tools).
I have two donkeys and three goats with plenty of room to roam on five acres. There is also plenty of weeds/grass to browse in Spring and early Summer.
Per your website, I have been diligently deworming them every three months. However, with such a small population over such a large area, I’ve heard that this frequency is not necessary.
The most important part of a deworming program is the analysis that you do by running a fecal analysis from time to time on your animals .Both donkeys and goats are sensitive to what are called "strongyle" parasites. However, they do NOT cross infect each other (goats get goat worms, donkeys donkey worms and "never the twain shall meet"). Worming every three months may be too much, not enough, or just right depending on the microenvironment on your pasture. This is almost impossible to evaluate in every individual case. So collecting a few goat & donkey fecal samples and having them analyzed for worm eggs (which are microscopic) is essential to getting parasite control right. You should be able to get with your vet to do the fecal analysis. The analysis does not require expensive equipment: basic microscope (the kind they use in elementary or HS biology labs will do), some glass slides, and kitchen salt (and a few measuring tools).
How often do I need to deworm my donkey?
It is always best to check with a veterinarian in your area.
At PVDR, we deworm twice per year in the Spring and the Fall as the weather changes.
How do I know which dewormer is right for my area?
PVDR performs fecal parasite studies prior to dewormer to determine what is required. We then retest a few weeks after application to ensure we have a "good kill".
Hoof and Leg Issues
I have recently purchased two donkeys, born this past spring. They're friendly, but not used to people handling them. they are not tame and I need to tame them in a gentle manner so I can halter them and castrate one and trim them both when they need it. How do I tame them? I'm had extensive experience, since 1999 With Parelli Natural Horsemanship but not with an equine that had never been haltered. How to do I go about this?
Most importantly is time and patience. Donkeys are incredibly smart and the best way to train them is through positive reinforcement. Take your time. Spend 15 or so minutes every day. We have several "how-to" videos on our YouTube channel which can be found at www.donkeyrescue.tv -- examples include "How to Trailer your donkey" and "How to pick up donkey's hooves."
My parents and I have a new 8 year old female donkey who has never had her hooves done. She threw my father and the hoof dr against the wall.....bucking etc, even after she watched our male of 17 years have no problem getting them trimmed. What should we do?
Here is a link to our YouTube channel which if you scroll down a bit, has lots of "how to" videos on this particular subject: www.donkeyrescue.tv -- Most importantly is time and patience. Donkeys are incredibly smart and the best way to train them is through positive reinforcement. Take your time. Spend 15 or so minutes every day, even if those steps are baby steps.
If after reviewing these videos, you still have some specific questions, please let us know -- we're happy to help.
Advice please. I’m grasping at straws to make my donkey better.
6/27/19 first visit, vet wrapped hoof both hoofs for abscess, worst hoof was front right. Unwrapped 7/02/ 19, abscess blew out of the coronet band, soaked several days in Epsom salt, donkey still limped some, after 2 weeks donkey still limped some but not as bad, messaged the vet to see if I needed to do anything else he said No, healing from coronet band abscess is a long healing process. Still limping on 7/28/19 I rewrapped with ichthammol, unwrapped 7/31/19 and could see a pinkish puss draining by the coronet band, soaked my in Epsom a few times. Some days he doesn’t limp as bad and walks with a fairly good gait, was putting weight on his hoof. Last 2 days he’s giving into his hoof again but still walking. “Friend” that has horses (not a vet) looked at his hoof and said he thought his coffin bone was effected and should think about putting donkey down. I think x-rays should be done to confirm that. I’m thinking of wrapping him today in sugardine for 2 days and see how he does. I don’t want to lose my donkey, he’s a big donkey pet. I appreciate a reply of your thoughts. I will get my vet back out this week. Thank you for your input and time. I’m desperate to make him better
Before assuming that the coffin bone is involved you should definitely get radiographs (x-rays). Even if it IS involved , as long as the coffin joint or navicular bursa are not involved, this is likely treatable . To get abscesses to heal you need to:
1. Remove any hoof wall or sole covering the abscess material as the bacteria that cause the infections are sensitive to oxygen AND you have to get any dirt or sand out of the area that is trying to heal.
2. Get rid of the bacterial infection, without using caustic agents which retard healing by injuring the hoof tissue. Antibiotics used locally (NOT by injection or feed into the donkey), such as metronidazole or tetracycline work well for this.
3. keep the hooves scrupulously dry (again: no caustics, just a dry environment). It does take months for the hoof wall that separated at the coronary band to grow all the way out and be replaced by normal wall. However, once the infection and dirt is remove from the abscess track the tissue should start to granulate and heal and the pain should resolve. The fact that you still have exudate (puss) suggests that there is still infection lurking under the wall or sole.
Radiographs can help identify these and also tell the farrier where they can trim more, without contacting bone. Sometimes removing the wall/sole can be done more exactly with a Dremel tool. Also, there are times when so much wall needs to be removed that you lose more than 2/3's of the circumference of the normal weight bearing wall of the hoof. If this happens you may need to put a padded boot or other protective device on the hoof. This will need to be removed, cleaned, and the tissues treated daily. It is hard to recommend the exact location of trimming or of boot placement without seeing the hoof and x-rays. So these are general recommendations.
We have two older donkeys, standard and a mini. We have had our standard for 12 years and she is approx 30 years old. The mini came to us from the SPCA 3 years ago. We are located in North Texas (Keller TX) and due to this years weather, our pastures are very green and proving to be dangerous to our donks.
Both are suffering from beginning stages of Laminitis. We are currently housing them in a small area so that can not graze. However, I'm finding it very difficult to come up with a low sugar hay for them. I was able to find Timothy and Teff. Not able to get straw. What would you recommend?
Grass hay is the number one feed choice for donkeys. Types of grass hay include: Bermuda, Coastal Bermuda, Orchard, Timothy & Brome.
Our standard donkey who is the easiest keeper came up lame in one leg about 5 days ago. We began soaking in Epsom salts 2x day and gave him butte. Not much changed. A farrier visit had already been scheduled and she said it was white line in all 4 feet. I ordered Magic Cushion, and Clean Trax. I figured I would do one or two Clean Trax treatments followed by the Magic Cushion. Is this the right path? In the meantime while we wait for this stuff to arrive, we will keep him off pasture, keep the hooves clean, and brush with 50% water to bleach ratio? He had only been on pasture 1 hour twice a day with a pound of hay after.
I sympathize with the owner (and of course, the donkey) and recognize that what we call lameness is often brought on by a combination of factors. To really come up with at diagnosis, one would have to know a little more about this case, primarily: "how lame is this donkey?" If we make "1" as a case where it is very hard to see any abnormal gait at all, even at the trot, and "5" where the patient will not bear any weight at all on the leg, where is this donkey on that spectrum? I am also assuming that you cannot feel or see any swelling somewhere else in the leg. It does sound like the hoof is the site of the problem and that he may very well have "white line disease" in all 4 feet. However, WLD only causes severe lameness in extreme cases, and since your farrier feels that all 4 feet are affected, yet the lameness is primarily in one leg, you have to wonder if there is something else going on with that lame leg. Was a 'hoof tester' used on the affected hoof? It does sound like this might be a wall or sole abscess, which the donkey could have in addition to the WLD. Hoof testers are a good way to isolate the area of the abscess. There also seems to be some concern over laminitis. Does the donkey's hoof growth or previous x-rays suggest that this donkey has chronic laminitis? Is the donkey obese? For the time being, your treatment of the White Line situation is appropriate. My experience is that all the separated wall must be removed, back to normal white line and hoof wall tissue, to achieve a cure in WLD. This often requires some kind of hoof protection to allow the more sensitive structures of the hoof from bruising. So your hoof packing and, perhaps, a boot are good ideas. Scrupulous cleanliness and the local treatment you are using , along with hour farrier's help, can overcome WLD. If the lameness is in the 3-5 category, and if it persists for any number of days, we would also recommend a veterinary visit.
What is your best treatment for white line disease in donkeys?
White line disease can be frustrating to deal with for sure and seems to be very common in donkeys. Depending on the severity, treatment often entails a hoof wall resection by a farrier. This procedure allows for oxygenation of the affected area so that the causative anaerobic bacteria can no longer survive. Treatment and prevention should also be focused on good hygiene and keeping the hooves as clean and dry as possible.
I think our 3 year old mule might have an abscess near the frog on his left front hoof he has always been really sensitive on the left side what can I do to help him?
It would be best to get a veterinarian out to the farm to take a look at your mule. Since it sounds like he has always had some sensitivity in that area, a thorough exam is a very good idea. It may be an abscess, or it may require further diagnostics such as x-rays to determine the cause of the sensitivity and then come up with the best treatment plan. Further, mules and donkeys, unlike most horses, can have pain in the lateral sulci (deep grooves next to the frog) resulting from chronic anaerobic bacterial infection thinning the keratinized covering of the sensitive tissues that form the sole and frog. They will react to minor hoof pick pressure. They respond to treating the infection (sometimes called "thrush") and allowing the hooves to dry out and toughen.
How often do donkeys need to be trimmed?
Hoof growth is impacted by many variables. Donkeys on hard rocky ground may never need trimming, wild burros hooves are typically perfect. Nutrition and time of year can also influence growth, hooves grow less in colder months as the donkey's metabolism switches gears and uses more energy to keep warm.
Not sure if this is a tooth issue. This morning I noticed a small lump on the left side of one of my mini donkey's face. It is about 1.5" long. It feels rock hard, not soft at all. Does not appear to hurt when I pushed on it. She is eating her hay as normal and also her small piece of alfalfa cube treat. Other than the lump she appears her usual self. My vet coming Monday. Anything you can suggest I can or should do until then?
No this is not something requiring immediate treatment. If the donkey is chewing normally, there is no blood coming from mouth, and no excess salivation it is VERY unlikely to be a foreign body. As teeth erupt sometimes the pressure on the inside of the alveolus (the hole that the tooth originates from) will cause bone on the outside of the face or jaw (usually the jaw) to grow abnormally and form a bump. These are usually not a problem for the donkey and often resolve as a young animal gets older and the deciduous "cap " comes off the growing tooth, relieving the pressure. Your veterinarian can look in the mouth and maybe take an x-ray and diagnose this pretty easily. Very very very rarely bone tumors can develop in the jaw and facial bones. I would not worry about this, but do get the cause diagnosed.
How often should my donkey have his teeth checked?
Here is PVDR Policy:
A donkey's teeth can acquire sharp edges from years of grinding their food. These edges can cut the inside of the mouth making it difficult for a donkey to chew properly. A warning sign is wet clumps of undigested hay laying in the feeding area. A procedure known as "floating" grinds the sharp edges down and creates a more even bite. The procedure is usually done under a light sedation and the donkey must be immobilized.
All donkeys teeth will be checked annually by our in-house medical staff, this can be done in conjunction with annual vaccines. Any donkey over the age of 10 should be checked annually for teeth problems by a certified professional. Aside from sharp edges, another major problem is lost teeth. Old Age, poor food quality and fighting are the most common causes of tooth loss. Without the upper and lower tooth working together, a donkey cannot chew food properly. Weight loss is a sign of chronic tooth problems.
All senior donkeys 20+ should have their teeth checked every six months by a certified professional. They should also be assessed for additional feed requirements. Sweet feed is a good choice as it is easy to chew. All dental work must be recorded on Lightspoke.
I have a mini donkey that has off/on loose bowels, sometimes full runny diarrhea. There seems to be no pattern to this. Temp is always fine, fecal is fine, once and a while she will go off feed but otherwise will eat. She is on Prescend and Equioxx daily. She has hay pretty much 24/7. She had lost weight so vet suggested a cup of Triple Crown Senior (blood work seemed fine). I was wondering, do you think a Probiotic or gut supplement might help her?
thank you for your time.
With pituitary metabolic disease you are going to the a redistribution of fat to the ventral abdomen (which tends to occur in older donkeys either way). If diarrhea was an issue I would DEFINITELY have a veterinarian auscultate, ultrasound, and/or x-ray the abdomen looking for sand. Also, the teeth definitely need examination because PPID is associated with dental disease and the will affect feed conversion. I would not be in a great hurry to increase protein intake until these issues have been sorted out, as high levels of protein that are not used for muscle formation, which will only occur at a low level in an older donkey, will increase the nitrogen load on the old kidneys. As a feed in older donkeys, particularly if they have bad teeth is Purina's Equine Senior. We had a small standard donkey that was living entirely on Equine Senior at the rate of 9 cups a day. He really got no other feed. In an animal with some dental ability, no sand, and controlled PPID, one might start at 6 cups a day, but I would definitely measure the donkey with a weight tape regularly, to monitor weight game and avoid the development of obesity. Be realistic about 'building her topline'. Metabolic disease driven by a PPID will determine the donkey's body confirmation, no matter what.
I brought my donkey to our summer home a week ago. Has been here before. Dry lot with limited grass hay as usual. 3rd day he was laying down alot and not interested in humans like normal. Resting right hind leg alot when standing. Very little interest in eating. Drinking ok, not as much as normal though. Pooping and peeing ok. Took him to the vet yesterday. Kept overnight. Treated for dehydration and floated teeth. Still not much interest in eating and laying down with front legs straight out. Any ideas? Thank you!
In the absence of more information there are a lot of possibilities. It would be nice to know a little about what part of the country and any laboratory tests that the veterinarian ran (even if the results were normal). It would also be important to determine if the owner's excellent observation of resting a hind leg went along with any signs of lameness when the donkey was asked to walk. Vaccination history (viral neurologic diseases can present like this)? If the donkey was actually dehydrated, how was that determined? Dehydration doesn't just happen if adequate water is available, meaning that abnormal water balance due to kidney or intestinal problems should be considered. ALSO, maybe it just because I used to practice on the coast, I would definitely investigate the possibility of sand accumulation in the large colon (which can cause abdominal discomfort and colic). This can be done easily with a stethoscope (put on lowest part of abdomen and listen for 5 minutes for sounds that mimic the tide running through sand on a beach), though ultrasound and x-rays are more definitive and gives you an idea of exactly how bad the problem is. Hyperlipemia would always be a concern in a case like this.
My donkey has his GGT result st 75 ? What would be the normal range ? And what could cause such a high result ? Thank you
As is so often the case, the numbers behind donkey blood values tend to be small, and the establishing of normals is often not done. The important question is: does this donkey with a GGT of 75 have OTHER abnormalities? Is it eating? maintaining weight? or showing any signs of discomfort, lethargy, or inflammation? Generally, a single abnormal value, even when significantly high as in this case, doesn't mean much in the absence of any other identified problems. While it could mean liver disease, it might also be the result of an animal being out "on the end of the bell shaped curve" of normals (especially since the donkey curves are bit fuzzy), OR there might have been some problem with processing the sample (blood cells ruptured in transport, for instance). I would recommend doing a very thorough physical exam, looking at a complete blood count and chemistry panel, AND repeating the GGT for confirmation. A liver ultrasound wouldn't be a bad idea either.
if there aren’t any concerning clinical signs and this is the only elevation seen on bloodwork, I probably wouldn’t panic, but I’d certainly recommend following-up to look at trends over time. I’m also a huge believer in trying to establish normal values for individuals, realizing that there is a pretty wide bell shaped curve for many of these indices. Given the lack of current knowledge of normal blood values in donkeys coupled with their stoic nature, I think it would be a great idea to run more routine blood chemistries, like at the time your veterinarian is doing annual vaccines and coggins tests so that you can pick up on changes that may be happening over time. Or, bank serum from routine coggins tests in the freezer so that you can always go back and compare chemistry values from when the donkey was apparently healthy, to that when he is ill.
A neighbor tossed insulation in their yard and their pet donkey is eating it. Will it hurt them?
The exact problem that may be caused by the insulation will vary on what it is made out of. HOWEVER, all of these materials are indigestible and capable of causing intestinal blockage which can be fatal Donkeys chew on all sorts of thing, but synthetic fibers or rubber should be avoided.
Does the Jenny need separated from the jack and other Jenny before giving birth? She is three days past her due date.
Separation from the rest of the herd depends on the personalities of the animals involved. It is possible that a jennet who is low on the 'pecking order' with aggressive individuals in the herd may benefit from being fenced off, allowing her to give birth and start raising her foal by herself. In general, however, this is not necessary. Donkeys don't like to be without their herd mates. So keeping them together will be the best in most cases.
How long are donkeys pregnant.
The average is 12 months, but they have been known to go as early as 11 months and as late as 14 months.
I had a 5 year stallion miniature donkey castrated 3 days ago. The vet is experienced in his mid 30's up to date and has saved many of my dogs and goats. He sedated with but then IV ketamine. He castrated and kept insisting the scrotum is left open and no suturing on the testicular arteries. It appeared there was a lot of bleeding which I kept mentioning. He said it was normal. The donkey got to his feet and still had oozing which I mentioned again and told normal. I checked on him in an hour, he was laying down on his belly, tachypnic, I called the vet and he said it was resedation. I told him something was wrong. An hour later, donkey was on his side, rather stiff legged but responding. Went to the vet office and described and he said to expect sedation for the next 6-8 hours. Nex hour went home and the donkey was dead. I feel he bled out. Is it the NEW way to just crimp the arteries and vas deferens and "sing the star bangled banner for the length of time to hold pressure with his clamp, and leave scrotum open. I am worried about is this standard of care.....I have never had an animal die after castration.
This is really terrible! While it is difficult to say exactly why this donkey died without an autopsy (which I am sure would have been very hard for you), it does sound like the cause was internal bleeding. Other possibilities would be a blood clot causing a stroke or an abnormal reaction to the anesthesia. However, these would be EXTREMELY rare. Most practitioners put a ligature (suture to close the blood vessels) on the spermatic chord in donkeys. Their scrotum and spermatic chord are much more vascular than those of horses and in my experience just using emasculators is not adequate for hemorrhage control. The published rates for mortality in horses after castration is something like 0.3% . Our rate has been 0.0006% after some 8,000 castrations of horses, donkeys, and mules. Mortality rates just for donkeys have not been published. I know this is not much comfort in losing your donkey. We do recommend ligation of the chord and it is normal to leave the scrotum open to drain with field castrations. That does not affect the amount of hemorrhage and results in fewer complications.
I have a Mini Donkey that Foaled on Monday the 14th. The Foal is either Premature or Dysmature. Born very small, pliable ears, silky coat. He seems to be making it so far , no obvious problems except for size and lack of body fat. Nurses great, follows Mom etc...
Outside of normal illness. When do you think we are "out of the woods" on his prognosis for making it?
Although this sounds promising it might be a good idea to have a blood test for passive transfer of immunity. It is possible for premature foals to lack maternal immunity even if they appear to nurse well. This is because they may use up their mother's protein antibodies for energy or they may not absorb them properly. The trouble is that when foals lack adequate maternal immunity the septicemia and bone infections that develop can hit very suddenly and be nearly impossible to treat. Another concern would be the degree of calcification, especially in the tarsal (hock) bones. This is common in "premee's" and can result in joint collapse if the foal exercises too much. This can be examined with ultrasound or x-rays, but, at a minimum, I would avoid turning the foal and dam out for a lot of exercise until the foal is a couple of weeks old. ANY sign of lameness or lethargy in this foal is an emergency and requires veterinary examination right away.
We have a Jinny that's almost 6 months, we are getting dad castrated in the 31st will he try to mate with her? I read that she doesn't go into season until she is a year old? Any help would be appreciated
Jennets start cycling around a year of age, though some may start a few months sooner. Remember that even after castration male donkeys will try to mount a jennet in heat occasionally. That is normal. You should be safe, but would get the jack castrated soon.