Definitive donkey dentistry guide launched – and it’s free

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Research indicates that dental disease has a prevalence of 73-93% in donkeys globally.
Research indicates that dental disease has a global prevalence of 73-93% in donkeys. © The Donkey Sanctuary

A new professional textbook focused on dentistry in donkeys has been launched, and can be downloaded for free.

The Clinical Companion of Donkey Dentistry was launched by equine welfare charity The Donkey Sanctuary at this week’s British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Congress in Birmingham.

It is the first in a series of specialist in-depth handbooks to complement The Clinical Companion of the Donkey textbook, which was released last year. The dentistry guide will be available in book form later in the year.

The Clinical Companion of Donkey Dentistry is available for free download now, and a textbook will be available later in the year.
The Clinical Companion of Donkey Dentistry is available for free download now, and a textbook will be available later in the year.

Dental disease is the second most common clinical problem encountered in donkeys, after disorders of the feet. Such issues have the potential to cause significant pain.

Donkey teeth are designed to wear constantly as they are continual grazers and thrive on a diet of highly fibrous and tough-to-chew food, making disease-preventing dentistry essential. The new book aims to increase awareness, and confidence of professionals in carrying out dental care and treatment in donkeys.

The Clinical Companion of Donkey Dentistry enables The Donkey Sanctuary to share its vast knowledge and experience in donkey and mule dentistry to improve the health and welfare of donkeys globally. This guide is illustrated with colour photos and produced in an easy-to-navigate format over its 237 pages. The handbook includes a list of definitions of the common dental disorders affecting donkeys.

Dr Faith Burden, Director of Research and Operational Support at The Donkey Sanctuary said: “We are delighted to release this new dentistry book which focuses on an important, but often neglected element of donkey and mule welfare. By providing this evidence-based handbook, we are sharing our knowledge and expertise, which has been developed during The Donkey Sanctuary’s last 50 years.

“Through our commitment to donkey focused research, much of the information and advice contained within the book stems from research carried out here at The Donkey Sanctuary in collaboration with leaders in the field of equine dentistry, such as Dr Nicole du Toit and Professor Paddy Dixon. We hope that this latest addition to our ‘Clinical Companion’ series will improve knowledge and promote best practice to improve donkey welfare around the world.”

An extreme case of overbite in a donkey.
An extreme case of overbite in a donkey. From The Clinical Companion of the Donkey.

The Donkey Sanctuary’s Gemma Lilly — BEVA/BVDA examiner and former Chair of The British Association of Equine Dental Technicians — said research suggested that dental disease had a prevalence of 73-93% in donkeys globally.

“Dental disease can have a profound effect on longevity, systemic health, welfare and quality of life, and subsequently a major concern for professionals and owners alike.

“This volume charts new territory, being the only technical handbook focused on the oral and dental health of donkeys and mules across the world.  I am particularly proud of the bias towards high welfare and the practical application of contemporary science-based principles, many of which are products of our own research,” Lilly said.

“We have included guidance on biosecurity, instrument maintenance and troubleshooting, in addition to information on quality of life and specialist breeds such as the Mammoth Jack, Poitou, Zamorano-Leonés and Miniature Mediterranean donkeys. Much of the content is applicable to the general equid population, so this is a relevant text for all dental technicians and vets.”

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