Dental work gives Jonty the donkey something to smile about

Veterinarian Jesus Buil Garcia and vet nurse Dominique Doyle check the condition of Jonty’s teeth following his dental work. Photo: The Donkey Sanctuary.

Jonty is back to his cheerful self after undergoing a tooth extraction in his barn that would normally have been performed in The Donkey Sanctuary’s hospital.

The Covid-19 restrictions currently in force across Britain did not stop the 18-year-old donkey getting the dental care he needed.

Jonty was suffering from a painful ulcer caused by a displaced tooth that was constantly rubbing against his cheek.

Displaced teeth tend to “grow” quickly as they do not have an opposing tooth to wear against, and for this reason, he needed a special dental care plan.

Jonty had already been having his teeth rasped more frequently, but this treatment was proving to be no longer suitable for him.

The decision was made to remove the affected tooth, which would bring to an end the discomfort arising from the toothache and sore cheek.

Donkeys in the care of the charity would be usually be transported to the organisation’s donkey hospital near Honiton, but as Jonty also suffers from chronic uveitis, resulting in severe sight impairment, it was decided that treatment should take place in his barn at the charity’s international headquarters in Sidmouth, reducing the stress the journey might bring.

Under the direction of the veterinary department, the sanctuary team at Sidmouth improvised a surgical room in Jonty’s barn ready for the operation, ensuring the procedure would be carried out in an environment in which he was comfortable.

Veterinary surgeon Jesus Buil Garcia, planned to perform the extraction with veterinary nurse Dominique Doyle. As the pair are partners, they were able to work in close proximity to one another throughout the operation, ensuring Jonty received the best care possible.

“We knew it would not be an easy procedure considering the location and degree of displacement of the tooth,” Jesus explains.

Dominique helped Jonty settle before fitting an intravenous catheter, and under the direction of the vet, sedated the donkey, maintaining a standing sedation for the duration of the procedure.

Jesus continues: “Once Jonty was suitably sedated, I performed a mandibular nerve block to ensure Jonty could not feel any pain during the procedure, before extracting the tooth using the dental tools and forceps brought from the hospital.”

During the procedure, Dominique carefully monitored all parameters during the anaesthesia, to make sure Jonty was not feeling any pain, and that all his vital signs remained normal.

An hour and forty-five minutes later, the tooth was removed and Jonty was able to go back and join his herd.

Jonty has recovered well, and although he will need regular veterinary check-ups until the tooth socket has completely healed, he is not in any pain or discomfort while eating anymore.

Jonty’s quality of life has hugely improved, the charity says, thanks to the collaboration of sanctuary staff and the veterinary department.

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One thought on “Dental work gives Jonty the donkey something to smile about

  • April 26, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks for helping Jonty! He’ll be so much more comfortable now. 🙂


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