Textbook outlines all there is to know about dentistry in donkeys

Research suggests that dental disease has a prevalence of 73-93% in donkeys.
Research suggests that dental disease affects up to 93% of donkeys worldwide. © The Donkey Sanctuary

An official edition of the definitive guide on dentistry in donkeys for vets and equine dental specialists has been published.

A free electronic version of The Clinical Companion of Donkey Dentistry was previously released by leading animal welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary, with a handbook printed last year as a prototype for delegates at the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Congress in Birmingham, UK.

The Clinical Companion of Donkey Dentistry
The Clinical Companion of Donkey Dentistry is now available as a printed book. © The Donkey Sanctuary

The title is the first in a series of specialist, in-depth handbooks complementing The Clinical Companion of the Donkey textbook, which equine professionals consider indispensable support to anyone caring for donkeys and mules.

After disorders of the feet, dental disease is the second most common clinical problem encountered in donkeys, and has 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 preventive dentistry essential. The new book aims to increase awareness on dental issues, and increase the confidence of professionals in carrying out dental care and treatment in donkeys.

The book is illustrated with colour photos and diagrams and includes a list of definitions of the common dental disorders affecting donkeys.

The Donkey Sanctuary’s Gemma Lilly, former Chair of the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians, said research suggested that dental disease has 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,” said Lilly, a British Equine Veterinary Association and British Veterinary Dental Association examiner.

Guidance on biosecurity, instrument maintenance and troubleshooting is included, as well as information on breeds such as the Mammoth Jack, Poitou, Zamorano-Leonés and Miniature Mediterranean donkeys. Lilly says the content is applicable to the general equid population, “so this is a relevant text for all dental technicians and vets”.

She said the text would be an accompaniment to the charity’s online courses, which start rolling out next year.

• The new, upgraded paperback edition is available from both Amazon UK and Amazon (US). The guide is also available from the charity’s online shop.

A PDF version can be downloaded free of charge from The Donkey Sanctuary website.

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