Thursday, February 3, 2011

Guidelines for Donkey Dental Care Released by The Donkey Sanctuary

Guidelines for Donkey Dental Care Released by The Donkey SanctuaryJust like other equines, donkeys need regular dental care to prevent pain and difficulty eating. Because of donkeys stoic nature, they often will not demonstrate symptoms of pain, which means owners must be proactive with dental care.

A new pamphlet from U.K.-based animal welfare charity The Donkey Sanctuary outlines everything a donkey owner needs to know about dental care for their animals. Horse owners sometimes notice dental problems when their horse develops problems wearing a bit. Since many donkeys never wear a bridle, donkey owners must watch for other signs that indicate tooth problems. These are some of the signs outlined by The Donkey Sanctuary.

* Difficulty chewing. A donkey with tooth problems may tilt his head or spill grain as he chews, or he may drop balls of hay that he is unable to chew well enough to swallow (this is known as quidding.)
* Bad breath. In the case of gum disease, food matter collects around the teeth and begins to rot, causing a strong odor. This can lead to infection and abscess.
* Nasal discharge. Milky white, yellow or green discharge occurs when there is an infection. When this occurs along with swellings in the face, it may be an infected tooth root. Nasal discharge may also indicate a respiratory infection.
* Undigested feed in manure. If you notice whole grains or long strands of hay in your donkey's manure, this may indicate that he is unable to grind his feed sufficiently.
* Colic. Colic in donkeys may be caused by dental issues.
* Inability to eat. If your donkey is unwilling or unable to eat, or if he has dropped weight, it may be the result of dental disease.

In many cases, donkeys display no symptoms and may even appear healthy or fat, so regular dental care should always be a component of a donkey's routine health care regimen. Just like horses, all donkeys should have their teeth checked annually. Young and senior donkeys should be checked twice a year.


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