Many donkeys are kept as companions in the UK and are not ridden or work, therefore dental pain can often go unnoticed by owners. Donkeys suffer from an increased frequency of dental pathology compared to horses and require regular dental treatment (rasping) to optimise their welfare. Faecal fibre length (FFL) has been suggested as a non-invasive method to assess when Equidae require dental treatment. This study aimed to identify FFL pre-rasping in donkeys requiring dental treatment and to evaluate how this changed over a 6-week period post-rasping. Twenty adult donkeys of mixed sex and age, and subject to analogous management regimes were selected from the Donkey Sanctuary. Faecal samples were taken for FFL analysis pre-rasping (week 0) and post-rasping (weeks 1, 2, 3 and 6). Mean FFL, determined via laboratory analysis, was recorded for each donkey and the cohort each week. Repeated measures ANOVA with post-hoc Bonferroni analyses and a Bonferroni adjustment (P≤0.01) examined if differences occurred in FFL between weeks. The cohort's mean FFL was higher pre-rasping than for all weeks examined post-rasping. Significant reductions in mean FFL for the cohort were reported pre- and post-rasping for week 0 to weeks 1, 2, 3 and 6, weeks 1 and 3, 1 and 6, weeks 2 and 3, and week 2 and 6 (P<0.0001). Pre-rasping FFLs >3.3mm were associated with the presence of dental elongations in adult, companion donkeys. This suggest that FFL measurement is a useful non-invasive tool that could be used to assess the dental health of donkeys.
- prophylactic dentistry
- dental pathologies