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Proops L.,University of Exeter | Burden F.,The Donkey Sanctuary | Osthaus B.,University of Exeter | Osthaus B.,Canterbury Christ Church University
Behavioural Processes | Year: 2012

Donkeys and mules are frequently kept as companion animals for horses and ponies, with these different equids often being considered a homogenous group. However, the extent to which domestic equids form inter-specific bonds and display similar social behaviour when living in a mixed herd has not previously been studied. Here we compare the social organization of these three (sub)species when housed together, providing the first systematic analysis of how genetic hybridization is expressed in the social behaviour of mules. A group of 16 mules, donkeys and ponies was observed for 70. h and preferred associates, dominance rank and the linearity of the group's hierarchy was determined. The different equids formed distinct affiliative groups that were ordered in a linear hierarchy with ponies as the most dominant, mules in the middle ranks and donkeys in the lowest ranks. Within each equid subgroup, the strength of the hierarchy also varied. Thus in the present study, the three (sub)species displayed different social organization and levels of dominance and preferred to associate with animals of the same equid type, given the opportunity. These results suggest that different domestic equid (sub)species display variations in social behaviour that are likely to have a strong genetic basis. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | Moredun Research Institute, University of Liverpool, The Donkey Sanctuary and University of Nottingham
Type: | Journal: Veterinary parasitology | Year: 2016

The control of equid gastrointestinal nematodes in developed countries, in particular the cyathostomins, is threatened by high levels of anthelmintic resistance. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the evaluation of traditional ethnoveterinary medicines as alternatives to chemical anthelmintics. The cysteine proteinases (CPs), a group of enzymes derived from fruits such as papaya (Carica papaya), pineapple (Ananas comosus) and figs (Ficus spp.), have shown good efficacy against adult stages of a range of parasitic nematodes, in vitro and in vivo. The efficacy of CPs against cyathostomins remains to be explored. In this study, the efficacy of a crude preparation of CPs, papaya latex supernatant (PLS), against the free-living stages of cyathostomins was evaluated using two in vitro tests, the egg hatch test (EHT) and the larval migration inhibition test (LMIT). It was demonstrated that PLS had a potent effect in the EHT, with EC-50 values in the range of 0.12-0.22M. At concentrations above 6.25M the eggs did not develop, below this concentration the L1 developed but they lost integrity of the cuticle upon hatching. These effects were inhibited by pre-incubation of PLS with the CP inhibitor L-trans-epoxysuccinyl-l-leucylamido-(4-guanidino butane) (E64), indicating that CPs were responsible for the anti-parasitic activity. A dose-dependent inhibition of migration of third stage larvae (L3) in the LMIT was demonstrated at higher concentrations of PLS, with EC-50 values in the range of 67.35-106.31M. Incubation of PLS with E64 prior to use in the LMIT did not reverse the anti-migratory effect, suggesting that CPs were not responsible for the reduced migration of cyathostomin L3 and that PLS also contains an additional active compound. This is the first report of PLS and/or CPs showing activity against the free-living stages of a parasitic helminth. In addition, it suggests that cyathostomins are highly sensitive to the effects of CPs and further evaluation of their efficacy against parasitic stages and in vivo are strongly indicated.


PubMed | University of Naples Federico II, The Donkey Sanctuary, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, National Research Council Italy and 2 more.
Type: | Journal: Veterinary microbiology | Year: 2016

Equine sarcoids develop upon bovine papillomavirus type 1 or 2 (BPV1, BPV2) infection in conjunction with trauma and represent the most common tumour disease in horses and other equids, including donkeys. In face of a sarcoid outbreak involving 12 of 111 donkeys and mules at the Rifugio degli Asinelli, a subsidiary charity organization of The Donkey Sanctuary, non-invasively collected sample material including crusts, dandruff, swabs and hair roots was collected from sarcoid-affected and 26 healthy donkeys, as well as dandruff from a grooming kit and tabanids caught from or in the vicinity of sarcoid patients. In addition five previously collected sarcoids stored in formalin were provided. DNA isolated from collected material was tested for the presence of the BPV1/2 E5 oncogene using PCR. Positive samples were further analysed by E2/E4 and LCR PCR and amplicon sequencing to determine a possible common source of infection via comparative alignment of intralesional BPV1/2 gene variants. IC/PCR was used to assess sample aliquots for the presence of BPV1/2 virions, and IHC to analyse five tumours for BPV1 E5 and L1 protein expression. All sarcoid-affected donkeys, two of 55 tabanids and dandruff from a curry comb tested positive for BPV1/2 E5, yet negative by IC/PCR. Healthy animals were BPV1/2-free. IHC revealed different levels of intralesional E5 and L1 expression. A series of BPV1 E5, E2, and LCR variants and BPV2 E5 were detected from donkeys, indicating that they had accidently developed sarcoids at about the same time rather than having acquired disease from each other.


Stringer A.P.,University of Liverpool | Bell C.E.,University of Edinburgh | Christley R.M.,University of Liverpool | Gebreab F.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology | And 4 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2011

There have been few studies evaluating the efficacy of knowledge-transfer methods for livestock owners in developing countries, and to the authors' knowledge no published work is available that evaluates the effect of knowledge-transfer interventions on the education of working equid users. A cluster-randomised controlled trial (c-RCT) was used to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of three knowledge-transfer interventions on knowledge-change about equid health amongst rural Ethiopian working equid users. Groups were exposed to either; an audio programme, a village meeting or a diagrammatic handout, all of which addressed identical learning objectives, and were compared to a control group which received no intervention. Thirty-two villages were randomly selected and interventions randomly assigned. All participants in a village received the same intervention. Knowledge levels were assessed by questionnaire administration. Data analysis included comparison of baseline data between intervention groups followed by multilevel linear regression models (allowing for clustering of individuals within village) to evaluate the change in knowledge between the different knowledge-transfer interventions. A total of 516 randomly selected participants completed the pre-intervention questionnaire, 504 of whom undertook the post-dissemination questionnaire, a follow up response rate of 98%. All interventions significantly improved the overall 'change in knowledge' score on the questionnaire compared to the control, with the diagrammatic handout (coefficient (coef) 9.5, S.E.= 0.6) and the village meeting (coef 9.7, S.E.= 0.6) having a significantly greater impact than the audio programme (coef 4.8, S.E.= 0.6). Covariates that were different at baseline, and which were also significant in the final model, were age and pre-intervention score. Although they had a minimal effect on the intervention coefficients there was a significant interaction between age and intervention. This study should aid the design of education materials for adult learning for working equid users and other groups in developing countries. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Burden F.A.,The Donkey Sanctuary | du Toit N.,The Donkey Sanctuary | Hernandez-Gil M.,National Autonomous University of Mexico | Prado-Ortiz O.,National Autonomous University of Mexico | Trawford A.F.,The Donkey Sanctuary
Tropical Animal Health and Production | Year: 2010

The examination of 216 donkeys presented for treatment at the Donkey Sanctuary-World Horse Welfare-Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico mobile clinics revealed a number of health and welfare problems. A general overview of the donkeys' health was made and showed that the median body condition score (BCS) in this population was 2.5. Underweight animals only accounted for 26% of the population. Females, 0-5-year-olds and >21-year-olds, were more likely to be underweight. When analysed, there was no correlation between faecal worm egg count (FEC) and BCS. The prevalence of strongyle infection as assessed by FEC was shown to be 80% with a median FEC of 600 eggs per gramme. Donkeys were assessed for body lesions and showed a high prevalence (71%), particularly in the facial region (54%). Analysis showed that mature animals (6-15 years old) were at increased risk of body lesions compared to older animals (16+ years old) as were donkeys with dental disease and those in particular villages. Risk factor analysis for lesions of the face showed that stallions and geldings are at increased risk as were donkeys wearing halters made from nylon rope. This study has identified areas for further investigation and potential areas where targeted interventions may be made to improve the health and welfare of working donkeys in Mexico. © Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009.


PubMed | Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, University of Liverpool, University of Edinburgh, The Donkey Sanctuary and SPANA
Type: | Journal: Equine veterinary journal | Year: 2016

Working horses, donkeys and mules suffer from numerous diseases and clinical problems. However, there is little information on what owners perceive as important health concerns in their working animals.To identify and prioritise with owners the diseases and other health concerns in working equids in central Ethiopia using participatory methodologies.Participatory situation analysis (PSA).The study was conducted with carthorse- and donkey-owners in 16 sites in central Ethiopia. Multiple participatory methodologies were utilised, including ranking, matrices and focus group discussions. Owners perceptions on frequency, importance, morbidity and mortality of volunteered diseases and the clinical signs that owners attributed to each disease were obtained; information regarding the impact of these diseases and health concerns was also sought.A total of 40 separate disease and health problems were volunteered by carthorse- and donkey-owners. Horse-owners volunteered a musculoskeletal syndrome (with the local name bird, clinical signs suggest possible disease pathologies including equine exertional rhabdomyolysis), colic and epizootic lymphangitis most frequently, whereas donkey-owners volunteered sarcoids, nasal discharge and wounds to occur most frequently. One problem (coughing) was volunteered frequently by both horse- and donkey-owners. Owners demonstrated knowledge of differing manifestations and severity of these problems, which resulted in differing impacts on the working ability of the animal.Although many of the diseases and clinical signs had been previously reported, this study also identified some previously unreported priorities such as rabies in donkeys, an unidentified musculoskeletal syndrome in horses and respiratory signs in both horses and donkeys. The information gathered during this participatory study with owners may be used to inform future veterinary and educational programme interventions, as well as identify future research priorities.


PubMed | University of Glasgow, The Donkey Sanctuary and Copenhagen University
Type: | Journal: Parasites & vectors | Year: 2016

Domesticated grazing animals including horses and donkeys are frequently housed using deep litter bedding systems, where it is commonly presumed that there is no risk of infection from the nematodes that are associated with grazing at pasture. We use two different approaches to test whether equids could become infected with cyathostomines from the ingestion of deep litter straw bedding.Two herbage plot studies were performed in horticultural incubators set up to simulate three straw bedding scenarios and one grass turf positive control. Faeces were placed on 16 plots, and larval recoveries performed on samples of straw/grass substrate over 2- to 3-week periods. Within each incubator, a thermostat was set to maintain an environmental temperature of approximately 10C to 20C. To provide further validation, 24 samples of straw bedding were collected over an 8-week period from six barns in which a large number of donkeys were housed in a deep litter straw bedding system. These samples were collected from the superficial bedding at 16 sites along a W route through each barn.No infective larvae were recovered from any of the plots containing dry straw. However, infective cyathostomine larvae were first detected on day 8 from plots containing moist straw. In the straw bedding study, cyathostomine larvae were detected in 18 of the 24 samples. Additionally, in the two barns which were sampled serially, the level of larval infectivity generally increased from week to week, except when the straw bedding was removed and replaced.We have demonstrated that equine cyathostomines can develop to infective larvae on moist straw bedding. It is therefore possible for a horse or donkey bedded in deep litter straw to become infected by ingesting the contaminated straw. This has implications for parasite control in stabled equids and potentially in housed ruminants, and further investigation is required in order to establish the relative infective pressure from pasture versus straw bedding.


Lawson E.,University of Nottingham | Burden F.,The Donkey Sanctuary | Elsheikha H.M.,University of Nottingham
Veterinary Parasitology | Year: 2015

Resistance to currently available anthelmintics is a serious phenomenon which is prevalent globally. Cyathostomins are one of the major parasites, and are of primary concern in donkeys. There have been reports of emerging resistance to pyrantel, but the status of pyrantel resistance in donkey populations in the UK is largely unknown. This report investigates pyrantel resistance in two geographically isolated donkey herds in the South West of England. The first herd had suspected pyrantel resistance, with already established resistance to other anthelmintics. In the second herd the efficacy of pyrantel was not suspected at the time the study took place. Faecal Egg Count Reduction Test (FECRT) was carried out, revealing large scale resistance. Eighty one percent of the first herd and 73% of the second herd had a FEC of less than 95% after treatment, and anthelmintic resistance was confirmed using the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology guidelines. These findings indicate that anthelmintic resistance to pyrantel exists in both tested donkey populations and illustrate the continuing development of resistance through different classes of chemotherapeutics. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | The Donkey Sanctuary
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Veterinary record | Year: 2016

The UK public and veterinary profession often think of the equine charity sector as dealing with issues directly related to the UK equine population - overproduction, rehoming, shelter and welfare. However, the Donkey Sanctuary, like many UK-based equine charities, also works in Europe and further afield to try to address a much broader range of issues, as Alex Thiemann and Andy Foxcroft explain.


PubMed | University of Bristol and The Donkey Sanctuary
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Equine veterinary journal | Year: 2016

Chewing lice are widespread and clinically compromising parasites of livestock and equids. Their management is complicated by growing levels of resistance to commonly applied insecticides. Hence, the development of novel approaches to their control is of major clinical interest.To assess the effects of incorporating the essential oils of tea tree and lavender into a grooming programme for populations of donkeys with natural infestations of Bovicola ocellatus in the UK and Ireland when louse populations were at their winter seasonal peak.In vivo field trial.Suspensions of 5% (v/v) tea tree or lavender oil or an excipient only control were groomed into the coats of winter-housed donkeys (n = 198) on 2 occasions, 2 weeks apart. Louse counts were conducted before each application and 2 weeks later.After 2 applications, the groups groomed with lavender or tea tree oil suspensions had a significant reduction in louse intensity, with a mean decline in louse abundance of 78% (95% confidence interval 76-80%). Louse numbers in the groups groomed with excipient only either did not change or increased significantly. Donkey hair length had no effect on the decline in louse numbers.These results demonstrate that the inclusion of essential oil suspensions during grooming can be used to manage louse populations successfully.

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