Advances in Donkey and Mule Research

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Equids".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020) | Viewed by 91354

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Sciences, School of Agrarian and Veterinary Sciences, CECAV, Animal and Veterinary Research Center, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), Quinta de Prados, 5000-801 Vila Real, Portugal
Interests: andrology; reproductive medicine; assisted reproductive technology
Department of Animal Science, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Interests: donkey behavior/welfare; mule behavior/welfare; working equids
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Animal genetic resources are an inestimable heritage, being crucial to prevent the loss of genetic diversity of species, breeds, varieties, and native ecotypes. Many donkey breeds are considered endangered and presently facing major problems such as inbreeding, poor reproductive management, old age, and an insufficient number of parturitions. Assisted reproductive techniques (ART) like artificial insemination (AI), sperm cryopreservation or embryo transfer (ET), which will be addressed in this Special Issue, are unique tools to preserve genetic resources. On the other hand, there is an increased use for donkeys as production animals and mules as performance animals with superior genetics from the donkey and horse side, which has increased our interest in these animals. New findings focused on improved understanding of basic physiology, behavior, pain, internal medicine, pathogen frequency, and subjects related to their overall wellbeing (e.g., nutrition, pharmacokinetics, dentistry and hoof care) will all be considered areas of interest for preserving and maintaining donkey and mule populations.

The aim of the present Special Issue is to gather in one publication the most recent advances in donkey and mule research and welcome the contribution of research papers, literature reviews, and case reports.

Dr. Ana Martins-Bessa
Dr. Amy McLean
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • donkey
  • mule
  • reproduction
  • reproductive techniques
  • medicine
  • health
  • behavior
  • welfare
  • genetics
  • nutrition

Published Papers (25 papers)

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8 pages, 420 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Different Methods to Estimate the Transfer of Immunity in Donkey Foals Fed with Colostrum of Good IgG Quality: A Preliminary Study
by Luca Turini, Francesca Bonelli, Irene Nocera, Valentina Meucci, Giuseppe Conte and Micaela Sgorbini
Animals 2021, 11(2), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020507 - 15 Feb 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2255
Abstract
The aims of the present study were to evaluate the correlation between IgG Serum Radial Immunodiffusion (SRID), Electrophoresis Gamma Globulins (EGG), Electrophoresis Total Protein (ETP) and the serum total protein (TP) analyzed by refractometry and by a dry chemistry analyzer (Biuret) and to [...] Read more.
The aims of the present study were to evaluate the correlation between IgG Serum Radial Immunodiffusion (SRID), Electrophoresis Gamma Globulins (EGG), Electrophoresis Total Protein (ETP) and the serum total protein (TP) analyzed by refractometry and by a dry chemistry analyzer (Biuret) and to estimate serum IgG concentrations using serum TP. A total of 36 samples collected at four different times (birth, 6, 12, 24 h after birth) from nine Amiata donkey foals were evaluated with SRID, EGG, ETP, serum TP Biuret and refractometry. SRID IgG concentration increased significantly over time until T12. Serum TP analyzed with refractometry, electrophoresis and Biuret showed a statistically significant difference between T0 and T6 vs. T12 and T24. A good or strong correlation was found between different tests performed. Equations to quantify serum IgG were created and can be used for estimating the donkey foals’ serum IgG in the first day of life. Serum TP refractometry showed a high correlation with SRID IgG (0.91) which may be a particularly useful and economic instrument to estimate the transfer of immunity in donkey foals during the first day of life. Further studies evaluating a high number of animals are needed in order to set specific cut-off values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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17 pages, 15575 KiB  
Article
Two Hours of Separation Prior to Milking: Is This Strategy Stressful for Jennies and Their Foals?
by Sharacely de Souza Farias, Ana Carolina Dierings Montechese, Thiago Bernardino, Paulo Henrique Mazza Rodrigues, Chiara Albano de Araujo Oliveira and Adroaldo José Zanella
Animals 2021, 11(1), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010178 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2542
Abstract
The goal of this study was to assess whether or not a separation period of 2 h is stressful for jennies and foals, as measured by changes in behaviour, salivary cortisol, and milk production. This study was reviewed and approved by the Committee [...] Read more.
The goal of this study was to assess whether or not a separation period of 2 h is stressful for jennies and foals, as measured by changes in behaviour, salivary cortisol, and milk production. This study was reviewed and approved by the Committee for the Use and Care of Animals in Research (CEUA) of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science of the University of São Paulo. Fourteen multiparous Pêga jennies (245 kg average body weight) and their foals were assessed from day 45 to 135 of lactation. Dams and foals were separated for 2 h prior to milking. Behavioural assessments and saliva samples were collected before and after separation, every 15 days, resulting in 14 samples per individual animal. Behavioural states (affiliative and inactivity) and events (agonistic, abnormal, eliminative and vocalisations) of the jennies were observed during 6 min in both periods. Moreover, milk yield was measured. Few significant behavioural and salivary cortisol changes were observed, and milk yield was not affected by cortisol levels in response to the separation. The 2-h separation period, on the basis of the collected variables, did not appear to be stressful for the assessed group of Pêga jennies or foals; however, their ability to adapt to milking routine stress remains to be investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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23 pages, 400 KiB  
Article
Bayesian Linear Regression Modelling for Sperm Quality Parameters Using Age, Body Weight, Testicular Morphometry, and Combined Biometric Indices in Donkeys
by Ana Martins-Bessa, Miguel Quaresma, Belén Leiva, Ana Calado and Francisco Javier Navas González
Animals 2021, 11(1), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010176 - 13 Jan 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2091
Abstract
The aim of the present study is to define and compare the predictive power of two different Bayesian models for donkey sperm quality after the evaluation of linear and combined testicular biometry indices and their relationship with age and body weight (BW). Testicular [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study is to define and compare the predictive power of two different Bayesian models for donkey sperm quality after the evaluation of linear and combined testicular biometry indices and their relationship with age and body weight (BW). Testicular morphometry was ultrasonographically obtained from 23 donkeys (six juveniles and 17 adults), while 40 ejaculates from eight mature donkeys were analyzed for sperm output and quality assessment. Bayesian linear regression analyses were considered to build two statistical models using gel-free volume, concentration, total sperm number, motility, total motile sperm, and morphology as dependent variables. Predictive model 1 comprised the covariate of age and the independent factors testicular measurements (length, height and width), while model 2 included the covariate of age and the factors of BW, testicular volume, and gonadosomatic ratio. Although goodness-of-fit was similar, the combination of predictors in model 1 evidenced higher likelihood to predict gel-free volume (mL), concentration (×106/mL), and motility (%). Alternatively, the combination of predictors in model 2 evidenced higher predictive power for total sperm number (×109), morphologically normal spermatozoa (%), and total motile sperm count (×109). The application of the present models may be useful to gather relevant information that could be used hereafter for assisted reproductive technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
15 pages, 3846 KiB  
Article
Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction and Metabolic Syndrome in Donkeys
by Heidrun Gehlen, Bianca Schwarz, Claus Bartmann, Jennifer Gernhardt and Sabita D. Stöckle
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2335; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122335 - 8 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3735
Abstract
Appropriate medical care for donkeys is challenging despite being important working animals in non-industrialized countries and pets in first world countries. Although the same principles of diagnosis and therapy as in horses are commonly applied, there are differences in reference values and physiologic [...] Read more.
Appropriate medical care for donkeys is challenging despite being important working animals in non-industrialized countries and pets in first world countries. Although the same principles of diagnosis and therapy as in horses are commonly applied, there are differences in reference values and physiologic reaction to dynamic tests. However, donkeys seem to suffer from typical equine diseases, such as metabolic syndrome and pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID). Asinine metabolic syndrome (AMS) comprises obesity, insulin dysregulation, and laminitis. The principles of diagnosis are similar to horses. Donkey-specific reference ranges for insulin and glucose have been evaluated previously. Examinations regarding dynamic testing revealed differences in the intravenous glucose tolerance test and the combined insulin tolerance test compared to horses. The therapy of AMS is based mainly on weight loss and exercise. There are conflicting data regarding the incidence of PPID in donkeys. Laminitis and hypertrichosis were described as the main clinical signs. Species-specific and seasonal reference ranges were defined to diagnose PPID in donkeys. Furthermore, the dexamethasone suppression test, the thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) test and the combined dexamethasone suppression/TRH test were evaluated. Pergolide is commonly recommended for treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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9 pages, 821 KiB  
Communication
Investigation of Oral Microbiome in Donkeys and the Effect of Dental Care on Oral Microbial Composition
by Yiping Zhu, Wuyan Jiang, Reed Holyoak, Bo Liu and Jing Li
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2245; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122245 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2131
Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate the oral microbial composition of the donkey and whether basic dental treatment, such as dental floating, would make a difference to the oral microbial environment in donkeys with dental diseases using high-throughput bacterial 16S rRNA [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to investigate the oral microbial composition of the donkey and whether basic dental treatment, such as dental floating, would make a difference to the oral microbial environment in donkeys with dental diseases using high-throughput bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Oral swab samples were collected from 14 donkeys with various dental abnormalities on day 0 (before treatment) and day 20 (twenty days after treatment). It is the first report focusing on the oral microbiome in donkeys with dental diseases and the impact of common dental procedures thereon. Identified in group Day 0 and group Day 20, respectively, were 60,439.6 and 58,579.1 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Several taxa in Day 0 differed significantly from Day 20 at the phylum and genus levels, but no statistically significant difference was observed in richness and diversity of Day 0 and Day 20. The results also indicated that a larger-scale study focusing on healthy donkey oral microbiome, as well as the correlation of dental diseases and oral microbiomes at different time frames following more specific and consistent dental treatment, are warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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11 pages, 2205 KiB  
Article
Hastening Time to Ejaculation in Donkey Jacks Treated with the PGF2α Analog, Cloprostenol Sodium
by Duccio Panzani, Miguel Quaresma, Diana Fanelli, Francesco Camillo, Rebecca Moroni, Alessandra Rota, Ana Martins-Bessa, Miguel Nóvoa, Jaime Catalán, Igor F. Canisso, Giuseppe Conte and Jordi Mirò
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2231; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122231 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4414
Abstract
Due to the long courtship needed to attain excitation and erection, donkey semen collection can take up to 90 min. ProstaglandinF2α (PGF2α) has been reported to hasten the onset of erection and ejaculation in domesticated mammals, presumably by inducing smooth muscle contractions in [...] Read more.
Due to the long courtship needed to attain excitation and erection, donkey semen collection can take up to 90 min. ProstaglandinF2α (PGF2α) has been reported to hasten the onset of erection and ejaculation in domesticated mammals, presumably by inducing smooth muscle contractions in the internal genitalia. However, while it has been anecdotally used in donkeys, it has yet to be critically evaluated. This study aimed to compare behavioral and semen parameters in Catalan, Balearic, Amiata, and Miranda jacks treated with the PGF2α analogue cloprostenol sodium immediately prior to exposure to an estrus jenny. Nineteen donkeys were assigned in a crossover design to receive cloprostenol sodium (125 µg, i.m.; n = 53 collections) or saline (1 mL, i.m.; n = 53 collections). There were no differences for erection (52/53 vs. 52/53) or ejaculation (52/53 vs. 48/53) for collection attempts assigned to saline or cloprostenol sodium, respectively. Cloprostenol sodium significantly hastened treatment-to-erection and treatment-to-ejaculation times from 12.0 ± 1.6 to 6.0 ± 1.6 min and from 14.0 ± 1.4 to 9.6 ± 1.4 min, respectively. Significant effects of breed and age were observed in behavioral and parameters, but there were no effects of cloprostenol sodium administration on semen parameters. In conclusion, cloprostenol sodium administration immediately prior to semen collection hastened time to collect semen in donkeys with no detrimental effects on semen quality and can be used by practitioners to circumvent long delays in donkey semen collection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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18 pages, 272 KiB  
Article
Donkey Epididymal Transport for Semen Cooling and Freezing
by Yamilka Lago-Alvarez, Giorgia Podico, Lorenzo G. Segabinazzi, Lais L. Cunha, Leonardo Barbosa, Carolyn E. Arnold, Fabio S. Lima, Luise T. King, Amy K. McLean and Igor F. Canisso
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2209; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122209 - 25 Nov 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2349
Abstract
The objectives of this study were to assess the cooling and freezing of donkey epididymal semen harvested immediately after castration (Experiment 1, n = 4) or after the shipment (24 or 48 h) of epididymides attached to testicles (Experiment 2, n = 14) [...] Read more.
The objectives of this study were to assess the cooling and freezing of donkey epididymal semen harvested immediately after castration (Experiment 1, n = 4) or after the shipment (24 or 48 h) of epididymides attached to testicles (Experiment 2, n = 14) or dissected apart (Experiment 3, n = 36). In each experiment, semen was frozen immediately (Non-Centrif) in an egg yolk-based semen extender (EY) or after processing through cushion-centrifugation (Centrif) while extended in a skim milk-based extender (SC). In all three experiments, cooled, pre-freeze, and post-thaw epididymal semen was assessed for total motility (TM), progressive motility (PM), plasma membrane integrity (PMI), and high mitochondrial membrane potential (HMMP). Data were analyzed with R using mixed models and Tukey’s test as posthoc. Results showed that the cooling of epididymal semen up to 24 h after harvesting did not affect motility parameters or plasma membrane integrity; furthermore, in Experiment 3, the post-thaw evaluation of both Centrif and Non-Centrif achieved similar TM and PM. Collectively, the post-thaw results revealed low motility parameters across groups; while, the PMI and HMMP did not reflect this trend, and the values remained high, suggesting that there was a lack of epididymal sperm activation with either centrifugation or extenders. In summary, freshly harvested and cooled-shipped and cooled semen had satisfactory semen parameters. Future studies need to address donkey epididymal semen fertility in mares and jennies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
20 pages, 5954 KiB  
Article
Comparison of the Surface Thermal Patterns of Horses and Donkeys in Infrared Thermography Images
by Małgorzata Domino, Michał Romaszewski, Tomasz Jasiński and Małgorzata Maśko
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2201; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122201 - 24 Nov 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3061
Abstract
Infrared thermography (IRT) is a valuable diagnostic tool in equine veterinary medicine; however, little is known about its application to donkeys. This study aims to find patterns in thermal images of donkeys and horses and determine if these patterns share similarities. The study [...] Read more.
Infrared thermography (IRT) is a valuable diagnostic tool in equine veterinary medicine; however, little is known about its application to donkeys. This study aims to find patterns in thermal images of donkeys and horses and determine if these patterns share similarities. The study is carried out on 18 donkeys and 16 horses. All equids undergo thermal imaging with an infrared camera and measurement of the skin thickness and hair coat length. On the class maps of each thermal image, fifteen regions of interest (ROIs) are annotated and then combined into 10 groups of ROIs (GORs). The existence of statistically significant differences between surface temperatures in GORs is tested both “globally” for all animals of a given species and “locally” for each animal. Two special cases of animals that differed from the rest are also discussed. The results indicate that the majority of thermal patterns are similar for both species; however, average surface temperatures in horses (22.72±2.46 °C) are higher than in donkeys (18.88±2.30 °C). This could be related to differences in the skin thickness and hair coat. The patterns of both species are associated with GORs, rather than with an individual ROI, and there is a higher uniformity in the donkeys’ patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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10 pages, 4879 KiB  
Article
Stage-Dependent Expression of Protein Gene Product 9.5 in Donkey Testes
by Yeonju Choi, Youngwook Jung, Seongmin Kim, Junyoung Kim, Heejun Jung and Minjung Yoon
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2169; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112169 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2504
Abstract
Molecular markers can be used to identify and isolate specific developmental stages of germ cells and Leydig cells. Protein gene product (PGP)9.5 expression in spermatogonia and Leydig cells has been reported in several species. The stages of spermatogonia and Leydig cells expressing PGP9.5 [...] Read more.
Molecular markers can be used to identify and isolate specific developmental stages of germ cells and Leydig cells. Protein gene product (PGP)9.5 expression in spermatogonia and Leydig cells has been reported in several species. The stages of spermatogonia and Leydig cells expressing PGP9.5 vary depending on the species and reproductive stages. Thus, the objectives of this study were (1) to identify the localization of PGP9.5 in donkey testicular cells, and (2) to compare the expression patterns of PGP9.5 in donkey testicular cells between pre- and post-pubertal stages. Testes samples were collected following the routine field castration of six donkeys. Western blotting was performed to verify the cross-reactivity of the rabbit anti-human PGP9.5 antibody to donkey testes. Immunofluorescence was performed to investigate the expression pattern of PGP9.5 in testicular tissues at different reproductive stages. In Western blotting, the protein band of the PGP9.5 antibody appeared at approximately 27 kDa, whereas the band was not observed in the negative control treated with normal mouse IgG. In the pre-pubertal stage, the expression of deleted in azoospermia-like (DAZL) was found in some spermatogonia in pre-pubertal testicular tissues. However, the immunolabeling of PGP9.5 in testicular tissue was not observed in the seminiferous tubules. In stages 1 and 2, spermatogonia were immunolabeled with either PGP9.5 or DAZL. In contrast, PGP9.5 and DAZL were co-immunolabeled in some of the spermatogonia in stages 3 to 8. Interestingly, some Leydig cells were immunolabeled with PGP9.5 in both pre- and post-pubertal stages. In conclusion, the PGP9.5 antibody can be used as a tool to identify and isolate spermatogonia from seminiferous tubules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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17 pages, 1524 KiB  
Article
Single Layer Centrifugation Improves the Quality of Fresh Donkey Semen and Modifies the Sperm Ability to Interact with Polymorphonuclear Neutrophils
by Marion Papas, Jaime Catalán, Sandra Recuero, Jane M. Morrell, Marc Yeste and Jordi Miró
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2128; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112128 - 16 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2111
Abstract
This study sought to determine whether single layer centrifugation (SLC) of fresh donkey semen with Equicoll has any impact on sperm quality parameters and on the modulation of endometrial reaction following semen deposition using an in vitro model. Seventeen ejaculates from five jackasses [...] Read more.
This study sought to determine whether single layer centrifugation (SLC) of fresh donkey semen with Equicoll has any impact on sperm quality parameters and on the modulation of endometrial reaction following semen deposition using an in vitro model. Seventeen ejaculates from five jackasses were obtained using an artificial vagina and diluted in a skim-milk extender. Samples were either selected through SLC (Equicoll) or non-treated (control). Two experiments were performed. The first one consisted of incubating selected or non-selected spermatozoa at 38 °C for 180 min. Integrity and lipid disorder of sperm plasma membrane, mitochondrial membrane potential, and intracellular levels of calcium and reactive oxygen species were evaluated at 0, 60, 120, and 180 min. In the second experiment, polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) isolated from jennies blood were mixed with selected and unselected spermatozoa. Interaction between spermatozoa and PMN was evaluated after 0, 60, 120, and 180 min of co-incubation at 38 °C. SLC-selection increased the proportions of spermatozoa with an intact plasma membrane and low lipid disorder, of spermatozoa with high mitochondrial membrane potential and with high calcium levels, and of progressively motile spermatozoa. In addition, selection through SLC augmented the proportion of phagocytosed spermatozoa, which supported the modulating role of seminal plasma proteins on sperm-PMN interaction. In conclusion, SLC of fresh donkey semen increases the proportions of functionally intact and motile spermatozoa, and appears to remove the seminal plasma proteins that inhibit sperm-PMN binding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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16 pages, 1421 KiB  
Article
Optimization of CASA-Mot Analysis of Donkey Sperm: Optimum Frame Rate and Values of Kinematic Variables for Different Counting Chamber and Fields
by Sabrina Gacem, Jaime Catalán, Anthony Valverde, Carles Soler and Jordi Miró
Animals 2020, 10(11), 1993; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10111993 - 29 Oct 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2627
Abstract
In order to optimize the donkey sperm motility analysis by the CASA (Computer Assisted Sperm Analysis)-Mot system, twelve ejaculates were collected from six jackasses. Capillary loaded chamber (CLC), ISAS®D4C depths 10 and 20 µm, ISAS®D4C Leja 20 and drop [...] Read more.
In order to optimize the donkey sperm motility analysis by the CASA (Computer Assisted Sperm Analysis)-Mot system, twelve ejaculates were collected from six jackasses. Capillary loaded chamber (CLC), ISAS®D4C depths 10 and 20 µm, ISAS®D4C Leja 20 and drop displacement chamber (DDC), Spermtrack® (Spk) depths 10 and 20 µm were used. Sperm kinematic variables were evaluated using each chamber and a high-resolution camera capable of capturing a maximum of 500 frames/second (fps). The optimum frame rate (OFR) (defined according to curvilinear velocity—VCL) was dependent on chamber type. The highest OFR obtained was 278.46 fps by Spk20. Values for VCL, straight-line velocity (VSL), straightness (STR), amplitude of lateral head displacement (ALH) and beat cross frequency (BCF) were high in DDC and 10 µm depth. In both DDC 10 and 20 µm, the sperm velocities (VCL, VSL, VAP) and ALH values decreased significantly from the centre to the edges, while Wobble and BCF increased. No defined behavior was observed along the CLC. However, all the kinematic variables had a higher value in a highly concentrated sample, in both chamber types. In conclusion, analyzing a minimum of nine fields at 250 fps from the centre to the edges in Spk10 chamber using a dilution of 30 × 106 sperm/mL offers the best choice for donkey computerised sperm motility analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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16 pages, 791 KiB  
Article
Factors Affecting Embryo Recovery Rate, Quality, and Diameter in Andalusian Donkey Jennies
by J. Dorado, M. Bottrel, I. Ortiz, M. Díaz-Jiménez, B. Pereira, C. Consuegra, J. J. Carrasco, V. Gómez-Arrones, A. Domingo and M. Hidalgo
Animals 2020, 10(11), 1967; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10111967 - 26 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2375
Abstract
Embryo transfer and the vitrification of embryos could be used for the conservation and recovery of endangered donkey breeds. It is important to develop techniques that optimize recovery rates and the cryotolerance of donkey embryos. This study evaluates factors affecting the recovery rate, [...] Read more.
Embryo transfer and the vitrification of embryos could be used for the conservation and recovery of endangered donkey breeds. It is important to develop techniques that optimize recovery rates and the cryotolerance of donkey embryos. This study evaluates factors affecting the recovery rate, quality, and diameter of embryos obtained from donor jennies as a starting point for the use of vitrification and embryo transfer in the conservation of the Andalusian donkey. A total of 100 embryos were recovered out of 124 estrous cycles (80.6%). The donor jenny affected the rates of positive flushings (PFR; p = 0.040) and embryo recovery (ERR; p < 0.05) as well as embryo quality (p = 0.004). ERR was also affected by the number of flushings (p < 0.001), donor age (p < 0.05), successive cycle within donor (p < 0.001), and jacks (p < 0.05). Number of flushings (p < 0.001) and jack (p < 0.05) had a significant effect on PFR, whereas the day of flushing influenced the developmental stage (p < 0.001), embryo quality (p < 0.05), and diameter of embryos (p < 0.001). The number of flushings significantly influenced the diameter (p = 0.038) and embryo developmental stage (p = 0.001), whereas the developmental stage was statistically different between herds (p = 0.020). The factors influencing the success of this assisted reproductive technique were donor jenny, donor age, successive cycle within donor, day of flushing, number of flushings, and jack. The identification of these key points is crucial to achieve a higher efficiency of embryo transfer and vitrification processes, before considering their application in the conservation of endangered donkey breeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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10 pages, 1448 KiB  
Article
High Exposure to Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora Spp. in Donkeys in Israel: Serological Survey and Case Reports
by Sharon Tirosh-Levy, Amir Steinman, Avital Minderigiu, Ori Arieli, Igor Savitski, Ludmila Fleiderovitz, Nir Edery, Gili Schvartz and Monica Leszkowicz Mazuz
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1921; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101921 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3088
Abstract
Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora spp. are closely related cyst-forming coccidian parasites, which infect various animal species and have considerable zoonotic and economic implications, respectively. Both parasites are endemic in Israel and have been reported to infect wild and domestic animals. This study was [...] Read more.
Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora spp. are closely related cyst-forming coccidian parasites, which infect various animal species and have considerable zoonotic and economic implications, respectively. Both parasites are endemic in Israel and have been reported to infect wild and domestic animals. This study was conceived to evaluate the serologic exposure of donkeys to these parasites. Serum samples were collected from 98 donkeys. Half of them (n = 49) were from animal shelters in Israel, and the rest (n = 49) were working donkeys from the Palestinian Authority. The donkeys were screened for the presence of anti-Toxoplasma and anti-Neospora antibodies by immunofluorescence antibody tests (IFATs). The seroprevalence of T. gondii and Neospora spp. was 94% and 70%, respectively, and 69% of the donkeys were exposed to both parasites. In addition, N. caninum tissue cysts were documented in two donkeys during post-mortem examination. This is the first report of the exposure of donkeys to T. gondii and Neospora spp. in the area. The high prevalence found in this study suggests that donkeys may have a role in the maintenance of these parasites in the area, thus serving as a source of infection for the definitive hosts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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9 pages, 697 KiB  
Article
A Pilot Serosurvey for Selected Pathogens in Feral Donkeys (Equus asinus)
by Erin L. Goodrich, Amy McLean and Cassandra Guarino
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1796; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101796 - 2 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1981
Abstract
Recent removal and relocation of feral donkeys from vast public lands to more concentrated holding pens, training facilities, and offsite adoption locations raises several health and welfare concerns. Very little is known regarding the common equid pathogens that are circulating within the feral [...] Read more.
Recent removal and relocation of feral donkeys from vast public lands to more concentrated holding pens, training facilities, and offsite adoption locations raises several health and welfare concerns. Very little is known regarding the common equid pathogens that are circulating within the feral donkey population in and around Death Valley National Park, California, USA. The aim of this study was to utilize serologic assays to assess previous exposure of these donkeys to equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1), equine influenza (EIV), West Nile virus (WNV), and Borrelia burgdorferi (the causative agent of Lyme disease). The results of this study indicate that this feral equid population is mostly naïve and likely susceptible to these common equid pathogens upon removal from the wild. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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17 pages, 54477 KiB  
Article
Welfare Assessment and Identification of the Associated Risk Factors Compromising the Welfare of Working Donkeys (Equus asinus) in Egyptian Brick Kilns
by Shaaban F. Farhat, Amy K. McLean and Hamdy F. F. Mahmoud
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1611; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091611 - 9 Sep 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4369
Abstract
Donkeys are a cornerstone in human existence, having played an important role throughout history in different economic activities, such as working in brick kilns in Egypt. This study was conducted from January 2017 to the end of April 2017 in the El-Saf brick [...] Read more.
Donkeys are a cornerstone in human existence, having played an important role throughout history in different economic activities, such as working in brick kilns in Egypt. This study was conducted from January 2017 to the end of April 2017 in the El-Saf brick kilns, which are located to the south of the Giza Governorate and 57 Km away from Cairo. Physical clinical health and behavior data were collected from 179 donkeys spanning over a random sample of 20 brick kilns selected from the El-Saf brick kilns. Behavioral, physical health, harness, and environmental parameters were assessed and recorded. The study found that 80 ± 3% (n = 179) of kiln donkeys have some type of wound, and the most serious wound is a beating wound (49 ± 3.7%), which is caused by drivers hitting the donkeys. The drivers are mostly children, who have insufficient knowledge, skills, and attitudes to effectively communicate with their donkeys and no motivation to enhance the welfare of these equids. Other wounds are related to the harness, such as the breeching (10 ± 2.2%), saddle (43 ± 3.7%), neck collar (40 ± 3.6%), and shaft of the cart (12 ± 2.4%). A poor body condition was seen in 56 ± 3.7% of kiln donkeys. A correlation in terms of the prevalence of wounds was found between the body condition (p-value < 0.01) and/or cleanliness of the harness. There was a negative association between the body condition and wound prevalence in brick kilns (Pearson coefficient of correlation −0.71). The physical enviromental factors that affect the body condition of working donkeys are the working hours of donkeys/day, the number of donkeys in a kiln, the distance from loading to the oven, and the concentrated food/donkey (p-value < 0.01). These three variables can explain 78.85% of the variability in body conditions based on a 1–5 scale. In addition to health parameters, behavior parameters, such as the donkeys’ general attitude, reaction to observers, and chin contact are associated with the body condition (p-value < 0.01). As a consequence, it is important for the owners of working donkeys to pay attention to their body condition in order to avoid compromising their body condition and welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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11 pages, 823 KiB  
Article
Vitrification of Donkey Sperm: Is It Better Using Permeable Cryoprotectants?
by Manuel Hidalgo, Maria Diaz-Jimenez, César Consuegra, Blasa Pereira and Jesús Dorado
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1462; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091462 - 20 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3945
Abstract
Vitrification by direct exposure of sperm to liquid nitrogen is increasing in popularity as an alternative to conventional freezing. In this study, the effect of permeable cryoprotectant agents for donkey sperm vitrification was compared to an extender containing non-permeable cryoprotectants. First, three different [...] Read more.
Vitrification by direct exposure of sperm to liquid nitrogen is increasing in popularity as an alternative to conventional freezing. In this study, the effect of permeable cryoprotectant agents for donkey sperm vitrification was compared to an extender containing non-permeable cryoprotectants. First, three different concentrations of sucrose (0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 molar, M) and bovine serum albumin, BSA (1, 5, and 10%) were compared. Secondly, the concentration of non-permeable agents producing the most desirable results was compared to an extender containing glycerol as permeable agent. Vitrification was performed by dropping 30 μL of sperm suspension directly into LN2 and warming at 42 °C. Sperm motility (total, TM; and progressive, PM) and plasma membrane integrity, PMI (mean ± SEM) were statistically compared between treatments. Sucrose 0.1 M showed a significantly higher percentage of total sperm motility (21.67 ± 9.22%) than sucrose 0.2 M (14.16 ± 4.50%) and 0.3 M (8.58 ± 6.22%); and no differences were found in comparison to the control (19.71 ± 10.16%). Vitrification with sucrose 0.1 M or BSA 5% obtained similar results for TM (21.67 ± 9.22% vs. 19.93 ± 9.93%), PM (13.42 ± 6.85% vs. 12.54 ± 6.37%) and PMI (40.90 ± 13.51% vs. 37.09 ± 14.28); but both showed higher percentages than glycerol (TM = 9.71 ± 4.19%; PM = 5.47 ± 3.17%; PMI = 28.48 ± 15.55%). In conclusion, donkey sperm vitrification in spheres using non-permeable cryoprotectants exhibited better sperm motility and viability parameters after warming than sperm vitrification using extenders containing permeable cryoprotectants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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22 pages, 15007 KiB  
Article
Development of a Donkey Grimace Scale to Recognize Pain in Donkeys (Equus asinus) Post Castration
by Emma K. Orth, Francisco J. Navas González, Carlos Iglesias Pastrana, Jeannine M. Berger, Sarah S. le Jeune, Eric W. Davis and Amy K. McLean
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1411; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081411 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 9769
Abstract
The objectives of this study were to establish a donkey ethogram, followed by a donkey grimace scale to be applied to donkeys pre- and post-castration and to test if there was a notable difference in scores based on observer knowledge, gender, and experience, [...] Read more.
The objectives of this study were to establish a donkey ethogram, followed by a donkey grimace scale to be applied to donkeys pre- and post-castration and to test if there was a notable difference in scores based on observer knowledge, gender, and experience, which could reveal possible discomfort/pain. Nine healthy male adult donkeys were surgically castrated. Fifty-four photos were selected from frontal, lateral, and body views taken pre- and post-castration. Observers ranging from minimal to extensive knowledge and levels of experience based on education and hours/month spent with donkeys scored six photos/donkey on a scale of 0–2 (0 = not present, 1 = moderately present, 2 = obviously present). Scores were based on body language and facial parameters: Ears down, ears back, eye white showing, glazed look, orbital tightening, eyes round shape, nostril tension, eyes narrow shape, muzzle tension, and abnormal stance and overall perception of the animal being in pain. Level of experience and knowledge, as well as gender significantly (p < 0.001), affected observers’ ability to accurately score images. The study suggests that the most significant indicators of pain in donkeys are overall appearance and abnormal body stance provided their sensitivity, specificity and accuracy values of 63.18%, 62.07%, and 62.60%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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9 pages, 1446 KiB  
Article
Preference by Donkeys and Goats among Five Mediterranean Forest Species: Implications for Reducing Fire Hazard
by Jordi Bartolomé, Jordi Miró, Xavier Panadès, Maria José Broncano, Josefina Plaixats, Teresa Rigau, Maria José Milán and Elena Baraza
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1302; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081302 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3369
Abstract
During the second half of the 20th century, European countries experienced an increase in their forest area due to the global change. Consequently, there has been an increase in large forest fires, mainly in the Mediterranean basin, and this has forced the development [...] Read more.
During the second half of the 20th century, European countries experienced an increase in their forest area due to the global change. Consequently, there has been an increase in large forest fires, mainly in the Mediterranean basin, and this has forced the development of several types of prevention programs. One of them is the control of the understory by livestock. In this sense, browsing with a combination of donkeys and goats could be a good option, as both animals usually feed on forest species. However, little is known about their preferences for the key species of the Mediterranean forest. Using a cafeteria test, the preferences and consumption of both animals have been determined for five typical species of the Mediterranean forest, such as Quercus ilex, Pinus halepensis, Phillyrea latifolia, Rubus ulmifolius, and Brachypodium retusum. Results showed that donkeys and goats could act complementarily in the reduction of the fuel biomass of forests. Donkeys appear to act more on fine fuel, such as B. retusum, and goats on the more pyrophyte species, in this case P. halepensis. In addition, given that donkeys are at severe risk of extinction in Europe, this role of providing ecosystem services could contribute to their conservation. Despite this study only showing that goats and donkeys would consume all five presented plant species and that there are some differences in consumption during a short-term test, it constitutes a useful first step for conservation and fire prevention in the Mediterranean forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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13 pages, 642 KiB  
Article
Survey of Serum Amyloid A and Bacterial and Viral Frequency Using qPCR Levels in Recently Captured Feral Donkeys from Death Valley National Park (California)
by Sara Jerele, Eric Davis, Samantha Mapes, Nicola Pusterla, Francisco Javier Navas González, Carlos Iglesias Pastrana, Essam Mahmoud Abdelfattah and Amy McLean
Animals 2020, 10(6), 1086; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10061086 - 23 Jun 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3590
Abstract
Feral donkey removal from state land has raised concerns in terms of disease transmission between equine species. Disease outbreaks may occur as a result of the relocation of animals to new environments. Virus and bacteria DNA load and serum amyloid A derived from [...] Read more.
Feral donkey removal from state land has raised concerns in terms of disease transmission between equine species. Disease outbreaks may occur as a result of the relocation of animals to new environments. Virus and bacteria DNA load and serum amyloid A derived from the pathogenic processes that they involve were measured in recently captured donkeys. Blood and nasal swabs were collected from 85 donkeys (Death Valley National Park, Shoshone, California); 24 were retested after 30/60 days in the Scenic (Arizona) long-term holding facility co-mingled with feral donkeys from Arizona and Utah. Quantitative Real-Time PCR (qPCR) was performed to detect viral and bacterial genomic material (equine influenza A [EIV], equine rhinitis A and B viruses, AHV-2, AHV-3, AHV-5 and EHV-1, EHV-4, Streptococcus equi subspecies equi and zooepidemicus,). Significant relations between behavior, body condition score, nasal discharge, and coughing were found in donkeys for which AHV-2 and Streptococcus zooepidemicus DNA was detected. Higher SAA concentrations were found in foals. AHV-2 and Streptococcus zooepidemicus DNA concentrations significantly differed between sampling moments (p < 0.05). In conclusion, donkeys do not appear to be a substantial risk for disease transmission to horses but could be if they carried strangles or other processes in which AHV-2 and Streptococcus zooepidemicus were involved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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11 pages, 950 KiB  
Article
Morphometric Characteristics of the Skull in Horses and Donkeys—A Pilot Study
by Katrina Merkies, Georgios Paraschou and Paul Damien McGreevy
Animals 2020, 10(6), 1002; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10061002 - 8 Jun 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 6631
Abstract
Horses and donkeys belong to the genus Equus, but important differences exist between the species, many of which affect their management and welfare. This study compared skull morphology between horses and donkeys. Horse (n = 14) and donkey (n = 16) [...] Read more.
Horses and donkeys belong to the genus Equus, but important differences exist between the species, many of which affect their management and welfare. This study compared skull morphology between horses and donkeys. Horse (n = 14) and donkey (n = 16) heads were obtained post-mortem, sectioned sagittally close to the midline, and photographed for subsequent measurement of various skull structures. Skull, cranial, nasal, and profile indices were calculated for topographical comparisons between the species. The olfactory bulb area (OBA), OB pitch (the angle between the hard palate and the OB axis), and whorl location (WL) were also measured. A General Linear Model determined the main effect of species with Sidak’s multiple comparisons of species’ differences among the various measurements. There was no species difference in cranial or nasal indices (p > 0.13), but donkeys had a larger cranial profile than horses (p < 0.04). Donkeys had a smaller OBA (p < 0.05) and a steeper OB pitch (p < 0.02) than horses. The WL corresponded to the level of the OB in horses but was extremely rostral in donkeys (p < 0.0001). These results show clear differentiation in skull morphology between horses and donkeys. This may be useful in validating other physiological and behavioural differences between horses and donkeys. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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11 pages, 412 KiB  
Article
Anthelmintic Efficacy and Pharmacokinetics of Ivermectin Paste after Oral Administration in Mules Infected by Cyathostomins
by Marilena Bazzano, Alessandra Di Salvo, Manuela Diaferia, Fabrizia Veronesi, Roberta Galarini, Fabiola Paoletti, Beniamino Tesei, Amy McLean, Vincenzo Veneziano and Fulvio Laus
Animals 2020, 10(6), 934; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10060934 - 28 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4696
Abstract
Ivermectin (IVM) is an anthelmintic compound commonly used off-label in mules due to its broad-spectrum of activity. Despite the general use of IVM in mules with the same dose and route of administration licensed for horses, significant pharmacokinetic differences might exist between horses [...] Read more.
Ivermectin (IVM) is an anthelmintic compound commonly used off-label in mules due to its broad-spectrum of activity. Despite the general use of IVM in mules with the same dose and route of administration licensed for horses, significant pharmacokinetic differences might exist between horses and mules, as already observed for donkeys. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetic profile and anthelmintic efficacy of an oral paste of IVM in mules naturally infected with cyathostomins. Fifteen adult mules with fecal egg counts (FEC) ≥ 200 eggs per gram (EPG), with exclusive presence of cyathostomins, were included in the study. All mules were orally treated with IVM according to the manufacturer's recommended horse dosage (200 µg/kg body weight). FECs were performed before (day-10 and day-3) and after treatment at days 14 and 28 by using a modified McMaster method. The FEC reduction (FECR%) was also calculated. Blood samples were collected from five animals at various times between 0.5 h up to 30 days post treatment to determine pharmacokinetic parameters. The maximum IVM serum concentration (Cmax) was 42.31 ± 10.20 ng/mL and was achieved at 16.80 ± 9.96 h post-treatment (Tmax), area under the curve (AUC) was 135.56 ± 43.71 ng × day/mL. FECR% remained high (>95%) until the 28th day. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

11 pages, 723 KiB  
Review
Skin Diseases in Donkeys and Mules—An Update
by Telma S. Lima, Raquel A. F. Silva, Raquel M. F. Pereira, Karoline L. Soares, Nayadjala T. A. Santos, Mônica S. Sousa, Fábio S. Mendonça and Ricardo B. Lucena
Animals 2021, 11(1), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010065 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3745
Abstract
The skin of donkeys and mules represents a promising source of income; however, cultural, productive, and infectious factors can directly interfere with the quality of the integumentary tissue and well-being of these species. The objective of this study is to present a literature [...] Read more.
The skin of donkeys and mules represents a promising source of income; however, cultural, productive, and infectious factors can directly interfere with the quality of the integumentary tissue and well-being of these species. The objective of this study is to present a literature review on equine dermatopathies. This literature review included scientific articles related to equine medicine and breeding according to pre-established search terms and expressions published in recently articles. The evaluation of the clinical and pathological behavior of dermatopathies implies the use of control strategies and the recognition of pathological patterns that may be particular to the species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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26 pages, 465 KiB  
Review
Viral Diseases that Affect Donkeys and Mules
by Rebeca Jéssica Falcão Câmara, Bruna Lopes Bueno, Cláudia Fideles Resende, Udeni B. R. Balasuriya, Sidnei Miyoshi Sakamoto and Jenner Karlisson Pimenta dos Reis
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2203; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122203 - 25 Nov 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4552
Abstract
Donkeys (Equus asinus) and mules represent approximately 50% of the entire domestic equine herd in the world and play an essential role in the lives of thousands of people, primarily in developing countries. Despite their importance, donkeys are currently a neglected [...] Read more.
Donkeys (Equus asinus) and mules represent approximately 50% of the entire domestic equine herd in the world and play an essential role in the lives of thousands of people, primarily in developing countries. Despite their importance, donkeys are currently a neglected and threatened species due to abandonment, indiscriminate slaughter, and a lack of proper sanitary management. Specific knowledge about infectious viral diseases that affect this group of Equidae is still limited. In many cases, donkeys and mules are treated like horses, with the physiological differences between these species usually not taken into account. Most infectious diseases that affect the Equidae family are exclusive to the family, and they have a tremendous economic impact on the equine industry. However, some viruses may cross the species barrier and affect humans, representing an imminent risk to public health. Nevertheless, even with such importance, most studies are conducted on horses (Equus caballus), and there is little comparative information on infection in donkeys and mules. Therefore, the objective of this article is to provide a brief update on viruses that affect donkeys and mules, thereby compromising their performance and well-being. These diseases may put them at risk of extinction in some parts of the world due to neglect and the precarious conditions they live in and may ultimately endanger other species’ health and humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

8 pages, 1105 KiB  
Case Report
Single-Chamber Cardiac Pacemaker Implantation in a Donkey with Complete AV Block: A Long-Term Follow-Up
by Markéta Sedlinská, Radovan Kabeš, Miroslav Novák, Filip Kološ and Pavlína Melková
Animals 2021, 11(3), 746; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030746 - 9 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1850
Abstract
A five-month-old African jenny was presented with a history of exercise intolerance and syncopal episodes. Severe bradycardic arrhythmia due to a high-grade second-degree atrioventricular (AV) block with progression to complete AV block was diagnosed. The jenny underwent a transvenous single-chamber pacemaker implantation. The [...] Read more.
A five-month-old African jenny was presented with a history of exercise intolerance and syncopal episodes. Severe bradycardic arrhythmia due to a high-grade second-degree atrioventricular (AV) block with progression to complete AV block was diagnosed. The jenny underwent a transvenous single-chamber pacemaker implantation. The implantation procedure was performed in a lateral recumbency and the ventricular lead was inserted through the jugular vein. Positioning of the lead was guided by echocardiography. The pacemaker was programmed to VVI mode with a minimal ventricular rate of 40 pulses per minute, a pulse amplitude of 2.4 V, a pulse width of 0.5 ms and sensing amplitude of 2.5 mV. Short-term complications associated with the procedure included lead dislodgement and pacemaker pocket infection. The long-term outcome was satisfactory; the jenny showed improvement in heart function and quality of life after pacemaker implantation. The pulse generator replacement was performed twice (at nine-year intervals) and the intervention was always associated with a local inflammatory reaction around the pacing device. Cardiac examination 18 years after pacemaker implantation revealed no morphological changes in the heart; the electrode lead was still in the correct position and successful pacing and sensing of the ventricle were obtained. Regular follow-up checks are important to evaluate pacemaker function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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14 pages, 31249 KiB  
Case Report
Management of Thermal Injuries in Donkeys: A Case Report
by Jorge Lohse, Pierpaolo Pietrantoni and Christian Tummers
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2131; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112131 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3696
Abstract
Burn injuries are uncommon in large animals and there are no reports of these injuries in donkeys. Burns cause local and systemic effects. Extensive thermal injuries can be challenging to manage and the extent of the burn surface affected will directly impact the [...] Read more.
Burn injuries are uncommon in large animals and there are no reports of these injuries in donkeys. Burns cause local and systemic effects. Extensive thermal injuries can be challenging to manage and the extent of the burn surface affected will directly impact the severity of the illness and the prognosis. Burns are classified according to the depth of injury into four categories, from first-degree burns, and the least affect to fourth-degree burns, which are the more severely affected patients. This case report describes the medical management of four donkeys that sustained various degrees of external burn injuries during the wildland–urban interface fire in Valparaiso, Chile. The donkeys were treated topically for several weeks and closely monitor for inadequate nutritional intake. Water based topical medications are preferred in burn cases because they can be easily applied and removed without interfering with wound healing. Of note, the caloric demands of these cases can be achieved by increasing the amount of grain, adding fat (i.e., vegetable oil), and free-choice alfalfa hay. All donkeys recovered and were retired to an animal shelter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Donkey and Mule Research)
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