Last month an exciting new Centre for Animal Welfare Education was officially opened at the University of Edinburgh’s, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. The Donkey Sanctuary and the Royal (Dick) Vet School have collaborated on several animal welfare research projects in the past and we have ongoing projects at the moment as well.
Projects and development
The Donkey Sanctuary has an active projects department that facilitates and carries out non-invasive research to improve the health and welfare of donkeys and mules worldwide. We aim to improve health and welfare of donkeys and mules by increasing the knowledgebase of the species in sickness and health.
The Donkey Sanctuary funds collaborators around the world to carry out non-invasive research and also has a team of dedicated scientists and veterinarians carrying out 'in house' research. A very important part of our work is the publication of these studies and as such ensure all findings are published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at relevant conferences.
All projects are coordinated by a dedicated projects team who carry out their own research and co-ordinate the work of collaborating scientists. The nature of research projects may be basic science, applied science, application of information technology or the advancement of education of donkey and mule health and welfare.
Research is only useful to the donkey and mule populations worldwide if the results are practically applied. As part of the projects department’s remit we are committed to implementing change within The Donkey Sanctuary based upon sound scientific findings and are pleased to advise others on the implications of our research.
If you are interested in our research projects or want to know more, please contact us.
The donkey is often thought of as a stoic, hardy animal which rarely shows signs of pain as a horse or pony would. Pain management and assessment is particularly difficult in donkeys due to their stoic nature and physiological and metabolic differences when compared to other equids with research in this area being limited.
Dental disease and abnormalities are common in donkeys, particularly in elderly animals. This research project aims to establish the rates of dental disease and abnormalities in the UK and overseas. We also hope to assess why these problems arise and how best to treat them.
Parasites are of major importance to the health and welfare of donkeys and mules in the UK and overseas. Traditionally parasites have been tackled by using anthelmintic drugs. Unfortunately resistance to many of the drugs available has developed in UK equids and it is important to understand and respond to this problem.
Impaction colic is one of the most common causes of illness in UK donkeys, unfortunately it also has a high mortality rate of over 50%. Impaction colic is a condition seen frequently in elderly donkeys and is often associated with dental disease. The aims of this project were to identify risk factors for the development of impaction colic in order to suggest management practices which may reduce the incidence of this common problem.