Donkey De-Worming!

Bluebell the donkey!

As donkey owners will know, donkeys cannot just be lumped in the same box as our horse and pony friends! Donkeys get redworm like horses and the worm egg counts are just as useful for donkey redworm control as horses – they can be included in our annual worming programme.

For the treatment of redworm not all products are licensed in donkeys but due to increasing resistance to wormers an unlicensed product may be required.

Below is an example of the de-worming diary recommended by The Donkey Sanctuary.

This gives particular treatments that may need to be carried out, however it should be noted that throughout the whole year it is recommended to perform Faecal Worm Egg Counts (FWECs) every 8 – 10 weeks to specifically tailor make a treatment plan for your donkey. Worm egg counts are performed on a small sample (handful size) of droppings which you can bring into the practice in a small labelled bag (e.g. freezer bag).

 

January to April Encysted cyathostomins (encysted redworms)

FWECs do not evaluate the burden of cyathostomin larvae. Treatment for encysted larvae will assist in reducing future pasture contamination and will guard against gut damage associated with encysted larvae.

Treatment options:

Equest (Moxidectin) – Not licensed in donkeys but is safe to use

  5 day Panacur (Fenbendazole) – Licensed in donkeys but lots of
resistance so may not be very effective. Good to use in young
donkeys/underweight/pregnant jennies

It should be noted that if your donkey has many FWECs that are 0 – there will be no need to treat for encysted cyathostomins.

Throughout the year perform FWECs every 8 – 10 weeks
March to May Liver fluke

A survey by the Donkey Sanctuary has found that a surprisingly high number of donkeys suffer from liver fluke. As fluke eggs do not show up in a standard worm egg count you might like to also ask for a fluke egg test. If your fields have wet areas or are subject to flooding it would be advisable to test for fluke annually. Spring is the optimum time for testing.

 

November Tapeworm

Tapeworm is much rarer in donkeys than horses but in high risk situations it would still be beneficial to treat once a year.

Treatment options

Equitape (Pyrantel) – Treats for tapeworm only

Double dose Pyratape P or Strongid P (Pyrantel embonate) – treats
for redworms and tapeworm

It should be noted that multiwormers (i.e. Equest Pramox or Equimax) are not advocated in donkeys.

Lungworms are a parasite that generally cause little problem for donkeys unless they are grazing with horses. Lungworms only develop fully in donkeys yet the immature forms in horses can be a serious cause of coughing. Therefore, if a donkey’s field companions are coughing, it can make sense to test the donkey faeces for lungworm larvae.

Please speak to your vet for more worming advice or contact us to register for our worming programme.