Investigating the opinions of donkey owners and veterinary surgeons towards pain and analgesia in donkeys

N. J. Grint*, J. C. Murrell, H. R. Whay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Summary: The aim of this questionnaire-based study was to identify which analgesics are currently prescribed to donkeys in clinical practice and to collect opinions from veterinary surgeons and donkey owners on the importance of different pain-related behaviours in donkeys. Questionnaires were completed by 143 veterinary surgeons and 93 donkey owners. Phenylbutazone, flunixin, detomidine and butorphanol were reported as the most frequently used analgesics in donkeys. Most veterinary surgeons reported administering these drugs at the horse dose rate and dosing interval, which may be inappropriate in the donkey. Four pain-related behaviours were identified as very important by veterinary surgeons and owners: dullness for colic-associated pain, keeping the foot lifted, and lameness for foot and limb pain and inability to chew properly for head and dental pain. This is a more limited behavioural repertoire than has recently been identified to be associated with pain in the donkey and suggests that the respondents were reporting perceived wisdom as to what people think are the behavioural signs associated with pain or were not interpreting pain-related behaviours correctly.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEquine Veterinary Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2015


  • Analgesia
  • Behaviour
  • Donkey
  • Horse
  • Pain
  • Questionnaire

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