A Survey on Major Health and Management Problems of Donkeys under Traditional Husbandry System at Selected Sites in Central Highland of Ethiopia

Melkam Abate


The study was conducted from November, 2015 to April, 2016 in four selected districts of central Ethiopia with the aim of assessing the major health and management problems in donkey. The questionnaire survey was carried out on 100 donkey owners who possessed a total of 239 donkeys. A total of2440 donkeys presented to the mobile clinic of donkey health and welfare project were clinically examined and 359(14.7%) were positive for one or more types of health problems. Of donkey owners interviewed, 50% viewed disease as the primary problem of donkey production while 30%belived feed and water to be the first ranking. Of the health problems prevailing included musculo-skeletal disorder (48%), with nutritional, parasitic, and miscellaneous disease in the same order. Half of the donkey owners (54%) allow their donkeys to forage for themselves while 46% supplemented their donkey usually before or after work. Of 359 examined donkeys found to be positive for health problems, 20%, 76% and 4% were young, adult and old, respectively with 31%, 63%, and 6% of moderate, poor and good body condition, respectively. Analysis of the clinical cases indicate the incidence of wound, infections disease, musculo-skeletal disorder , internal Parasitism, nutritional and reproductive disease to be in the order of 65%, 9%, 13%, 3%, 6% and 4% respectively.

From all cases of wound 83.3% involved the long axis comparison of the location showed a significant difference (p<0.05,x2=25.808) among the body regions. Animals with poor body condition were significantly affected (p<0.05,x2=25.808) with wound,musculo-skeletal disorder and infectious disease than animals with moderate or good body condition. Adult animals were significantly (p<0.05,x2=29.641 ) affectedby the same disease than young or old animals. There was also a highly significant difference in the degree of severity of health problems (p<0.05,x2=134.110)with the majority of the health problems being either moderate or bad.Musculo-skeletaldisorder, nutritional and wound problems assumed to more serious health problems. This study proves that donkeys do suffer from different kinds of ill health often as a result of poor management and ignorance of their owners. Unless the appropriate measure is taken, this will invariably affect the performance of donkeys with serious loss of income particularly for families who almost exclusively depend on donkeys for their livelihood.


Ethiopia; Health problem; Management; Working donkeys.

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