Donkeys are affected by several different parasites or worms, and must be wormed regularly. The interval between routine worming depends on the type of wormer being used. As a general rule, worming is usually recommended approximately every 8 weeks. All available wormers come within three chemical family groups namely:
With the exception of Panacur Equine Guard most wormers come as paste in tubes or granules. Normally a tube of paste is the dose for 600 Kg body weight and for a sachet of granules it is 300 Kg body weight.
Worm all newcomers on arrival and isolate for 72 hours. Pasture and stable hygiene is vital. Pick up droppings. Not all parasites are controlled by all wormers.
Always check with your Veterinarian about which wormer to use and when. Follow his/her advice. You need to know the weight of your donkey, as this will affect the amount of wormer administered.
An alternative to worming your donkeys every 6-8 weeks is to have a worm count on the faeces by taking a sample to your veterinarian. If your donkeys do not mix with other horses and donkeys and do not travel out of their own environment, they may not need to be wormed so frequently. There is now a laboratory that can also do a postal service for the cost of £9.50 each sample. Their free kit containing everything you need to collect and post your samples.
Their web site is on our links page or you can telephone Westgate Laboratories 01670 791994
When you need to worm your miniature donkey it is most crucial to know their weight. You will need to know this also for many drugs and anaesthetics as all doses are proportional to body weight. If you don't have access to a weighbridge or method of weighing your donkey, then a means of estimating must be used. Many weigh-bands and formulae were designed for horses and do not suit all donkeys. Similarly some donkey formulae tend to become inaccurate when applied to miniature donkeys. One formula we recommend is a little more involved but much more accurate. Keep a record of weights as this may also assist your veterinarian in the future.
Make sure that your donkey is standing square and is relaxed. Use a measuring tape that is long enough to measure the length of the donkey. It is also advised to have another person or helper present that can assist with holding the donkey and tape.
Weight (kgs) = ((Height-Belly height) x Girth x Length) divide 3500
All measurements are in centimetres
As a check most adult miniature donkeys will be in the range 80 -120 kgs
A further essential part of parasite control is based on stable and pasture management. Worming alone is not satisfactory. Droppings should be picked up from all donkey areas regularly.
To check the efficiency of your program and with a view to minimising the amount of wormer you administer to your donkeys, it is advisable to submit fresh dung samples to your vet for worm egg counts to be done, (every couple of years), which will give a good indication of worm infestation levels. Guesswork plays no part in parasite control. Always worm all your donkeys at the same time.