This issue is probably the most neglected of the donkey care basics besides their hooves not being trimmed.
Some older miniature donkeys need their teeth floated every year. You may notice when they eat that there is some difficulty chewing food, with it seeming to take her forever to eat. Upon inspection of the mouth, you may realize they need their teeth floated and some rasping done to both sides.
If this is the case, you need to make an appointment with your farm Veterinarian for the floating of teeth and to give a dental exam to any other miniature donkeys you may have at the same time.
While giving a dental exam/s, it is a good opportunity to get the vet to also look for other problems such as sores, broken teeth, tumors, abscesses, as well as anomalies before starting any dental procedure.
The veterinarian should take into consideration many variables before starting any dental procedure regarding the temperament, health, and age of the miniature donkey.
If your donkey is older without much experience of such things, it might need a slight sedative to relax her due to not having had her mouth handled much, and is wary of a stranger and foreign objects roaming around in her mouth.
The sedative should just be enough to relax her, not put her to sleep. In this state, she is aware of what is going on and the veterinarian can converse good words and thoughts to her during the procedure so she is better next time. Lots of hugs from a willing assistant also help a lot while the vet works on perfecting your donkey’s bite.
Because Miniature Donkeys are so small, the proper dental equipment is necessary for the floating of their teeth.
The veterinarian should use small head and mouth gear as well as the correct size rasp. Miniature donkeys’ mouths are very small compared to a regular size horse or mule and using the incorrect equipment can cause difficulties not only for the veterinarian but also discomfort to the donkey.
Sometimes because the miniature donkey has been chewing unnaturally, it will create sore ligaments when the bite has been corrected therefore our veterinarian administers phenobutezol (bute) to help with any discomfort or pain the animal may be experiencing.
The age of a miniature donkey needing its teeth floated varies depending on the individual animal. Usually, a middle-aged miniature donkey can be a prime candidate for floating, but some miniature donkeys can only be 3 and already show signs of needing regular dental care due to sharp points and hooks.
Not all miniature donkeys that start out with regular dental care need to be sedated because just a few swipes with a rasp generally get the job done. A yearly dental check-up by your local veterinarian should be sufficient to discover any problems. Your veterinarian will make proper recommendations in regards to future regular exams and the floating of teeth according to your animal’s needs.
Not all veterinarians have floated teeth or have experience in floating miniature donkey teeth. Therefore, ask questions and find a qualified equine dentist. Patience, understanding, and gentle handling of our animals are very important.