Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Curve of Spee

Between the Donkey Welfare Symposium and assorted other chaos, I am far, far behind.  Still, I want to try to share some of the highlights of the symposium.  Since I have not had time to truly organize any of it, it may seem rather random.  I really can't do any of this true justice, however, the organizers of these events have just made the videos of the 2015 UC Davis symposium available online here:

There is a lot of great stuff here and I urge anyone interested in donkeys to check it out.

For today, my random tidbit of useful information came from a lecture about donkey dentistry.  A couple of small donkeys from the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue were somewhat reluctant, but very sweet assistants.

I apologize for the shear crappiness of these next photos, these were slide projections that I photographed from a distance with my iPod.  They are still interesting though. 

This is a donkey skull with large windows cut into the outer layer of bone to reveal the teeth.

Equines are born with these extremely long teeth that continually erupt as the tooth wears away.  By the time this animal reaches the end of its lifespan, the teeth will have worn to nothing.  In fact, it is the loss of teeth that is often the cause of an old horse's death.

The curve of the mandible is more pronounced in donkeys than in horses and can be so extreme as to cause problems all on it's own.  It is crucially important to maintain this curve and not try to level it out during dental work.  If your dentist talks about leveling the mouth (which I have heard too many times), your might want to find a new dentist.  

I have also been told, numerous times, that donkeys don't need dental work, which is absolutely untrue. They are, in fact, more prone to dental problems than horses are.  A good grinding surface needs to be maintained while staying true to the anatomy of the skull.  I. thought this was one of the best photos of donkey dentition that I have ever seen. 


  1. I've always been curious about the equine mouth. I've had work done on a few and checked others. My old horse Cheyanne eventually ran out of teeth before she died.

  2. Wow, that's fascinating. I can't wait to watch the video. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Your links to other blogs is not showing up. Are you going to publish them in the future?

  4. Thanks for this! I was sorry not to be able to make the symposium this year and very interested in your observations as you find time to post.