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Prevalence of skin wounds in working donkeys in Bukombe, Tanzania
  1. Emma Rayner1,
  2. Ilona Airikkala-Otter2,
  3. Aswin Susheelan2,
  4. Andrew Gibson1,
  5. Richard Itaba3,
  6. Thomas Mayani3,
  7. Richard J Mellanby4 and
  8. Luke Gamble1
  1. 1 Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS), 4 Castle Street, Cranborne, BH21 5PZ, Dorset, UK
  2. 2 Worldwide Veterinary Service, International Training Centre, Gramya Bhavan, RDO Trust Building, Aruvankadu, The Nilgiris 643202, Tamil Nadu, India
  3. 3 Tanzania Humane Charity, P.O. Box 80197, ILALA, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  4. 4 Division of Veterinary Clinical Studies, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Roslin Institute, The University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Campus, Edinburgh, EH25 9RG, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Emma Rayner; emma{at}


Background Preventable wounds are a common welfare issue in working donkeys in many countries. In the Bukombe District of Tanzania, there are estimated to be 3000 working donkeys, used primarily to transport loads for direct income generation. For historical reasons, oxen-yoke carts are used; their design is inappropriate for donkeys and results in serious neck wounds. The project aim was to assess the prevalence and nature of wounds in working donkeys.

Methods In November 2018, 148 donkeys owned by 48 owners were examined, and data were collected.

Results The study revealed that one or more wounds were present in 56.1% of the population and yoke-related, dorsal neck wounds comprised 79.5% of these. These wounds ranged in surface area from 1 cm2 to 300 cm2. Clinically, 96.6% of all wound types were superficial and the majority of these (51.1%) were granulating.

Conclusion These data will enable the future evaluation of targeted interventions aimed at reducing the prevalence of these specific wounds.

  • welfare
  • donkeys
  • wound management
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the University of Edinburgh’s ethical review committee (ref 14.19).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article.

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