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Clinical and pathologic findings in donkeys with hypothermia: 10 cases (1988–1998)

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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 2B9.
  • | 2 Present address is New Bolton Center, 382 W Street Rd, Kennett Square, PA 19348-1692.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 2B9.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 2B9.

Abstract

Objective—To describe clinical signs and clinicopathologic findings in donkeys with hypothermia.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—10 hypothermic donkeys.

Procedure—Information on signalment, history, physical examination findings, results of diagnostic tests, treatments, and necropsy findings was extracted from medical records of all donkeys with hypothermia between 1988 and 1998 and compared with information from medical records of all normothermic donkeys and hypothermic horses admitted to the hospital during the same period.

Results—Donkeys were more likely to be hypothermic than horses. The mean age of hypothermic donkeys was 6 years (range, 7 months to 11 years), compared with 4.2 years (range, < 1 month to 15 years) for normothermic donkeys; this difference was not significant. Ten of 12 horses with hypothermia were neonates; there were no hypothermic neonatal donkeys. At admission, 7 of 8 hypothermic donkeys were in good body condition and all hypothermic donkeys were weak. Six hypothermic donkeys were able to maintain sternal recumbency, 1 remained in lateral recumbency, and 3 were able to stand. Of the 10 hypothermic donkeys, 2 survived, 1 died, and 7 were euthanatized. Histologically, the thyroid glands from 4 of 5 hypothermic donkeys appeared abnormal and were similar to those of foals with hypothyroidism. During the months that hypothermic donkeys were admitted, there was not a significant difference in environmental temperatures on days of admission between hypothermic and normothermic donkeys.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Hypothermia is a problem in donkeys during cold winter months, and may not be secondary to other diseases or related to diet or management. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:725–729)

Abstract

Objective—To describe clinical signs and clinicopathologic findings in donkeys with hypothermia.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—10 hypothermic donkeys.

Procedure—Information on signalment, history, physical examination findings, results of diagnostic tests, treatments, and necropsy findings was extracted from medical records of all donkeys with hypothermia between 1988 and 1998 and compared with information from medical records of all normothermic donkeys and hypothermic horses admitted to the hospital during the same period.

Results—Donkeys were more likely to be hypothermic than horses. The mean age of hypothermic donkeys was 6 years (range, 7 months to 11 years), compared with 4.2 years (range, < 1 month to 15 years) for normothermic donkeys; this difference was not significant. Ten of 12 horses with hypothermia were neonates; there were no hypothermic neonatal donkeys. At admission, 7 of 8 hypothermic donkeys were in good body condition and all hypothermic donkeys were weak. Six hypothermic donkeys were able to maintain sternal recumbency, 1 remained in lateral recumbency, and 3 were able to stand. Of the 10 hypothermic donkeys, 2 survived, 1 died, and 7 were euthanatized. Histologically, the thyroid glands from 4 of 5 hypothermic donkeys appeared abnormal and were similar to those of foals with hypothyroidism. During the months that hypothermic donkeys were admitted, there was not a significant difference in environmental temperatures on days of admission between hypothermic and normothermic donkeys.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Hypothermia is a problem in donkeys during cold winter months, and may not be secondary to other diseases or related to diet or management. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:725–729)