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