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Differences between a Donkey and a Horse
Revised: March 10, 2020
Published: December 15, 2008

Today on the program we are going to talk about some differences between horses and donkeys. Those of you that have donkeys know they are special animals and are different from horses in many ways, but many people don't realize the differences. First of all, donkeys are called different terms than horses; males are called jacks, not stallions. Jacks can be aggressive and should be stalled separately from other animals when not breeding. In our practice, a client's jack attacked one of their older quarter horse geldings that accidentally got in the same pasture. Female donkeys are called jenneys and pregnant jenneys are actually pregnant about a month longer than mares as their gestation length is commonly a year or longer.

There are many anatomical differences in donkeys compared to horses and one is the size of the muscle in their necks. They have a large muscle that covers the jugular vein and so injecting drugs or taking blood samples from donkeys must be performed high or low in the neck. Also, Dr. Susan Burnham from graham, Texas, indicates donkeys have a lower rectal temperature than most horses but have a wide variation in temperatures from 96.8F degrees all the way up to 104F degrees. Another unusual finding is donkeys have what is called diurnal variation in temperatures; their lowest temperature is in the cool early morning hours and can normally be as low as 96F. Maximum temperature occurs at noon and is usually around 102.2F so when taking a donkey's temperature you must consider the time of day. Check out our website at tfbradio.com for more information.

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