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Team Work Gives Jonty Something To Smile About

6 months ago

27th April, 2020 14h08

The Donkey Sanctuary

International animal-welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary proves the importance of team work during these unprecedented times, ensuring its donkeys continue to receive the highest level of care.

For 18-year-old Jonty the donkey, an urgent dental extraction was called for to alleviate discomfort due to the displacement of one of his molar teeth.

Teeth in donkeys are rasped every year (in normal circumstances), as they erupt continuously during their lifetime. Without rasping, the teeth would develop sharp points that damage the soft tissues within the mouth. Rasping teeth is a non-painful procedure that is performed as a routine treatment in all the equine species (hypsodont teeth), and must only be carried out by a veterinary surgeon or qualified equine dental technician (EDT).

When teeth are displaced, like in Jonty’s case, they tend to overgrow quickly as they do not have an opposite one to wear them down. Despite more regular rasping for Jonty in order to conservatively manage the overgrowth, it was no longer appropriate. The 409 tooth had severely displaced laterally and the painful ulcer on the inside of his cheek could no longer be managed. As a result, the decision was made to remove the affected tooth to improve his quality of life.

Donkeys in the care of The Donkey Sanctuary would be usually be transported to the organisation’s donkey hospital near Honiton, but as Jonty also suffers from chronic uveitis and keratitis, resulting in severe sight impairment, it was decided that treatment should take place in his barn at the charity’s international headquarters in Sidmouth, Devon, reducing the stress the journey might bring.

Under the direction of the veterinary department, the sanctuary team at the Sidmouth sanctuary improvised a surgical dental suite in Jonty’s barn ready for the procedure. This meant Jonty could remain in a familiar environment where he felt safe and comfortable.

Veterinary surgeon Jesus Buil would be performing the extraction with veterinary nurse Dominique Doyle, and as the pair are partners, they were able to work in close proximity to one another throughout the operation, ensuring Jonty received the best care possible.

Jesus explains: “We knew it would not be an easy procedure considering the location and degree of displacement of the tooth.”

Dominique helped Jonty settle before placing an intravenous catheter and under the direction of the vet, sedated Jonty and assisted in maintaining a standing sedation for the duration of the procedure.

Jesus continues: “Once Jonty was suitably sedated, I performed a mandibular nerve block to ensure Jonty could not feel any pain during the procedure. I was then able to extract the tooth using the dental equipment brought from the hospital”

During the procedure, the veterinary nurse carefully monitored his sedation level, fluid rate and vital parameters. Jonty responded well to his sanding sedation and an hour and forty-five minutes later, the tooth was removed successfully and in one piece. Once he had recovered suitably, he was able to return to his barn, where he could join his friends.

Jonty has recovered well, and although he will need regular veterinary check-ups until the tooth socket has completely healed, he is no longer in any pain or discomfort. Jonty’s quality of life has hugely improved thanks to the collaboration of sanctuary staff and the veterinary department.

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