Sidmouth donkey has teeth brushed to help gums

PUBLISHED: 16:06 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:25 17 June 2010

A DONKEY suffering from a bout of gingivitis is having her teeth brushed regularly by staff at Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary.

A DONKEY suffering from a bout of gingivitis is having her teeth brushed regularly by staff at Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary.

Ella, 13, was taken in by the charity in 1998 because she was lonely, has developed the form of gum disease, which causes the gums around her teeth to become red and swollen.

If not treated it can, over years, cause the bone supporting the teeth to be lost.

Now Maxine Hoad, a veterinary nurse at the Sanctuary, has been regularly brushing Ella's teeth to tackle the condition.

She said: "We use a normal-sized toothbrush and an antibacterial liquid to clean her teeth.

"We can treat donkeys with gingivitis by flushing out the mouth with an antibacterial wash and putting them on a course of antibiotics, but brushing is the most effective way and although unusual for a donkey, Ella really doesn't seem to mind the toothbrush - she is a perfect patient."

Ella is one of thousands of donkeys currently cared for by the charity, which makes great efforts to care for each donkey's individual needs.

Barns are fitted with heat lamps and rubber matting for elderly donkeys while those with respiratory problems enjoy airy stables and dust free bedding.

Blind donkeys, who are accompanied by sighted friends, have padded shelters for further protection.

You can find out more about the work of The Donkey Sanctuary by calling (01395) 578222 or at www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk.


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