Early Monday morning, I looked out the window to see Ellsworth doing his mouth thing again. Because it was early and it was cool out, flies weren’t yet an issue. I’m not sure what prompted me to look in his mouth again, but when I did, a couple of his lower incisors didn’t look right. I also noticed an abnormal mouth odor, and Ellsworth just didn’t seem right.  That’s when I decided to call the vet.

Our vet, Dr. D, paid us a visit yesterday afternoon. He’s awesome and we think he’s wonderful (thanks Carson!). He gave Ellsworth a complete once over… temperature normal, lung and gut sounds normal, everything okay.

Here’s what we learned about donkey teeth:

The baby teeth of a young donkey are replaced by the permanent teeth between the ages of 2 1/2 and 4 years. Donkey permanent teeth include:

  • Three incisors on top and bottom on each side
  • One canine on top and bottom of each side (males)
  • Three premolars (four if wolf teeth are present) on top and bottom on each side
  • Three molars on top and bottom of each side

Dr. D determined that two of Ellsworth’s baby incisors were very loose and ready to come out, which could be causing him discomfort, so we decided to go ahead and have them pulled. They came out very easily. You can see there wasn’t a whole lot of them left as they were quite worn down:

 You can also see that Ellsworth’s permanent teeth are well on their way. These photos were taken after his baby teeth were pulled (and right after he had his evening portion of sweet feed).

We also decided to have Dr. D float Ellsworth’s teeth while he was here. For those of you not familiar with “floating teeth”, here’s an explanation from Donkeys: A Veterinary Guide for Owners and Breeders: Sharp points on cheek teeth may be resolved by a technique known as floating. A long-handled file is introduced into the mouth and rapidly moved in and out as it is angled diagonally to the tooth edges – this blunts and rounds the sharp points. (Sharp points may develop on the outside edges of the upper cheek teeth and/or inside of the lower cheek teeth. These points can irritate or cut the cheeks or tongue and cause the animal to be reluctant to chew food properly.)

Needless to say, because it was Don’s and my first time witnessing this procedure, it was a little painful for us to watch. (In case you’re wondering, Ellsworth was sedated, and we were very thankful for that.)

Of course, we’ll keep an eye on Ellsworth for the next few days to see if his odd behavior continues. Thanks to everyone who left comments on Friday’s post… we appreciate everything we learn from all of you. A lot. ♥

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