Donkey Dentistry

Last week, I noticed the hay in my barn was not being consumed as rapidly as usual. So, a vet was called to check out my donkeys and horse.

Upon further inspection, it was apparent that one of the donkeys, Nellie, needed some dental work…

That was when the afternoon got interesting.

In order to work on the teeth of a donkey, the donkey needs to let you and in order for that to happen, the donkey needs to be relaxed. In order for the donkey to relax with a hand and tools in her mouth, she needs a “relaxer”.

So, a sedative was provided and sweet Nellie’s mouth was opened with a metal guard to keep her from biting down – similar to what a human dentist would use when conducting tooth x-rays.

She was also put into a rope system to keep her head up. My father and I held her in place and helped guide her during the procedure.

My dad held her head and I…

I got to hold her pink, squishy, grass-stained tongue in place.

A long electric grinder with a guard to prevent injury was used to shape the teeth. The teeth were smoothed and sanded down in moments. It was a learning experience as well as a necessity for the donkey.

The grinder was loud.

Grinding teeth… the sound made me cringe.

Her front teeth were shaped next with a guard allowing access to them.

It was very quickly over and the lovely Nellie got to chill in the pasture for a while until the sedatives wore off. Then she made her way to the barn and gobbled up her hay.

It was a very interesting day, for sure.


2 thoughts on “Donkey Dentistry

    1. She didn’t seem to be eating as much as normal (which isn’t normal since donkeys will eat themselves silly). I’ve only been a donkey owner for about a year so I don’t know what would cause that. I think I would call the vet and ask though. Better to be safe than sorry since they are so delicate and the wrong diet can be harmful to them. Good luck!


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