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Donkeys need more protection from winter than horses, study finds
Donkeys' coats are much lighter, shorter and thinner than those of horses and mules in winter.
Coats are much lighter, shorter and thinner

Donkeys are less able than horses to adapt to colder, wetter climates, according to new research. As such, they need more protection during the winter months to meet their welfare needs.

The finding, published in the Equine Veterinary Journal, is the result of a study of the extent to which donkeys need protection from the elements.

In the study, scientists took measurements of the insulation properties of hair samples (weight, length and thickness) and found that donkeys’ coats do not significantly change over the seasons.

Their study revealed that donkeys’ coats are much lighter, shorter and thinner than those of horses and mules in winter. In contrast, the coats of horses and ponies changed significantly between seasons, growing much thicker in winter.

The study was led by The Donkey Sanctuary in collaboration with animal behaviour and cognition specialists at the Universities of Portsmouth and Canterbury Christ Church.

Dr Faith Burden from The Donkey Sanctuary said: “For many years it has been the ‘common sense’ advice given by The Donkey Sanctuary to ensure that donkeys and mules are given the right protection from our cold winters.

“This study now provides us with scientific evidence to show why the welfare needs of donkeys and mules differ slightly to those of horses and ponies, and how we can act to give them better protection from the elements.”

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Campaign highlights ‘devastating impact’ of smoking around pets

News Story 1
 Leading vet charity PDSA has launched a campaign highlighting the ‘devastating impact’ that smoking can have on pets. The launch coincides with National No Smoking Day (14 March 2018) and aims to raise awareness of the risks of passive smoking and how to keep pets safe.

“Recent studies highlight that this is a really serious issue, and we want pet owners to know that they can make a real difference by simply choosing to smoke outdoors away from their pets,” said PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan. “We want pet owners to realise that, if they smoke, their pets smoke too.”  

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News Shorts
AWF named charity of the year

The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) has been chosen as charity of the year by the Veterinary Marketing Association (VMA). AWF is a vet-led charity, supported by the BVA, which aims to improve animal welfare though research funding, supporting veterinary education, providing pet care advice and encouraging debate on welfare issues.

VMA has pledged a range of support, including raising awareness and funds at their awards ceremony, which takes place on Friday 16 March, as well as offering marketing support through VMA marketing workshops.