Why Is My Donkey Losing Hair? (Answered)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Hair loss or alopecia in donkeys is experienced when the donkey starts having its hair fall out or experiencing bald spots.

Alopecia shows that there is an underlying ailment which is not showing and the hair loss is a symptom.

Some of the causes of donkey hair loss could be parasites, rain rot, ringworm, a fungal infection or allergies.

Whatever the cause, the presence of alopecia means your donkey requires urgent veterinary attention to discover the underlying ailment.

Todays’ article will explain the causes of hair donkey loss, parasites that can cause alopecia and how you can get rid of them.

What Are The Possible Causes Of A Donkey’s Hair To Fall Out?

Why Is My Donkey Losing Hair

You might have probably noticed a large amount of your donkeys’ hair coming off on the brush while grooming or noticed patches of itching hair on your donkey.

These are symptoms that your donkey has alopecia.

The causes of alopecia in equines especially donkeys include:

1. Rain Rot

Rain rot is caused by the bacteria dermatophilus congolensis. It causes the infection when it is able to find a wound or opening on the skin of the donkey.

Rain rot is characterized by crusty scabs in areas where the rain runs off or lower body parts for donkeys that stand in wet places.

When the scabs peel off, it leaves round bare spots that don’t grow hair. 

To treat, the donkey will be prescribed antibiotics by the vet and washed with antibacterial soap till there are no scabs left.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on why donkeys have big ears

2. Ringworm

Ringworm is an infection caused by fungi organisms namely Trichophyton and Micros Porum.

It is characterized by round hairless patches and crusted scabbed skin which come in the shape of lesions.

The fungi organisms develop the infection by actively inhibiting the growth of keratin, the substance responsible for hair and skin development.

It can also easily spread to other animals within a short period of time.

Treatment is with antifungal medications and ointment and immediate isolation from other animals to prevent the spread.

3. Mange

Mange is a condition characterized by small round bumps which then evolves to bald hairless spots.

It is an infection caused by tiny parasites called mites. It manifests on the lower legs and causes itching.

You can treat mange by applying anti-parasitic topical medication that contain lime-sulfur solutions.

4. Lice

Lice can either feed off on the dead skin of the donkey or suck their blood.

In either case, the donkey experiences intense itching along the head, neck, shoulders, tail and mane which leads to hair loss.

Insecticidal powders and shampoos thoroughly spread on the donkeys’ coat will treat the skin and kill the lice over a period of time. 

Other causes of hair loss in donkeys include malnutrition and allergies.

Consult a vet doctor immediately if you notice signs of hair loss for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

If treatment is followed as prescribed by the doctor, your donkey will recover swiftly in a couple of weeks.

How Can I Prevent Their Hair From Falling Out?

Prevention they say is better than cure and this is definitely true in donkey hair loss.

Regular grooming of your donkey will enable you to see early warning signs of any underlying ailment in the animal.

  • Prevent your donkey from getting infected by bacteria or fungi that might start an infection.
  • Provide a sturdy dry shelter for your donkey and ensure the roof is devoid of holes. Donkeys are more susceptible to rain rot so you have to always prevent their coat from getting damp.
  • Their stable should have dry bedding free of manure or dirt that might attract parasites such as lice or mites. 
  • Always disinfect equipment used in handling your donkey from time to time.
  • If you are getting a new donkey, keep it separate for about 2 weeks to be sure it is not carrying an infectious disease like ringworm.
  • Clean the donkey’s shelter and stalls from time to time to remove muck and mud.
  • Keep separate equipment for your donkeys so infections are not easily spread.
  • If there’s an outbreak of an infectious disease, seperate the infected donkey and disinfect the stalls and whole shelter.
  • Treat any other donkey that might have been in contact with an infected donkey to avoid spreading from one to another.

Also check out this article I wrote on keeping flies of donkeys

How Do You Get Rid Of Mites On A Donkey?

To control mite infestation on your donkey ensure you always bathe and clip your donkey’s hair.

Regular grooming is important to keep mites and other parasites like lice and ticks off your donkey’s skin.

Once you notice bald spots that might be caused by mite infestation, start with clipping your donkey’s hair especially in the parts where there are lesions from mites.

Bathe the donkey regularly before applying anti mite control treatment.

The grooming and clipping enables the treatment to penetrate well into the donkey’s skin and results can be seen faster.

Clipping also exposes the areas with lesions, removes the hard crust or scabs and allows the medication to have direct contact with the skin.

Different medications are prescribed for the removal of mites such as insecticides, medicated shampoos or injected medication.

Donkey owners have reported varying degrees of success with the use of each treatment.

Sometimes a combination of two or more gets the job done. An experienced vet will prescribe the right kind of solution for your donkey mite problem.

What Insects Cause Hair Loss In Donkeys?

Mites and lice are the main parasitic insects that cause alopecia in donkeys. 

Mites give donkeys mange which is an infection that causes small round bumps that develop  into thick scaly skin especially on the lower legs.

Mites are almost invisible to the naked eye and are usually discovered by the use of a magnifying glass.

Donkey owners can control mite infestation by regular grooming and clipping of the affected areas. Application of several prescribed solutions will clear off the mites in no time.

Lice can either be chewing lice which feed on dead skin on the donkeys’ coat or sucking lice.

The sucking lice feed on the donkeys’ blood and cause intense skin irritation and itching.

Hair loss begins to happen when the donkey keeps rubbing the itchy part of the skin.

Lice can easily spread to other donkeys and as such the infested donkey should immediately be isolated and the shelter disinfected. 

Treatment should also be carried out based on the veterinary doctor’s prescription.

Can donkeys lose hair due to stress?

A stressed donkey can experience hair loss especially if it has other underlying ailments or a series of other factors affecting it.

A donkey that is infested by mite or lice will experience hair loss from itching and rubbing its skins and also from lesions. 

Some donkeys also lose their hair during pregnancy and since pregnancy can be a stressor it would indicate that donkeys can suffer from alopecia when stressed.


Your donkeys’ coat can tell you so much about what is going on with your donkey.

As a donkey owner always groom your donkey regularly and ensure you check all over for any bumps, swellings or scabs.

Donkeys are good at hiding their pain and if you are not observant you would not see the signs until it becomes a big problem that would take time and money.

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About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


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