A cross sectional study was conducted from April 2014 to April 2015 to assess foot related problems in working donkeys and their effects on the owners’ livelihood in Hawassa City. The hoof problems in donkeys included hoof abnormality, apparent lameness or standing lameness. 369 owners owned 1 to 5 donkeys, 161 (43.35%) and 1(0.3%). 14(3.8%), 6(1.6%), 211(57.2%) and 138(37.4%) were illiterate, educated in religion, had elementary education and completed high school. The owners had 3 to 5 years’ experience. 139(37.7%) donkeys had foot related problems. Hoof over-growth was the highest cause of foot problem (12.46% prevalence) followed by hoof abscess (9.2%). The owners’ educational status and work experience were statistically and significantly associated with foot problem in donkeys (P=0.002) and (P=0.000). The number of days the donkeys work weekly and amount of weight they carry were also statistically and significantly associated with foot problems (P=0.044) and (P=0.008). The level of dependency of household on cart pulling donkey was not statistically and significantly associated with the foot problem. The age and body condition score of the donkeys were also significantly associated with the prevalence of lameness (P=0.013) and (P=0.011). The average annual financial earnings from a donkey with and without foot problem were 10,271.00 Ethiopia Birr (ETB) (513.55$) and 12,536.00 ETB (626.8$). The monetary loss from foot problems per a donkey yearly was 2469 ETB (123.45 US$) assuming the life expectancy of donkeys was calculated as a loss. Each donkey owner loses 45,614 ETB (2280.7US$) per donkey averagely due to culling of the donkey. The foot problems did not only affect donkeys, but also the living standard of the people depending on them. A systematic approach should be made to enhance donkeys’ health and the livelihood of people engaged in it.
Key words: Cart pulling donkeys, financial loss, foot problems, Hawassa city, livelihood.
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