Cleaning your Donkey Tack {Contagious Donkey Skin Diseases}

Why clean old donkey tack?

Do you like to buy used tack? Ever think about how not cleaning tack could affect your donkey? Recently I bought up a huge lot of used tack. Major score! I love saving money and a lot of this stuff looked brand new. A lot was in good shape but definitely used. I had planned to disinfect it all because I friend of mine had told me when she was younger she had a horse get strangles from the used tack.

I never verified this claim though. It got me thinking if my donkeys could get strangles from used tack what else could they get! I decided the first thing to do was ask my equine vet though. Here is what he said:

Unless the tack was recently in a barn where stangles was present, it is normally not an issue. But sometimes diseases involving the skin (bacterial and fungal) can spread through dirty tack.

Ick! Time to clean some tack! After more research, I found some other nasty skin conditions that could possibly be transmitted by dirty tack! 

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Donkey Skin Diseases

 I’m just going to go over the donkey skin diseases that can be contagious and spread from dirty tack.

Rain Rot is a bacterial infection. The causative organism, Dermatophilus congolensis, can reside on the skin without causing trouble, but it multiplies rapidly in a moist environment. Not highly contagious, but it is recommended that blankets or other tack that touches the affected area be washed before used on another donkey. If rain rot is a problem you may want to check out this article and free DIY recipe to help rid your donkey of the problem Rain Rot in Donkeys {FREE Home Remedy}

Ringworm is a fungal infection, which is usually caused by members of the Trichophyton or Microsporum families. The fungi can survive for months in the environment, on tack or fences, and they can be carried on the skin for up to three weeks before signs of infection are evident. The fungi can be easily spread to other animals, and sudden outbreaks may affect every donkey in a herd.

Warts are caused by a contagious virus. The equine papillomavirus, an organism that can survive on skin, equipment, and structures for weeks.

Mange is a parasitic infection caused by several species of tiny mites that can barely be seen by the naked eye. 

Lice can also be transmitted by dirty tack if the tack was recently used by an infected donkey. There are two types of these parasitic insects infect horses. Chewing lice (Damalinia equi) feed on sloughed-off dead skin cells. These are more likely to affect the neck, flanks and the base of the tail. Then there is biting or sucking lice (Haematopinus asini) which feed on blood. 

These are more than enough reasons cleaning tack is a priority!

Homemade Disinfectant for Cleaning your Donkey Tack

Many of the essential oils that are safe for donkeys are anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial. I also add a mild chunk of all-natural goats milk soap to dissolve in the water.

If I am doing a routine cleansing of my own donkey tack I use this. These oils are all linked to Young Living. I use YL oils because they are the most consistent oils I’ve found. And when compared to the others I used to use there is no comparison! If you need help getting started with YL pls email me. I’m happy to help!

I use 20 drops of each oil. You do not have to use all those oils. 

You can mix and match or buy my Essential Oils for Donkeys book and pick your own combinations out. The book has a section of Essential oils and what they are good for. 

Best Store-Bought Disinfectant

If I buy something from a big horse sale, I use this  Nolvasan because it kills about everything! Virus and bacteria! I don’t want to risk bringing home anything that could infect my donkeys. It’s great for disinfecting just about anything. It’s also good for washing out the trailer after we bring home a new donkey. This bottle also lasts years because you only use a small amount. It’s good stuff to have around. 

How to clean leather tack

I have already done a great article complete with a free recipe for cleaning and restoring leather tack! You can check it out here: Tack Care {Conditioning and Restoring Leather}


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