The Blue Cross is calling on horse owners to help protect the health of horses by participating in a survey.
The National Equine Health Survey, run by the Blue Cross in partnership with the British Equine Veterinary Association, first launched in 2010 and gives horses owners the opportunity to give feedback about the health of their horses, ponies and donkeys so that the most common diseases and problems can be identified, prioritised and addressed.
Running annually, this year the survey will run from 22-29th May and can be accessed online.
In 2016, survey records were returned for almost 17,000 horses ponies, donkeys and mules and the six most notable disease syndromes identified (recorded as percentages of those recorded as suffering from health problems) were:
- Lameness 32.9% including laminitis (compared to 24.4% in 2015, 21% in 2014, 19.2% in 2013 and 12.9% in 2010-12).
- Skin diseases (sweet itch, mud fever, rainscald, external parasites, skin tumours and wounds) 25.5% compared to 17.2% in 2015 (18.3% in 2014, 14.6% in 2013 and 15.2% in 2010-12).
- Laminitis 6.8% compared to 6.4% in 2015 (7.1% in 2014, 4.4% in 2013 and 3.6% in 2010-12).
- PPID (‘Equine Cushing’s Disease) 6.6%. This is similar to the high prevalence of PPID reported in 2015 (6.4%) and 2014 (5.6%) and possibly reflects increased surveillance through sponsored testing programmes as opposed to true increases in prevalence from the pre-2014 surveys.
- Recurrent Airway Obstruction 5.6% compared to 6.7% in 2015 (6.9% in 2014, 4.2% in 2013 and 3.6% in 2010-12).
- Back problems 5.5% compared to 7% in 2015 (7.7% in 2014, 5% in 2013 and 3% in 2010-12).
Blue Cross Education Officer Gemma Taylor said: “Please put the date in your diary now and persuade your friends to do the same.
"The more data we can collect from the National Equine Health Survey the more robust our results will be, helping us to steer equine awareness, education and research to keep our horses healthier.”
Supporters of NEHS include the British Horse Society, Horse Trust, Redwings and the Pony Club. Zoetis UK Ltd and Dodson and Horrell are kindly supporting the initiative by helping Blue Cross cover the costs of running the scheme.
By taking part, you'll have the chance to win some amazing prizes such as a pair of Lister Star Clippers and a pair of Burford Ariat Wellington Boots.
To find out more about Blue Cross’s rescue and rehoming work with horses and ponies visit bluecross.org.uk