Legendary riders have got behind this year’s ‘Temp Check Challenge’ as part of Strangles Awareness Week next month (1-7 May).

Five-star eventer Piggy March, top dressage rider Richard Davison and international showjumper Joe Davison are encouraging horse owners to take part.

The Temp Check Challenge is the key feature of the campaign – now in its fourth year – which aims to make regular temperature checking a habit to minimise the scale and impact of a strangles outbreak, which can be financially and emotionally costly.

The challenge encourages owners to take their horse’s resting temperature each day during the week and input it into a free online checker. Those who input the reading three or more times during the week will be entered into a prize draw where they could win behind the scenes yard tours with either Piggy or Richard and Joe.

Protect your horses

A high temperature is the most common early sign of infectious disease and, in the case of Strangles, typically comes 2-3 days before horses shed the bacteria and can infect other horses. Getting to know your horse’s normal temperature and checking regularly – especially if they move and mix with others – could give owners and yards the chance to prevent disease spreading and be the difference between one infected horse or many.

Strangles is the most diagnosed equine infectious disease worldwide. Symptoms of the contagious respiratory illness range, but include a high fever, laboured breathing, difficulty eating, depression, thick nasal discharge and painful abscesses. In severe cases Strangles can pose a risk to the horse’s life. There can be complications in up to 30% of cases and it is impossible to predict which horses will require extra care and treatment. For the cost of a thermometer and spotting fever, owners can minimise scale and spread of an outbreak.

‘It can be so devastating’

“I’m very happy to be supporting this important campaign again this year and do my part in raising awareness of the threat of strangles, which can be so devastating for a yard or equestrian business, cause very nasty complications in some horses and, in the worst cases, the loss of life,” said Piggy. “Taking your horse’s temperature is so easy when you know how – just take a look at my ‘how to’ video with Swiss Roll. I want to urge everyone to take the Temp Check Challenge during Strangles Awareness Week and get into the habit of using this simple procedure to keep an eye on your horse’s health.”

Richard said wellbeing his horses is top priority, and he found “it really does pay” to use routine temperature checking.

“I know it’s another job to do when time is short but a change in temperature can alert you to the horse’s internal immune system starting to kick-in before anything is obvious on the outside,” he said. “That’s why I am supporting Strangles Awareness Week. Join me in taking the Temp Check Challenge each day for a week. All of us need to be on the lookout for early signs of Strangles – it’s such a worrying disease. Please spread the word and why not get your friends to enter for a chance to visit us for a tour around our competition yard and watch some training? Looking forward to welcoming you here.”

For more information about Strangles Awareness Week 2023, visit Redwings’ Facebook page or www.redwings.org.uk/strangles/strangles-awareness-week

Lead image by digishots

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