Horse owners are being urged to take part in the annual National Equine Health Survey (NEHS), which takes place this month (18-25 May).
Run by the Blue Cross in partnership with the British Equine Veterinary Association the survey enables common equine diseases to be identified and addressed.
Equine and veterinary colleges and universities use the data as primary source material for research, training and education.
Last year participation increased threefold with data collected from 11,002 horses, ponies and donkeys in the UK.
The results showed an increase in laminitis compared with previous year’s results.
In 2014 7.1% of horses were affected with the crippling disease compared to 4.4% the previous year. Of these 43% were recorded as first outbreaks, compared to 25% in 2013.
Lameness was identified as the most common syndrome for the second year running.
Nearly one in five (18.5%) of horses were found to be suffering from lameness due to joint disease or other non-foot related problems.
The survey also raised awareness about the rise of Aytpical Myopathy in the UK and incidences are being monitored by UK vets.
Other notable highlights were the doubling of the number of overweight horses and ponies since the previous year.
The survey also revealed that 20% of owners are unaware of the risk of encysted small redworm.
“NEHS is helping us to steer awareness, education and research with the sole purpose of safeguarding the future healthcare of our horses. By giving five minutes of your time to complete the survey you can help make a lifetime of difference,” said Gemma Taylor, education officer at Blue Cross.
The NESA was first launched by The Blue Cross and BEVA in November 2010.
It is the only project of its kind enabling horse owners to give anonymous feedback about the health of their horses, ponies and donkeys.
To take part visit: www.bluecross.org.uk/NEHS or email NEHS@bluecross.or.uk to register.