Horse owners are invited to take part in the National Equine Health Survey, during the week beginning 15 November, to help improve the health of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules in the UK.

The annual online survey takes five minutes to complete and its goal is to help build a clearer picture of the spread of non-infectious and common UK equine health problems, such as coughs, skin diseases and lameness.

The Blue Cross is running the survey and analysing results in partnership with the British Equine Veterinary Association and Josh Slater, professor of equine clinical studies at The Royal Veterinary College.

It is part of the National Equine Welfare Council’s 10-year strategy to improve horse welfare in the UK, which runs to 2017.

Kerry Doyle, education officer at The Blue Cross said: “Currently disease surveillance is based around exotic diseases such as African Horse Sickness and West Nile Virus, and some non-exotic infections like influenza. This leaves a gap in our knowledge about other more common health problems faced by the UK horse population.”

The National Equine Health Survey needs to be completed on any one day during the week of 15 – 21 November 2010. Details of all horse owners will remain anonymous.

To register, visit www.bluecross.org.uk/NEHS or email NEHS@bluecross.org.uk.