H&H readers are being urged to take part in the 2016 National Equine Health Survey (NEHS), which is open this week (23-30 May).
“At least” 2,000 more responses are needed, say organisers, who have encouraged anyone who “cares about horse health” to make this year’s study the most successful yet.
The project is run by charity the Blue Cross in partnership with the British Equine Veterinary Association.
It enables horse owners to give anonymous feedback about the health of their equines.
Last year, survey records were returned for 15,000 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.
A quarter of the horses concerned were recorded as overweight, continuing the upward trend shown in previous years.
Lameness was found to be the most common disease syndrome for the third year running. As a result it is being explored in more depth in this year’s study.
The other five most most notable disease syndromes in 2015 were: skin diseases including sweet itch, mud fever and external parasities (17.2%), back problems (7%), recurrent airway obstruction (6.7%), laminitis (6.4%) and PPID or equine cushing’s disease (6.4%).
The survey also showed that lameness is three times more likely to be caused by conditions such as osteoarthritis rather than foot problems.
The results of the surveys will be used in leading veterinary and equestrian publications as benchmarks for general knowledge of horse health.
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“We have already had more than 3,000 responses to the survey but we need at least 2,000 more to make our results more robust than ever this year,” said Gemma Taylor, education officer at the Blue Cross.
“If you care about horse health you must help us by joining in to make the 2016 survey the most successful yet,” she added.
The survey closes at 9am on Monday 30 May. Owners can take part by clicking here or sending an email to NEHS@bluecross.org.uk