Sentinel practice-based survey of the management and health of horses in northern Britain
- D. J. Mellor, BVMS, PhD1,
- S. W. J. Reid, BVMS, PhD1,
- S. Love, BVMS, PhD2,
- R. Walker3 and
- G. Gettinby, BSc, DPhil4
- 1 Comparative Epidemiology and Informatics
- 2 Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, University of Glasgow Veterinary School, Bearsden Road, Glasgow G61 lQH
- 3 Warwickshire College, Coventry University, Royal Leamington Spa and Moreton Morrell, Warwick CV35 9BL
- 4 Department of Statistics and Modelling Science, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow GI lXW
- Comparative Epidemiology and Informatics, Department of Statistics and Modelling Science, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow GI lXW
Details of the management, feeding, level of activity and routine health care of horses in Scotland and the five northernmost counties in England were recorded through a stratified random sample of horse owners who had responded to a previous survey. Sixty-eight per cent of the horses were kept where their owners resided, and 32 per cent were kept away from the owner's home. More than 99 per cent were turned out to grazing for at least part of the year and 81 per cent were stabled for at least part of the time, most commonly bedded on straw (50 per cent) or shavings (34 per cent). Hay was fed to 87 per cent, sugar beet pulp to 64 per cent and commercially prepared concentrate mixes to 60 per cent of the horses. Hacking was the most popular activity (52 per cent of horses) followed by riding/pony club events (28 per cent) and showing (21 per cent). The majority of the horses were involved in more than one activity. There were an estimated 0-88 veterinary visits per horse per year and 29 per cent of the horses were reported to suffer from at least one permanent or recurrent health disorder. The median annual numbers of administrations of vaccines (influenza and tetanus) and anthelmintics were one and seven respectively per horse, and each horse was shod a median seven times. There were significant differences in the management of horses kept in different types of premises and in areas of different human population density.
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