Police horses step up for national health survey

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Mounted police horses get the once-over for this year's National Equine Health Survey.
Mounted police horses get the once-over for this year’s National Equine Health Survey.

London’s police horses are among those who will be counted in this year’s National Equine Health Survey (NEHS), which uncovers health trends and issues in horses.

The equine team at the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch based in Hyde Park had their teeth, hooves and eyes checked, and their vital statistics recorded for the survey this week, from May 22 to 29.

Results of the survey help build a picture of the health and disease in the UK and define priorities for future research, training and education.

Over the past six years the survey run by Blue Cross, in partnership with the British Equine Veterinary Association, has developed to become one of the UK’s most important endemic disease monitoring initiatives. The results are referenced in leading veterinary and equestrian publications and papers and are regarded as valuable benchmarks for our general knowledge of horse health.

From checking teeth, hooves and eyes, to clambering up stepladders to take the vital statistics of the majestic horses, pet charity Blue Cross joined forces with the celebrated Police Mounted Branch to encourage horse owners to take part in the charity’s National Equine Health Survey (NEHS) this week.
From checking teeth, hooves and eyes, to clambering up stepladders to take the vital statistics of the majestic horses, pet charity Blue Cross joined forces with the Police Mounted Branch to encourage horse owners to take part in the charity’s National Equine Health Survey this week.

Blue Cross Education Officer Gemma Taylor said the charity oped that the police horse participation in the survey would encourage others to follow suit and be ambassadors for horse welfare.

“The more data we can collect from the National Equine Health Survey the more robust our results will be, helping us to steer equine awareness, education and research to keep our nation’s horses healthier.”

Last year survey records were returned for almost 17,000 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules and the six most notable disease syndromes identified.

  1. Lameness 32.9% including laminitis (compared to 24.4% in 2015, 21% in 2014, 19.2% in 2013 and 12.9% in 2010-12).
  2. Skin diseases (sweet itch, mud fever, rainscald, external parasites, skin tumours and wounds) 25.5% compared to 17.2% in 2015 (18.3% in 2014, 14.6% in 2013 and 15.2% in 2010-12).
  3. Laminitis 6.8% compared to 6.4% in 2015 (7.1% in 2014, 4.4% in 2013 and 3.6% in 2010-12).
  4. PPID (‘Equine Cushing’s Disease) 6.6%. This is similar to the high prevalence of PPID reported in 2015 (6.4%) and 2014 (5.6%) and possibly reflects increased surveillance through sponsored testing programmes as opposed to true increases in prevalence from the pre-2014 surveys.
  5. Recurrent Airway Obstruction 5.6% compared to 6.7% in 2015 (6.9% in 2014, 4.2% in 2013 and 3.6% in 2010-12).
  6. Back problems 5.5% compared to 7% in 2015 (7.7% in 2014, 5% in 2013 and 3% in 2010-12).

Take part in the survey.

bluecross.org.uk

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