Pain survey aims to help improve equine medical care


A survey of US horse owners is under way to help improve the understanding of pain management in equines. 

A team of researchers at Washington State University is trying to better understand the factors that influence the discussion and decisions related to pain management in horses with a primary goal of improving medical care for horses. Equine medicine professor Dr Debra Sellon is leading the researchers, along with Dr Debora Mattei.

Dr Debra Sellon
Dr Debra Sellon, director of WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital

The team is also distributing a similar survey to equine veterinarians. Responses will be analysed and the answers compared between owners and veterinarians to better understand how pain management
decisions are made for horses.

“The primary purpose of this survey, and an accompanying survey for equine veterinarians, is to develop a deeper understanding of the factors that influence attitudes and beliefs about pain management in order to improve communication between veterinarians and horse owners for the benefit of the horse,” Sellon said.

The survey is open to horse owners over the age of 18 who own at least one horse, and individuals such as a trainer/manager and who make primary health care decisions for at least one horse.  It will take 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

Those taking part will be asked questions about their attitudes, beliefs, and practices related to pain management in horses. It will also describe horses with injuries or that have undergone various types of
surgeries and ask respondents to estimate how painful they think those injuries are.

Financial support for the research has been provided by Zoetis Animal Health.

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