Equine vets have one of the highest injury risks of all civilian professions. To help address this serious issue the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has launched a campaign to help horse owners make life safer for their horses, themselves and their vets. Don’t Break Your Vet comprises a series of short videos, featuring vet and equine behaviourist Gemma Pearson, providing quick and simple ways of teaching horses to be quiet, relaxed and safe for injections, clipping, worming, examinations and other veterinary procedures. The campaign is supported by some of the UK’s leading riders and competition grooms. You can watch the videos here.
According to a paper recently published in the journal Equine Veterinary Education an average equine vet may expect to sustain between seven and eight work-related injuries that impede them from practicing, during a 30-year working life.1 This is far a higher figure than other civilian occupations such as the construction industry, prison service and the fire brigade. Bruising, fracture and laceration to the leg or the head were the most common injuries reported with the main cause being a kick with a hind limb. Nearly a quarter of these reported injuries required hospital admission and 7% resulted in loss of consciousness.
“Many accidents occur when vets are trying to work with horses who have learnt to avoid examination or treatment,” said David Mountford, CEO at BEVA. “This is dangerous for the vet and the handler but it also often results in a stressed horse and can increase the time and/or cost of reaching a diagnosis or treating an injury. Gemma’s amazing videos show how a little preparation can have a big impact on horse, owner and vet safety.”
David Catlow, Blue Cross director of clinical services, commented: “These videos are a superb resource to help with behaviour training in horses and to help them remain calm and manageable in all sorts of circumstances. Time spent on behaviour training of horses, using positive reinforcement methods such as these, is time well spent for everyone’s safety. Blue Cross invests a great deal of time in behaviour training on the horses we rehome, and it works.”
The seven practical videos cover how to train and prepare your horse for:
Learning to stand still
Leading and trotting up
“Vets should be able to focus on the horse’s injury or illness without worrying about their own, or others’, safety,” explained David. “They will be better able to use the right tools and techniques for an accurate diagnosis and treatment if the horse is presented calmly and safely.”
You can watch the videos here.