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Horse health is no joke so you must sign up for the National Equine Health Survey

Horse health is no joke so you must sign up for the National Equine Health Survey

You owe it to your horse to take equine health seriously and that’s why it’s so important to take part in the next National Equine Health Survey (NEHS), which is being held during 21 – 28 May 2018. You can do it online quickly, easy and anonymously so there are no excuses. Visit www.bluecross.org.uk/NEHS now to register and you will receive an email reminder nearer the time. 

NEHS is run by leading charity Blue Cross, in partnership with the British Equine Veterinary Association. It’s a snapshot survey, reflecting the health of the nation’s horses during that specific week and it’s your annual chance to give feedback about the health of your horses, ponies and donkeys so that the most common diseases and problems be identified, prioritised and addressed. 

Over the past seven years NEHS has developed to become one of the UK’s most important endemic disease monitoring initiatives. The data is compared year on year to identify trends and in horse health; the results are regarded as valuable benchmarks for our general knowledge of horse health and are regularly referenced in leading veterinary and equestrian publications and papers. As patterns emerge they are helping us to steer equine awareness, education and research to help keep the nation’s horses healthier. 

Last year 5,235 people in the UK took part in NEHS returning records for a phenomenal 15,433 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. The top five disease syndromes recorded in 2017 were: 

  1. Skin diseases 31.1% compared to 25.5% in 2016 (17.2% in 2015, 18.3% in 2014, 14.6% in 2013 and 15.2% in 2010-12). Sweet itch and mud fever were the most frequently reported individual syndromes within this category and made up 6.1% of all returns (6.8% in 2016).

  2. Lameness (including laminitis) 23.4% compared to 32.9%in 2016, (24.4% in 2015, 21% in 2014, 19.2% in 2013 and 12.9% in 2010-12). Overall, as in previous years, if laminitis is excluded from the analysis, lameness due to problems in the limbs proximal to the foot was more common than problems in the foot.

  3. Metabolic diseases 8.1% with PPID (‘Equine Cushing’s disease’) accounting for 73.4% of this figure, consistent with previous NEHS findings.

  4. Eye problems 7.6% with ocular discharge (weepy eye) accounting for 54.2% of all ocular syndromes recorded.

  5. Gastrointestinal problems 7.5% with gastric ulcers accounting for 39% of this figure and 3% all syndromes recorded (2.7% in 2016).

Blue Cross Education Officer Gemma Taylor said: “This year we are determined to encourage even more people to take part in NEHS. We are planning an amazing social media campaign with some of our equestrian celebrity supporters to help motivate horse owners to sign up. Please do your bit, not just for your horse now but for all horses in the future.” 

Supporters of NEHS include the British Horse Society, Horse Trust, Redwings and the Pony Club. Dodson and Horrell is kindly supporting the initiative by helping Blue Cross cover the costs of running the scheme. 

The next survey is planned for 21-28 May 2018. Visit www.bluecross.org.uk/NEHS or email NEHS@bluecross.org.uk to register. If you take part you will have the chance to win some superb prizes such as Star Lister Clippers, a Lister Adagio Trimmer and some Burford Ariat boots. 

To find out more about Blue Cross’s rescue and rehoming work with horses and ponies visit www.bluecross.org.uk

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