Published: 05/02/2016 16:52:24
Horse owners urged to mark National CARE Day (10 Feb) by sharing vital information with national equine study
Debilitating equine disease, laminitis, can affect any horse regardless of age, size or breed. As part of National CARE Day (10 Feb) people who own horses are asked to report data from their horses to help this national study.
Equine laminitis is a complex disease which affects the structure and correct function of the horse’s foot, resulting in debilitating pain. PhD student Dee Pollard reports, “Equine laminitis is ranked as one of the top health concerns by both owners and vets. Most horse owners will have either had experience of laminitis themselves or will know of someone who has. Laminitis is a major welfare concern because affected horses are much more likely to have multiple recurrent episodes, which can be life-threatening. Despite this, a knowledge gap still exists regarding the true frequency of this condition in Britain, as well as how to best prevent it.”
The CARE study, undertaken by the Animal Health Trust and Royal Veterinary College, funded by World Horse Welfare and supported by Rossdales Equine Hospital, aims to help unite the equine community to shed light on laminitis. And, on National CARE Day, Dee is asking all horse owners to get involved: “We need a collaborative effort by all horse owners, professionals and researchers to both raise awareness about laminitis and, in time, to help make early recognition of laminitis less deceptive.
“On National CARE Day we are calling on everyone who loves horses to join us in sharing our images and video on their website and social media, encouraging all of their horse-owning friends and supporters to register for CARE.”
CARE is the first and largest web-based equine study in Britain. Its mission is to determine how common laminitis is and which equine lifestyle factors affect its development by asking CARE members to submit regular information about their equines’ health and management online. Participation is open to all types, ages, sizes and breeds of horses/ponies, whether or not they have ever had laminitis.
Owners of almost 1,500 horses and ponies have signed up to CARE already, but a further 1,000 are needed. Their contribution will improve the welfare of horses throughout Britain and help us stop laminitis taking control. To get involved and sign up today visit www.careaboutlaminitis.org.uk
To view the CARE Day video visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekzKQ7NqsoE
Shamrock has never had laminitis, but that hasn’t stopped his owner Gail from registering him for the CARE study. “I think laminitis is something that every owner should be concerned about. The fact that it can strike any horse, at any age, at any time means that the more we can try and minimise the risks, the better.
The study encourages me to keep a close eye on Shamrock’s condition. It’s very easy when you have a retired pony in a field and are seeing them twice a day to not be aware of small changes in their health. Measuring him and looking at the results carefully makes me more aware of his weight and how well he’s maintaining his condition. Just because your horse has never had laminitis, it doesn’t mean it won’t ever get it.
If you’ve got a horse, please get involved. It’s very straightforward, it helps you look after your horses and it benefits the wider community of horse owners, including yourself. The sad thing is that however well you think you’re looking after your horse, it can still get laminitis.”
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