Emergency Conditions in Horses: Opinions and Decision Making of Livery Yard Owners

Published:

2019-05-03

DOI

https://doi.org/10.18849/ve.v4i2.199

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate equine livery yard owners’ opinions of emergency conditions, and to identify factors influencing emergency decision making in the horse.

Background: There is limited data on horse owners’ opinions and decision making in emergency conditions.

Evidentiary value: An online questionnaire was distributed to UK livery yard owners accredited with the British Horse Society. There were 104 survey participants, who represented experienced owners with responsibility for care of a number of horses.

Methods: The questionnaire consisted of open and closed questions on participants’ demographics, their experiences and opinions of the most common equine emergency conditions, and emergency decision making. Descriptive data analysis included frequency ranking and categorisation of free text responses.

Results: The majority of respondents had kept horses for more than 10 years (97%), and reported previous experience of emergency conditions (99%), predominantly colic (96%) and wounds (92%). Participants considered that the most common emergency conditions were colic (98%), wounds (49%) and fractures (22%), and the most concerning conditions were colic (94%), lameness (36%) and wounds (21%). Factors believed to be important in emergency decision making were: degree of pain, likelihood of condition resolving, and severity of disease.

Conclusion: This study highlights the importance of colic and wounds as emergency conditions in the horse, and describes factors considered important in emergency decision making.

Application: The outcomes identify where research and clinical resources should be targeted to improve emergency care for horses. The results were used to inform a survey of the wider horse population.


Open Access Peer Reviewed

References

Archer, D. C. 2004. Decision making in the management of the colicky horse. In Practice, 26, 378–385. DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/inpract.26.7.378

Freeman, S. & Issaoui, l. 2013. Code red for colic: Decision-making for acute abdominal pain in the horse. Equine Veterinary Education, 25, 245–246. DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/eve.12025

Ireland, J. L., Clegg, P. D., McGowan, C. M., Duncan, J. S., McCall, S., Platt, l. & Pinchbeck, G. L. 2011. Owners' perceptions of quality of life in geriatric horses: A cross-sectional study. Animal Welfare, 20, 483–495. DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-3306.2010.00142.x

Ireland, J. L., Wylie, C. E., Collins, S. N., Verheyen, K. L. P. & Newton, J. R. 2013. Preventive health care and owner-reported disease prevalence of horses and ponies in Great Britain. Research in Veterinary Science, 95, 418–424. DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2013.05.007

Loomans, J. B. A., Stolk, P. W. T., Van Weeren, P. R., Vaarkamp, H. & Barneveld, A. 2007. A survey of the workload and clinical skills in current equine practices in The Netherlands. Equine Veterinary Education, 19, 162–168. DOI https://doi.org/10.2746/095777307X186875

Murray, J.-A. M. D., Bloxham, C., Kulifay, J., Stevenson, A. & Roberts, J. 2015. Equine Nutrition: A Survey of Perceptions and Practices of Horse Owners Undertaking a Massive Open Online Course in Equine Nutrition. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 35, 510–517. DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2015.02.005

Nielsen, T. D., Dean, R. S., Robinson, N. J., Massey, A. & Brennan, M. L. 2014. Survey of the UK veterinary profession: common species and conditions nominated by veterinarians in practice. Veterinary Record, 174(13), 324. DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vr.101745

Scantlebury, C. E., Archer, D. C., Proudman, C. J. & Pinchbeck, G. L. 2011. Recurrent colic in the horse: Incidence and risk factors for recurrence in the general practice population. Equine Veterinary Journal, 43, 81–88. DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-3306.2011.00383.x

Scantlebury, C. E., Perkins, E., Pinchbeck, G. L., Archer, D. C. & Christley, R. M. 2014. Could it be colic? Horse-owner decision making and practices in response to equine colic. BMC Veterinary Research, 10. DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-6148-10-S1-S1

Slater, J. 2017. National Equine Health Survey (NEHS). Available: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/NEHS%202017%20results.pdf [Accessed: 21/11/2017]

Southwood, l. L., Dolente, B. A., Lindborg, S., Russell, G. & Boston, R. 2009. Short-term outcome of equine emergency admissions at a university referral hospital. Equine Veterinary Journal, 41, 459–464. DOI https://doi.org/10.2746/042516409X385823

Traub-Dargatz, J. L., Salman, M. D. & Voss, J. L. 1991. Medical problems of adult horses, as ranked by equine practitioners. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 198, 1745–7.

Viljoen, A., Saulez, M. N., Donnellan, C. M., Bester, l. & Gummow, B. 2009. After-hours equine emergency admissions at a university referral hospital (1998-2007): Causes and interventions. Journal of the South African Veterinary Association, 80, 169–173.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1,806

Save

2,050

View