The results of the 2018 National Equine Health Survey (NEHS) have been published. This is the eighth and final annual survey, which provides a clear sense of what continues to affect the health of British horses, helping equine specialists to identify current and predicted equine health priorities. The results are consistent with those from previous years.
Gemma Taylor, Education Officer at Blue Cross said: “Thanks to the loyal support of the UK’s horse, pony, mule and donkey owners and keepers, NEHS has achieved more than we ever imagined over the past eight years.”
As a snapshot survey at community level NEHS has looked at the prevalence of the same disease syndromes during the same week of May every year. It has relied on the participation of thousands of UK horse owners and keepers and is the first time anyone has obtained data about what really affects the UK’s horses from a community perspective.
The information generated by NEHS has helped pinpoint trends in endemic equine diseases. The results are regularly referenced by vets and researchers as benchmarks for our general knowledge of horse health. The emerging patterns are now helping to steer equine awareness, education and research to help keep the nation’s horses healthier.
As in previous years, the survey was led by animal welfare charity, the Blue Cross. It was conducted on-line and was open to respondents to complete for one week. The survey used the same format as previous years with owners reporting problems that were present in each horse under their care on the day they chose to complete the survey. The 2018 survey used the same broad disease syndrome categories to allow comparison with previous years.
This year a total of 5529 people took part and returned records for 13,873 horses.
The results enable an initial breakdown into general disease syndromes and then a further breakdown into individual diseases. In each case the 2018 results for both were similar to previous years:
No health problems were reported for 62% of horses; one or more problems were reported in 38%. Skin disease (including wounds and external parasites) was the most frequent general disease syndrome. It accounted for one third of all problems reported, nearly half of which were attributed to sweet itch and mud fever. Lameness, including laminitis, accounted for 29% of all problems reported. Other than skin diseases, the most frequently reported general syndromes were metabolic diseases (7.4%), respiratory disease (7.1%), gastrointestinal conditions (6.6%) and eye problems (6.25%).
Full details are available from the Blue Cross. See: