For the first stage of the project, they require 1,000 owners of equines to complete a detailed questionnaire and are asking veterinary practices to support them in recruiting them by promoting their research study, called Protection through Partnership, to clients and encouraging them to participate.
CVS runs 16 equine practices across the UK. Mr Simon Knapp, Clinical Director at Scott Dunn’s Equine Clinic, said: “The risk of infectious disease is increasing due to the international transport of horses and is still not well understood by many owners. Biosecurity and management practices within the equine population need to be highlighted and developed to help prevent disease spread through the local population. We think this is an excellent initiative and will be promoting it on our websites, through social media and at our open evenings during September.”
The study is being conducted by veterinary surgeon Dr Caroline Hodgkinson during her PhD research, who added: “The first stage of the study requires owners of horses, ponies and donkeys to complete a detailed questionnaire about their management practices and yard environment, as well as their own experience of infectious disease control.
“The welfare of horses, ponies and donkeys across Britain is constantly being compromised by infectious diseases such as Strangles, Influenza and Equine Herpes Virus, which are highly prevalent. The threat of exotic infectious diseases entering Britain is also a significant concern for the health and welfare of our equines.
“We recognise that some current published advice can seem complicated to follow and is not always realistic for individual equestrian premises and owners to undertake. Once we have completed the study, we will be working to improve the accessibility of guidelines available for horse owners to ensure that they are practical, effective and able to be tailored to individual requirements.
“We’re grateful for the support of the 16 CVS practices which will give us a big boost and we hope that the results of this research study will help owners to protect their horses and to reduce the threat posed to their animals by these diseases.”
Information on the project is available at: http://www.aht.org.uk/protectionthroughpartnership