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Equine Vet J. 2016 Aug 26. doi: 10.1111/evj.12631. [Epub ahead of print]

Risk factors in equine transport-related health problems: A survey of the Australian equine industry.

Author information

  • 1School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Camden, New South Wales, Australia. barbara.padalino@sydney.edu.au.
  • 2Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari, Bari, Italy. barbara.padalino@sydney.edu.au.
  • 3School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia. barbara.padalino@sydney.edu.au.
  • 4School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia.
  • 5School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Camden, New South Wales, Australia.
  • 6Discipline of Biomedical Science, School of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
  • 7DSM Nutritional Products, Animal Nutrition and Health, Columbia, Maryland, USA.
  • 8Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Transportation can affect equine health and is a potential source of economic loss to the industry.

OBJECTIVES:

To identify journey (duration, vehicle, commercial or noncommercial) and horse (sex, age, breed, use, amateur or professional status) characteristics associated with the development of transport-related health problems in horses.

STUDY DESIGN:

Cross-sectional online survey.

METHODS:

An online survey was conducted targeting amateur and professional participants in the Australian equine industry; eligible respondents were required to organise horse movements at least monthly. Respondents provided details of the last case of a transport-related health problem that had affected their horse(s). Associations between type of health problem, journey and horse characteristics were examined with multivariable multinomial regression analysis.

RESULTS:

Based on 214 responses, health problems were classified as injuries, muscular problems, heat stroke, gastrointestinal and respiratory problems, and death or euthanasia. Respiratory problems were reported most frequently (33.7%), followed by gastrointestinal problems (23.8%) and traumatic injuries (16.3%). The type of health problem was associated with journey duration (P<0.001) and horse breed (P = 0.001). Injuries were more likely to occur on short journeys, whereas more severe illnesses (gastrointestinal and respiratory problems, and death or euthanasia) were more likely to occur on long journeys. Using Standardbreds as the reference group, Thoroughbreds, Arabians and Warmbloods were more likely to experience a severe illness than an injury.

MAIN LIMITATIONS:

Self-selected participation in the study and the self-reported nature of transport-related problems.

CONCLUSIONS:

Horses undertaking journeys of longer than 24 h are at greater risk for the development of severe disease or death. Further studies on long-haul transportation effects are required to safeguard the welfare of horses moved over long distances.

KEYWORDS:

horse; illness; journey duration; risk; survey; transportation

PMID:
27564584
DOI:
10.1111/evj.12631
[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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