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Strip grazing helps keep horses in shape, study finds

Strip grazing helps keep horses in shape, study finds

‘Significantly lower bodyweight gains’ for ponies with gradual access to pasture

New research into different equine grazing practices has shown that strip grazing could be a useful tool in restricting weight gain in horses.

The study was conducted by Annette Longland of Equine and Livestock Nutrition Services (ELNS) in Wales, in collaboration with equine feed manufacturer Spillers via the Waltham Equine Studies Group. It aimed to compare the effectiveness of three restricted grazing practices on equine bodyweight management during the UK grass growing season.

For the study, three groups of four ponies that had been equally matched for weight, height, and body condition score, were placed in paddocks with a herbage yield equivalent to 1.5 per cent (dry weight) of the ponies’ body weight per day for 28 days.

The groups were allocated one of three grazing practices:

  • no other restriction
  • a lead fence placed across the width of the paddock, allowing access to fresh grass by moving it 1/28th of the paddock length each day
  • strip grazed with both a lead and a back fence, with the back fence being moved the same distance as the lead fence daily.

Every week the ponies were weighed and had their body condition scored. For ponies without any grazing restriction bodyweight gains were substantially higher, but there was minimal difference in weight gain for those with the lead fence and those with both a lead and back fence.

“The ponies with gradual access to pasture via strip grazing had significantly lower bodyweight gains than their counterparts who were allowed free access to the entire 28-day herbage allocation,” said Clare Barfoot, marketing and research and development director at Spillers.

“If you are planning on turning your horse out to grass during this current (COVID-19) situation or at any other time it’s certainly worth considering installing a strip grazing fence and moving it once a day.”

Veterinary workshop seeks to improve safety in horse racing

Veterinary workshop seeks to improve safety in horse racing

Discussions to inform pre-race risk assessments

In a two-day collaborative workshop, veterinary professionals and racing industry stakeholders met to discuss current and potential technologies used in pre-empting injuries to the racehorse fetlock. These injuries are thankfully rare, but can still be extremely impactful and potentially career-ending for some injured horses.

The first day of the workshop saw the meeting of a panel of veterinary professionals, who reviewed existing knowledge on the use of diagnostic imaging in risk reduction, as well as discussing the potential of advanced imaging such as MRI, standing CT and PET scanning to identify pathology even earlier.

The panel also assessed how best to generate research evidence which would advance the adoption of these novel technologies in effective pre-race risk assessment programmes.

On the second day of the workshop, a larger group of stakeholders reviewed the previous day’s conclusions and acknowledged the need for greater education, collaboration and transparency among racing industry stakeholders in order to uphold and advance racehorse safety and welfare.

Prof Celia Marr, editor of Equine Veterinary Journal, who chaired the meeting said: “Racing has an excellent safety record and the injuries we are talking about are extremely rare. The low prevalence of fetlock injury makes it very difficult to pinpoint the affected individuals. But it is essential that we continue our efforts to do so ever more effectively because if silent injury is not detected it can progress to become much more serious.”

Pete Ramzan, partner at Rossdales LLP, who co-ordinated the workshop said: “There was a great need to get some of the key experts leading these new technologies together in the same room to correlate their findings and work out how to translate them into tangible reductions in serious injury rates.

"One of the somewhat unexpected outcomes of the discussions was that despite the fact that we are riding the crest of a wave of technological advances, basic radiography still has much to offer; better education around the application and interpretation of radiographs has real potential to allow vets like myself at the coal face to detect injuries at an early and recoverable stage."

Image (c) Dr P. Ramzan, Rossdales LLP.

New initiative to help vets take action against strangles

New initiative to help vets take action against strangles

Alliance aims to end stigma around infection

A new online pledge, launched today at the National Equine Forum, will allow veterinary surgeons and professionals who work with horses to show their commitment to tackling the stigma that surrounds strangles.

The Vets & Professionals Pledge is a voluntary commitment to normalising discussion of strangles with clients and directing them to further advice and guidance. As well as emphasising the importance of biosecurity and good hygiene practices.

This joins the other existing pledges for yard managers and horse owners, launched by Redwings Horse Sanctuary in November 2018, which now have over 1,080 sign-ups.

Those who pledge will receive:

  • a certificate in recognition of their support
  • regular emails offering support and guidance on maintaining their pledge
  • research and information on the disease and its outbreaks
  • relevant announcements from other strangles-related initiatives in the UK.

Andie Vilela, Redwings Horse Sanctuary’s campaigns manager, said: “We know that when horse owners want advice about Strangles, they often look towards a vet or a trusted professional. With the launch of this new Pledge, we hope to provide them with the additional tools they need to give that vital support for their clients and maximise their influence to prompt more conversations around biosecurity so we can tackle this disabling stigma.”

The launch of the pledge coincides with the announcement of Strangles Awareness Week – a new national week of action created by multiple equine-focused organisations including Redwings Horse Sanctuary, the Animal Health Trust, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the British Horse Society.

Strangles Awareness Week will take place from 4-10 May 2020 and will encourage owners and professionals to share their knowledge and experiences through a series of online activities and events.

For further information about either the pledges or Strangles Awareness Week, please visit the Stamp Out Strangles webpage.

Study provides solutions to staffing crisis in UK horse racing

Study provides solutions to staffing crisis in UK horse racing

Lack of training and increased hours cited as key issues

An in-depth study carried out by Hartpury University, in collaboration with the British Racing School, has revealed multiple problem areas in the UK horse racing industry which have contributed to the current staffing crisis.

The study asked 30 participants – made up of junior and senior racing staff and racehorse trainers – to provide their views and opinions on why the industry is having problems. The aim of the study was to investigate these issues, and form strategies to address them.

Major concerns included a lack of management training for senior staff, difficulties in maintaining a work-life balance and the departure of employees aged 25 and over.

An increase in race fixtures, low wages, lack of career progression and perceived generational differences in work ethic were also cited highlighted as having an impact on employee retention.

“The British Horse racing Industry has been experiencing a labour shortage since the 1970s,” said Elizabeth Juckes, who led the study as part of a postgraduate dissertation towards a masters degree in Equine Science.

“Despite recent improvement reported in staff retainment, there is still significantly high reported staff turnover compared to other sectors, and trainers experience challenges with recruiting qualified and experienced staff.”

The study suggested that by implementing improved management training schemes and reducing race-day fixtures, senior staff members would be better supported in their roles, day-to-day pressure would be reduced and job satisfaction could be improved for all staff.

Ms Juckes continued: “Whilst retention will remain an issue for the racing industry in the short term, an opportunity exists for the racing industry to consult with all stakeholders to formulate and implement a strategic plan to address the underpinning themes identified by the study to improve the long-term perspective and safeguard the future of racing and the staff who work within it.”

Image (c) Hartpury University.

Horse riders invited to take part in Medical Detection Dogs fundraiser

Horse riders invited to take part in Medical Detection Dogs fundraiser

Sponsorships will fund charity’s vital work

Horse riders from around the UK are being encouraged to part in Canter for a Cure this summer, to raise funds for the charity Medical Detection Dogs.

The annual event will be taking place at the Milton Keynes Eventing Centre in Buckinghamshire on Saturday 27 June. The 12-mile course will take riders across scenic countryside and bridleways, ending with a series of optional jumps including a water complex.

All sponsorship money raised by participants will go towards Medical Detection Dogs, which trains both bio detection dogs and medical alert assistance dogs.

Bio detection dogs can detect a variety of diseases, such as cancer, malaria and Parkinson’s. This research could help scientists and medical professionals to develop faster, cheaper, non-invasive methods of diagnosis.

Medical alert assistance dogs support people with complex health conditions such as Type one diabetes, PoTS and severe allergies – warning them when a potentially life-threatening episode is nearby and helping them to take preventative measures sooner.

According to Medical Detection Dogs, it takes £29,000 to train each of these dogs and the charity receives no government funding, relying entirely on donations and fundraising.

Claire Guest, CEO of Medical Detection Dogs and a keen horse rider, said: “We are so thankful to run this event as it’s a brilliant way to bring two sets of animal lovers together that fit so naturally.

“The money raised makes a real difference to our world-leading research and helps us continue to train dogs to use their incredible noses to detect a list of conditions and diseases that is growing all the time. Their potential is endless.”

For more information, visit the Medical Detection Dogs website.

Image (c) Medical Detection Dogs.


Equine inhaler receives marketing authorisation

Equine inhaler receives marketing authorisation

Aservo Equihaler® will be available for EU distribution in 2020

A novel equine inhaler set to benefit horses suffering from severe equine asthma has been granted marketing approval by the European Commission.

Marking an industry-first in equine medicine, the Aservo Equihaler® is the culmination of more than a decade of collaboration between Boehringer Ingelheim’s human pharma and animal health R&D groups. It is expected to be available for veterinary surgeons in the EU in 2020.

The inhaler incorporates a unique Soft Mist Technology®, found in the human Respimat® inhaler. This allows the active ingredient - ciclesonide - to be inhaled deep into the lung, thereby reducing the risk of lower airway inflammation.

Designed specifically for horses, the inhaler also features an ergonomic handle, dosing lever for ease of handling and a nostril adaptor that fits inside the nostril of the horse to allow for easy inhalation.

Erich Schoett, global business head of equine for the Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Business Unit, said: “Treating severe equine asthma can be challenging for veterinarians and horse owners, who struggle to find safe and effective ways to help horses breathe.

“Bringing a new, safe and effective treatment to the market is something that we can really be proud of. It is a strong indicator of the commitment that Boehringer Ingelheim has to the health and welfare of horses, and to the investment that we make into continuing to advance therapies through collaboration and innovation.”

New guidelines on the safe use of analgesia in horses

New guidelines on the safe use of analgesia in horses

Recommendations aimed at equine primary care in an ambulatory setting

Clinical guidelines for primary care vets on the safe use of analgesia in horses have been published in the January issue of the Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ).

The guidelines have been produced by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and can be downloaded at https://beva.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/evj.13198

In human medicine, clinical guidelines are standard practice and have proven to influence clinical decision making in clinical settings. BEVA’s set of clinical guidelines are the first to be aimed at equine primary care in an ambulatory setting.

Animal wefare can be significantly affected by pain and analgesia is considered to be key in helping to alleviate it. Put together by a panel combining clinicians and analgesia researchers, the guidelines summarise current evidence and combine it with expert opinion to provide best practice advice on common scenarios.

Key recommendations include:
  • Horses undergoing routine castration should receive intratesticular local anaesthesia irrespective of methods adopted and horses should receive NSAIDs before surgery. Butorphanol and buprenorphine should not be considered appropriate as sole analgesics for such procedures and analgesia should be continued for three days following castration.
  • For hoof pain/laminitis phenylbutazone provided superior analgesia to meloxicam and firocoxib but enhanced efficacy has not been demonstrated for joint pain.
  • In horses with colic, flunixin and firocoxib are considered to provide more effective analgesia than meloxicam or phenylbutazone.
  • A single properly validated composite pain score for horses should be developed, to allow accurate comparisons between medications in a robust manner.
“Given the risk of adverse events of all classes of analgesic, these agents should be used only under the control of a veterinary surgeon,” explained Professor Mark Bowen, lead author of the guidelines. “The horse must have been fully evaluated and the vet must have devised a therapeutic, analgesic plan that includes ongoing monitoring for such adverse events such as the development of right dorsal colitis with all classes of NSAID and spontaneous locomotor activity and potentially ileus with opiates.”

EVJ editor Professor Celia Marr added: “The BEVA primary care clinical guidelines provide up-to-date clarity on the fundamental aspects of equine pain management for the clinician and are essential reading for all those in first opinion ambulatory roles.”

Injectable omeprazole 'can be used within rules', BHA confirms

Injectable omeprazole 'can be used within rules', BHA confirms

Vets had been previously advised against using the drug owing to traces of testosterone

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced that injectable omeprazole, manufactured by Bova UK, can now be used in racehorses ‘within rules’.

Veterinary professionals had previously been advised against possessing, using or administering the drug in racehorses after small traces of testosterone were discovered in a batch of the product last year.

Although independent experts said there could be no adverse effects on equine health or equestrian sport, BOVA took immediate action to identify and eliminate the ingredient that contained the testosterone.

In September 2019, the product was declared free of testosterone and has since continued to be used in Australian racehorses after guidance from Racing NSW. Tests on multiple samples of injectable omeprazole ahead of sale have also since demonstrated the product to be free of testosterone. 

Dr Mike Hewetson from the Royal Veterinary College explained: “Long-acting injectable omeprazole has become an important treatment option for horses with gastric disease, particularly those affected by glandular gastric disease.”

A recent blind clinical trial of Bova’s injectable omeprazole found that healing rates for both glandular and squamous gastric disease were four times higher with injectable omeprazole than with a registered oral product.

Traffic light scheme to tackle equine obesity

Traffic light scheme to tackle equine obesity

Scheme designed to spark positive discussions with owners

A pilot scheme that uses a colour-code system of vaccination reminders has been launched by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) in a bid to tackle equine obesity.

The scheme utilises a traffic light system in the form of reminder stickers, which vets can place on the front of passports at each vaccination appointment. If the scheme proves a success, it will be rolled out in the summer to the whole of the UK.

Despite the best efforts of vets to address the issue, obesity is one of the biggest problems facing equine welfare in the UK. Many owners are either not recognising obesity in their horses, or are subsequently not being motivated to take action.

To help tackle this problem, BEVA harnessed knowledge gained from the government-owned Behavioural Insights Team on how best to positively engage with horse owners. They came up with a simple, practical scheme that utilises the routine annual or six-monthly vaccination visit to assess a horse’s body condition.

The sticker scheme is designed to remind horse owners when the next vaccination is due and to provide information about their animal’s weight. A ‘healthy’ body condition is indicated by a green sticker. Amber indicates the horse is carrying too much fat tissue and needs moderate changes to its lifestyle. Red shows the horse is carrying excessive amounts of weight which is putting the horse in morbid danger.

The idea of the scheme is to spark a discussion with the owner about their horse’s weight and how any potential issues can be addressed. If time does not allow for a full discussion, the owner can simply scan the sticker with a smartphone to access information on the matter in their own time. 

“The first challenge is helping owners recognise when their horse is overweight. Once this has been established then we can make a plan to correct the problem as a team,” explains Lucy Grieve, president-elect of BEVA and part of the association’s obesity campaign working group.

“The owner needs to be on board and committed in order to carry out the tough task of reducing the weight of their horse. We hope that owners will be ‘nudged’ by the sticker intervention to consider the information they have been offered and start to tackle the problem before it causes life-threatening disease.”

Nine equine veterinary practices are taking part in the scheme, including Loch Leven Equine Practice in Kinross. Managing director Liz Somerville said:

“We have been focusing on equine obesity for the last couple of years including running a #FitnotFat campaign last year to try to highlight the growing obesity problem in our horses. Unfortunately, it sometimes feels that we are banging our heads against a brick wall so when BEVA came up with a new approach to try and get the message through to our owners it was too good an opportunity to miss.”

After six months, vets involved in the scheme will be asked how they felt it worked, what proportion of owners used the QR codes, and how many owners sought their advice after viewing the information online. Success will be measured by assessing whether the stickers resulted in more owners recognising their horse is overweight, not by the number of kilograms lost.

“Hopefully we’ll see some success from the pilot and using the feedback we receive we will then make changes as required before rolling the project out across the membership,” said Lucy.

Image (C) BEVA.

Guides to help horse owners 'cut costs not care'

Guides to help horse owners 'cut costs not care'

Guides aim to help owners make the decision to keep their horse

Equine charity members of the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) have teamed up to produce two practical guides: one to help horse owners to find ways to cut costs without compromising on the care of their animal, and another on making the difficult decision to re-home a horse.

The guides have been launched in response to a rise in calls equine charities are receiving from owners seeking new homes for their animals. With more than one million horses and donkeys living in the UK, the charitable sector has limited space available and says it must prioritise welfare and reduce cases.

Nic De Brauwere, chairman of NEWC, said: “Of course we want to be able to help every horse. But with limited funds and resources available we have to prioritise on those in greatest need.

“By showing how outgoings can be reduced without compromising on the horse’s quality of life we aim to help owners in making the decision to keep their horse and help prevent inadvertent neglect or abandonment. Otherwise, we can help them safely navigate the rehoming route.”

The ‘cut costs not care’ guide is aimed at owners who are considering rehoming their horses because they can no longer afford to keep them. It suggests where sufficient savings may be made to help them keep their horse without making any compromise on health or welfare.

NEWC’s ‘Rehome responsibly’ guide helps horse owners consider the options whether selling, loaning or retiring. It also discusses euthanasia in cases where quality of life is diminishing and rehoming solutions are not appropriate.

Nic continued: “We hope the guides will provide support for horse owners who are facing tough decisions this winter, to help to keep more horses and ponies well cared for and secure.” 

To download the guides, visit www.newc.co.uk

AHT launches novel strangles resource

AHT launches novel strangles resource

Website provides the latest updates on this common disease

A new website that allows vets, horse owners and paraprofessionals to share information about strangles has been launched by the Animal Health Trust (AHT).

Developed by the AHT’s Surveillance of Equine Strangles scheme, the resource contains up-to-date information on diagnoses of the disease across the UK.

Researchers hope the website will become key for people owning and working with horses, as well as those travelling to areas which have seen higher rates of diagnoses of strangles.

“This new website provides comprehensive insights about the disease in a very up-to-date manner in a way that has never been available before,’ commented Dr Richard Newton, director of Disease Surveillance and Epidemiology at the Animal Health Trust.

“However, the resource is only as useful as the data supplied from vets on the ground. I would urge colleagues to help us to keep this resource as up-to-date and comprehensive as possible by completing full details on submission forms being sent to any laboratory, so this information can contribute – anonymously – to the national picture of strangles.”

The website contains an interactive map, highlighting regions where strangles cases have been confirmed, together with demographics of hoses being confirmed with infection.

Users can zone in on the information that is relevant to them, as well as view stats based on the geography of veterinary practices making diagnoses. They can also use the tool to highlight seasonal trends and view the most important clinical signs.

The AHT aims to expand the website to include international data on strangles, which could subsequently lead to new strategies on how to improve the disease in other parts of the world.

“Our aim with the Surveillance of Equine Strangles scheme is to reduce the spread of the disease,” explained Abbi McGlennon, PhD student at the Animal Health Trust, who led the development of the resource.

“This website is one of the first key tools to emerge from the larger surveillance project. It joins the dots across the equine industry by collating information from laboratory-confirmed strangles diagnoses and communicating this back in almost real-time.

“I’m excited about the prospect of extending this internationally, and the difference that could make for horses globally,” she said. 

Government monitoring glanders outbreaks in Turkey

Government monitoring glanders outbreaks in Turkey

Equine owners urged to maintain high standards of biosecurity

Government officials are monitoring an outbreak of glanders in Turkey after the World Health Organisation (OIE) reported three cases of the disease in the country.

Glanders is an often-fatal condition caused by the bacteria Burkholderia malle, primarily affecting horses, donkeys and mules. The disease is spread through close contact with infected animals, or via food and water contaminated with discharges from the respiratory tract or ulcerated skin lesions of contaminated animals. 

On Friday (10 January), Defra/the APHA's International Disease Monitoring Team published a preliminary outbreak assessment of the situation after glanders was reported in Turkey for the first time since 2017. 

The first three of the outbreaks were confirmed on the 23 December 2019 during a routine screening. Two of these outbreaks were identified in the Mudurnu district in North-West Turkey, where 10 out of 85 susceptible horses tested positive for the disease and were subsequently culled.

Officials identified the third case in the Adalar Region of Istanbul, where certain permissions and conditions must be met to move horses in line with the 2018/1301 EC Directive. The animals are reported to have been brought into the district illegally, without microchips, identification documents or veterinary health certificates. 

‘All horses within the district were subsequently subject to serological and mallein tests for Glanders,' the Assessment notes. 'Quarantine, cleansing and disinfection measures have been applied, and equine movement in and out of the districts have been prohibited. All horses in the district will be subject to a follow-up test 20 days after initial testing.’

A fourth outbreak was reported on 30 December 2019 in a single horse in the Merkez district, some 260km south-west of the initial outbreaks. A private veterinary surgeon suspected glanders via the clinical signs and a mallei test identified the disease. This region is not approved for export of Equidae to the EU.

The International Disease Team said that it is continuing to monitor the situation and is reminding keepers of all Equidae ‘to maintain high standards of biosecurity and report any suspect clinical signs promptly.’

For more information about glanders and its clinical signs, vist at www.oie.int

Equine colic symposium details released

Equine colic symposium details released

Leading equine and gastroenterology experts to share their knowledge

Details for the 13th International Equine Colic Research Symposium, to be held 15-17 July 2020 in Edinburgh, have been released.

The triennial event presents a unique opportunity for equine vets to absorb and digest the latest clinical practice and scientific advances in the treatment and prevention of colic. This year’s meeting will see some of the world’s leading equine and gastroenterology experts deliver talks on surgical techniques, parasitology, gastric ulceration and epidemiology, amongst many other topics.

After each session, delegates will be able to ask questions and discuss the topic in question. Poster sessions on the first two days of the event will expand on the oral presentations, with delegates able to review and discuss the work with presenters.

Before the symposium, delegates can book a two-day advanced course on colic surgery (13 -14 July). This course will include a day and a half of lectures, presented by David Freeman from the University of Florida, followed by a half-day of practical sessions.

“Our colic symposium is always very popular; nowhere else will you find so many leading practitioners and researchers from around the world sharing their knowledge, experience and ideas via more than 120 oral and poster presentations,” said BEVA President Tim Mair. “With our colic surgery course neatly timed to tie in before the start of the symposium delegates can optimise use of their time and enjoy 4.5 educational days in beautiful Edinburgh.”

The deadline for submissions of abstracts for presentation at the meeting is 1 February 2020. The scientific committee will consider abstracts on all aspects of equine gastroenterology, including basic science research and reports of clinical cases or novel approaches to treatment.

The symposium is hosted alternately by BEVA and the American Association of Equine Practitioners. For more informartion about the symposium and to book online visit beva.org.uk/ColicSmposium

National Equine Forum details announced

National Equine Forum details announced

Conference to explore importance of human behaviour change

Vets, government officials and leading figures from the equestrian sector are set to share their knowledge and inspire debate at the 28th National Equine Forum (NEF).

The annual event will take place on the 5, March 2020 in London and will cover a myriad of important topics relevant to the equine sector. A highlight of the programme will explore why human behavioural science is so important for the equine sector.

In a session exploring how human behaviour change can make a difference to horse welfare, BEVA council member David Rendle will discuss behaviour change and its potential impact on worming compliance.

The session will also include a talk about colic from University of Nottingham professor Sarah Freeman, and a discussion on strangles from Abigail Turnbull of the Richmond Equestrian Centre.

David Rendle said: “Changing human behaviour offers the key to improving equine welfare in the UK. Veterinary surgeons understand the medical needs of their patients but have insufficient understanding of the drivers of human behaviours which are frequently implicated in equine health and disease. They also lack the right tools with which to implement human behaviour change.

"Looking specifically at the responsible use of anthelmintics, will owners with an emotional connection to an individual ever put the interests of the equine population first? Will striving for behaviour change ever be sufficient in this scenario or does change need to be enforced to put animal welfare ahead of human sentiment?”

The NEF will also include a comprehensive session on Brexit, animal health, emerging diseases, and what has been knowledge has been gained from the 2019 equine flu outbreak. Audience members are invited to participate during Q&A segments, while those watching the live stream can submit questions via social media.

For more information about the event, visit www.nationalequineforum.com

British Horse Council issues manifesto for general election

British Horse Council issues manifesto for general election

Parliamentary candidates urged to recognise scope of equine sector

The British Horse Council (BHC) has released a new manifesto outlining the importance of the British horse sector to the 2019 election.

Representing the collective voice of the horse world, the BHC reminds parliamentary candidates of the scale of the equine sector, consisting of around 4.4m potential voters, made up of 1.3m people who ride regularly and 3.1m who would like to ride again. This sector is also the second largest rural employer after agriculture; contributing an estimated £8bn pounds to the UK economy.

The manifesto summarises key priorities in the sector which would benefit from government support. These include:

  • The promotion of riding as great physical activity
  • Protecting against infectious diseases
  • Ensuring the continued availability of veterinary medicines
  • Licensing equine sanctuaries and rehoming centres
  • Encouraging the growth of the British horse industry and protecting those who work within it

In regards to any future arrangements with the EU, the manifesto asks candidates to recognise the skilled labour needs of the sector and ensure the smooth movement of horses with high health status.

Chair of the BHC David Mountford said: “Our manifesto is a punchy summary of the areas that are of vital importance to us within the equine sector. We aim to make as many people as possible aware of the scope of our industry, the horse’s contribution to society and the things we would like newly elected parliamentarians to focus on when they first step into office.”

New BEVA antimicrobial resistance guidance

New BEVA antimicrobial resistance guidance

Association will offer practical advice during European Antibiotic Awareness Day

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is lending its support to European Antibiotic Awareness Day (18 November) by offering practical advice to horse owners and improving understanding of antimicrobial resistance.

BEVA has added further practical elements to its PROTECT ME Toolkit and is conducting a survey to learn more about antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance in practice. The Equine Veterinary Journal - the official research publication of BEVA - is also set to publish a special online collection of previously published articles, Antimicrobials in an Age of Resistance.

BEVA President Tim Mair said: “While antimicrobials remain essential for the health and welfare of horses suffering from bacterial infection it’s imperative for vets to protect their usage to maintain their effectiveness for the future.

“The equine veterinary sector is committed to responsible stewardship; sales surveillance data shows that sales of horse only antibiotics has fallen by 4.3 tonnes (64 per cent) since 2017 and 13.6 tonnes (85 per cent) since 2014. We hope the results of the BEVA survey will provide further optimistic data.”

More than 260 veterinary professions have responded to BEVA’s Antimicrobial Use and Antimicrobial Resistance survey launched at BEVA Congress in September. The survey aims to assess any changes in prescribing of antimicrobials in equine practice since 2009 and to collect data on how antimicrobials are used by clinicians in equine practice.

BEVA’s PROTECT ME toolkit is a free resource for BEVA members which includes an array of tools to help educate horse owners about the importance of antimicrobial awareness.

On Monday (18 November), the organisation will launch three webinars on rational antimicrobial therapy and the need for antimicrobial stewardship. Furthermore, it has added a ‘No antibiotic prescription form’ to the Toolkit to help owners understand clearly when an antibiotic is not needed.

The EVJ’s special collection of nine online papers, edited by Jennifer Davis and Melissa Merca, will contribute to the knowledge of appropriate antimicrobial use in equine patients.