Equine Lameness – a new perspective

Results from the UK’s National Equine Health Survey 2015 (published in the May edition of The Veterinary Nurse) have yielded some interesting information on lameness. The survey, which is co-ordinated by Blue Cross and has been running for five years, is already making significant inroads into our understanding of horse health.

An interesting finding indicates that up to 75% of lameness in horses, ponies, donkeys and mules is caused by osteoarthritis in the limb rather than problems in the foot. In addition, almost 25% of horses were recorded as overweight or obese, a worrying continuance of the upward trend recorded in previous years.

The consistent year-on-year patterns generated by the annual survey, which in 2015 was based on almost 5,000 equine animals, is delivering objective and highly statistically significant evidence rather than opinion, helping owners and experts to understand and improve horse health.

Top six disease syndromes – 2015

Lameness 18% (13.5% not foot-related)
Skin Diseases 17.2% (Sweet Itch, Mud fever & external parasites)
Back Problems 7%
Recurrent Airway Obstruction 6.7%
Laminitis 6.4%
(Cushing’s Disease)
(confirmed or suspected)


To participate in the survey visit www.bluecross.org.uk/NEHS