Study: Horse Owners More Confident In Colic Recognition Than They Should Be

by | 10.05.2019 | 1:11pm

A 2014 survey of 1,331 horse owners revealed crucial gaps in horse owner's knowledge of colic and how to respond to an episode of it. This lack of knowledge was the driver behind the creation of the REACT To Beat Colic campaign in Britain, which was developed by the University of Nottingham and the British Horse Society.

As colic cases can rapidly deteriorate, prompt veterinary attention is needed. Survey responses showed confusion around the condition, including the signs of colic, and how to assess the severity of the colic episode and respond to colic.

The team who analyzed the survey responses noted that the disparity between what horse owners thought they knew about colic and their ability to recognize colic was concerning. The common types of colic with less-severe signs were the hardest for horse owners to identify.

Many owners knew they should check the heart rate, temperature and respiration of horses that are colicking. However, only 45 percent of survey respondents knew the normal heart rate and respiratory rate for horses; 67 percent of respondents knew a horse's temperature. Owners responded that if they thought their horse was colicking that they would look for manure production, listen to gut sounds and take the horse's heart rate.

More than half (61 percent) of respondents were confident that they could recognize colic, but the response to case scenarios showed that only 49 percent of horse owners were able to recognize that a surgical colic case was colicking; only 9 percent of respondents were confident they could identify an impaction colic based on signs. Additionally, there was not a consensus on when to call a veterinarian when a horse is colicking.

These findings show that owners are willing to be actively involved in the assessment of their horse's health, but there were issues with how their assessments are interpreted. Though some respondents were aware of their lack of knowledge, others were not aware that their knowledge is inaccurate.

The researchers note that the findings show that further education and resources for horse owners on colic are needed.

Read more at HorseTalk.

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