Obese horses - The Blue Cross launches campaign to tackle equine obesity
The Blue Cross animal charity today warned of the dangers of equine obesity as it revealed that 40% of all horses and ponies taken in by its equine centres last year were overweight - an increase of 5% on the previous year.
Richard Stephenson MRCVS, equine vet at Pool House Veterinary Group, regularly treats overweight and obese horses and fears that Britain will soon be facing an epidemic of this ‘killer disease’.
Blue cross "Ginger" before
He said: “Obesity increases the risk of arthritis, heart disease and lung problems, and it is directly linked to laminitis - one of the most common causes of euthanasia in horses. Next to colic, obesity kills more horses than any equine disease in the UK – yet it is one hundred per cent preventable.”
Blue Cross "Ginger" after
William said: “Carrying surplus weight makes it much harder for any horse to work well, whatever the level or discipline. The Blue Cross Fat Horse Slim campaign tackles the serious problems associated with overweight horses and ponies by providing sensible, practical advice on how to keep them in optimum shape.”
A Fat Horse Slim weight management pack, sponsored by Dengie, is now available to order online, by phone or at The Blue Cross stand at Badminton and other equestrian events throughout the year. An educational film fronted by international showjumper Tim Stockdale can be viewed at www.fathorseslim.org.uk, which also offers fat horse success stories and the option to enter The Blue Cross ‘Fat Horse Slimmer of the Year’ competition.
“Many owners may not be aware that their horse has a weight problem or the serious health risks associated with this,” says Rosie Mogford, Blue Cross equine welfare education officer.
She continued: “Our perceptions as horse owners have changed over the years and ‘well’ or round looking horses are now more acceptable than they used to be. With this campaign we hope to educate people about the healthy weight for their horses and teach them how to achieve this.”
The Fat Horse Slim pack contains everything the horse owner needs to know about weight monitoring and management, including: a 28-page Blue Cross guide; a Shires weigh tape; calculator; body condition score guide; wall chart for recording weight changes over time; and vouchers for free and discounted Shires and Dengie products.
The pack costs £8 plus postage and can be ordered online at www.fathorseslim.org.uk or by calling The Blue Cross on 0845 230 1672. Proceeds from the packs will support the The Blue Cross’s work helping animals in need.