A survey of senior equine management: owner practices and confidence

Bushell, R. and Murray, J. (2016) A survey of senior equine management: owner practices and confidence. Livestock Science, 186, pp. 69-77. (doi: 10.1016/j.livsci.2015.04.024)

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Senior equines (16 years and over) comprise a significant proportion of the global equine population and there is concern that their management practices may not be entirely appropriate, particularly given recent evidence to suggest an under recognition of disease for which alterations are necessary to ensure optimal care. However, there has been minimal research to investigate the appropriateness of senior equine care and how capable their carers׳ are in providing care. Consequently, this study used a survey approach to investigate the management practices and health care provision for senior equines. A series of Likert type questions were used to assess respondent confidence in aspects of management regimes, recognition of age associated equine conditions, and perceived importance of nutrition advice sources, using a scale of 1–5 (1 being low and 5 high confidences). In addition, a combination of multiple response and open questions was used to report management practices in place. The survey was administered to those enrolled on a massive open online equine nutrition course and received 1342 responses. Results indicated an encouraging provision of care for senior equines, with associated high carer confidence in management regimes and concerted effort to understand and fulfill their senior equines requirements. However, the study highlighted key areas of requirements for owner education. In particular, the combined lack of frequent body condition monitoring and low confidence in disease recognition and supplement feeding. There was also a prevalence of suboptimal strategic worming and dry hay feeding. Given that veterinarians were consistently considered as the most important advice source it is likely that they will have an important role to play in the education that is required.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Murray, Professor Jo-Anne
Authors: Bushell, R., and Murray, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:Livestock Science
ISSN (Online):1878-0490
Published Online:18 May 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Livestock Science 186:69-77
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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