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Weight gain in horses a major concern for owners, survey finds
More than 50 per cent of horse owners said their biggest feed-related concern during lockdown was weight gain.

Researchers assess the impact of lockdown on horses' routines.

More than half of horse owners in the UK have expressed concern about their horses gaining weight during lockdown, according to new survey results.

Some 54 per cent of horse owners said their biggest feed-related concern during this time was weight gain, while 41 per cent were worried about laminitis.

The worrying findings come from an online survey conducted by feed manufacturer SPILLERS to find out more about the effects of lockdown on horses' routines.

It found that while 65 per cent of respondents had not changed their management routine during lockdown, 12 per cent said they were now turning their horses out 24/7. An additional nine per cent had introduced strip grazing or a grazing muzzle to manage grass intake.

Furthermore, it found that those who had been previously riding had now stopped and, in answering the question about feed-related concerns, 21 per cent of respondents were worried about fizzy or excitable behaviour.

In response to the findings, SPILLERS is drawing attention to its online library of resources and has produced additional tips for horse owners to minimise the risk of weight gain in their animals.

SPILLERS marketing and research development director Clare Barfoot said: “We organised the survey to see where and how people might need support and guidance for their horses during this very difficult time.

“Obesity and laminitis are serious issues, especially now that the grass is growing in abundance and, in particular, 24/7 turnout coupled with reduced exercise can significantly increase the risks. Now that the BEF has revised its advice and more people are likely to start riding again, excitable horses and fizzy behaviour may also become a bigger concern.

“We are now actively signposting owners towards our collection of online blogs, tips and advice to help owners minimise the risk of weight gain and reduce excitability in their horses.”

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Zoo calls for volunteers in its hour of need

News Story 1
 As ZSL London Zoo begins to get back on its feet, the organisation is putting out a call for volunteers who have time to help out. It comes after three months of unprecedented closure, which has seen zoos across the UK come under enormous financial pressure.

Volunteers will be required to commit to a minimum of half a day each fortnight, helping to assist zoo visitors as they make their way around. Volunteer manager Rhiannon Green said: "We need cheery, flexible people who can help visitors enjoy their day while respecting the measures that keep everyone safe.

For more information, visit zsl.org. Posts are available at both London and Whipsnade Zoos. 

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News Shorts
BSAVA webinars to shine the spotlight on selected journal papers

A free series of webinars that take a closer look at selected papers published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice has been produced by the BSAVA.

In the new BSAVA Science webinar series, authors of the featured papers discuss their results with a panel and how they may impact clinical practice. The authors then answer questions submitted by audience members.

The webinars are available via the BSAVA Webinar Library, covering four different papers. JSAP editor Nicola Di Girolamo, said: "Discussing the research with the authors - experts in their field - really helps to bring the papers to life."