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Working closely together ‘could help prevent laminitis’
“The key is to ensure that farriers and owners can be ‘matched’ appropriately".
Study explores relationships between farriers and horse owners

Farriers who work closely with horse owners and take a holistic approach could help to prevent laminitis, new research suggests.

Researchers from the University of Surrey carried out in-depth interviews with farriers and horse owners, to learn more about their relationships with one another and their approach to equine care.

Findings published in the Equine Veterinary Journal suggest farriers who take a holistic approach place emphasis on building long-term, trusting relationships with owners. This approach and a commitment to the overall health of the horse could potentially reduce instances of the disease.

Researchers also found that farriers who are more technically-focused can work well with owners who already have knowledge and understanding of laminitis. However, these farriers are not providing the more welfare-focused support, particularly to new horse owners.

Figures suggest 75 per cent of horses in Britain are cared for by their owner, many of whom are new to caring for horses and may not have the knowledge or skill needed to care for those at risk of laminitis. In these cases, Surrey scientists say the farrier is invaluable in helping to identify potential risk factors, such as obesity.

Lead author Jenny Lynden said: “The relationship between a horse owner and their farrier is not to be underestimated. When more holistic support is required by an owner, farriers who want to and have trained to engage in this way, have a huge role to play in providing this support.

“The key is to ensure that farriers and owners can be ‘matched’ appropriately, so that owners who require more holistic-focused interventions can access farriers who can and want to offer this type of support.”

New surveys are now underway to find out more about how farriers and horse owners work together, to inform support for farriers’ CPD.

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.