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Horses still struggling with skin problems - survey
The most commonly reported skin problems were sweet itch and mud fever.

Blue Cross and BEVA publish results of 2018 equine health survey 

Skin problems remain the most commonly reported health issue in horses, according to figures from the 2018 National Equine Health Survey (NEHS).

The survey reveals that skin diseases accounted for 33 per cent of all problems reported in 2018 (31 per cent in 2017), followed by lameness (29 per cent), metabolic diseases (7.4 per cent), respiratory disease (7 per cent) and eye problems (6 per cent).

The most commonly reported skin problems were sweet itch and mud fever, accounting for 42.7 per cent of all skin diseases. Sarcoids and melanoma were also commonly reported (4.6 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively). Wounds accounted for 9.3 per cent of skin problems recorded.

The NEHS was created in 2010 by Blue Cross, BEVA and RVC Professor of Equine Clinical Studies, Josh Slater. Supported by the major UK equestrian organisation, the survey offers a snapshot of disease prevalence at the same time every year.

The NEHS relies on survey feedback from thousands of horse owners across the UK and helps to pinpoint trends in equine epidemic diseases. The results are used by vets and researchers as benchmarks for our general knowledge of horse health.

Some 5,500 people took part in the survey this year, returning records for almost 14,000 horses. The figures, which are similar to returns for previous years, enable an initial breakdown into general disease syndromes and then a further breakdown into individual diseases.

British Horse Society director of welfare Gemma Stanford said: “The BHS has been wholly supportive of this valuable survey since its inception. The information it has generated over the past eight years has been enlightening and gives all of us within the industry a valuable guide to the most significant endemic diseases affecting our horses today.”

Olympian eventer Mary King added: “The health and happiness of our equine population are of great importance to me, and Blue Cross’s NEHS survey has helped us gain a true understanding of the state of our nation’s horses to help improve their welfare.”

Image (C) Bright Bay Consulting

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Stephen Fry lends voice to frog conservation film

News Story 1
 Comedian and author Stephen Fry has lent his voice to a new animation that hopes to raise awareness of deadly ranavirus, which is threatening the UK’s frogs.

Research by ZSL, who created the short film, suggests that at least 20 per cent of ranavirus cases over the past three decades, could be attributed to human introductions. This includes pond owners introducing fish, frog spawn and plants from other environments.

Amphibian disease expert Dr Stephen Price said: “People can help stop the spread by avoiding moving potentially infected material such as spawn, tadpoles, pond water and plants into their own pond. Disinfecting footwear or pond nets before using them elsewhere will also help.” 

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Scotland to fund OV training

The Scottish Government has revealed it will fund training for new Official Veterinarians (OVs), covering the Essential Skills, Statutory Surveillance and TB Testing.

Funding will also be provided for the revalidation of Essential Skills, as well as TB Testing for existing OVs. This is the second round of financial support from the Scottish Government for OVs.

BVA president Simon Doherty said he is “delighted” with the announcement.

“Official Veterinarians’ work in safeguarding animal health and welfare and ensuring food safety is invaluable,” he added. “This announcement has come at a crucial time, with Brexit and an uncertain future ahead, the role of OVs will be more important than ever in enabling the UK’s trade in animal products.