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Study confirms value of Ridden-Horse-Ethogram for detecting pain
There was no significant difference between real-time scores and video-based scores for the experienced assessor.
Tool could help vets communicate more effectively with clients

Veterinary professionals that have been trained to use a Ridden-Horse-Ethogram are better able to identify pain-related behaviour in horses, according to new research.

It is hoped that the finding, published in Equine Veterinary Education, will allow vets to better communicate performance-related problems more efficiently with their clients.

In the study, researchers compared the real-time application of the Ridden-Horse-Ethogram with analysis of video recordings of the horses.

The videos were then analysed by a trained assessor and determined if vets, who had been trained, could apply the ethogram in real time in a consistent way and in agreement with an experienced assessor.

Researchers found there was no significant difference between real-time scores and video-based scores for the experienced assessor, confirming the reliability of the system.

“The study confirms that with basic training veterinary observers can use the ridden horse ethogram with consistency as an effective tool to help identify musculoskeletal pain which could reflect lameness or back or sacroiliac pain,” said study leader Dr Sue Dyson, head of clinical orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust.

“The volunteers were unanimously positive about the potential value of the ethogram in helping them to determine the presence of musculoskeletal pain in horses performing poorly or at pre-purchase examinations.”

Dr Dyson and her team are now working with the US evidence-based online learning resource, Equiptopia, to produce a training video to enable vets, owners, riders and trainers to learn how to apply to Ridden-Horse-Ethogram. To find out more email info@equitopiacenter.com

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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.