MED­I­CAL FRONT

EQUUS - - Equus - By Chris­tine Barakat and Mick Mc­Cluskey, BVSc, MACVSc

• Sur­pris­ing find­ings about trans­port in­juries

• Surgery may be best for tem­poro­hy­oid arthri­tis

• Study: Hoof prob­lems are com­mon---and of­ten pre­ventable

• New quar­an­tine fa­cil­ity opens at New York’s JFK air­port

• Can a horse rec­og­nize him­self in a mir­ror?

A study from Aus­tralia sug­gests that horses may be in­jured dur­ing non­com­mer­cial trans­port more of­ten than pre­vi­ously thought---and cer­tain driver be­hav­iors in­crease the risk.

In a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort be­tween sev­eral in­sti­tu­tions, re­searchers sur­veyed 223 driv­ers who pulled goose­neck, bumper-pull or other types of horse trail­ers to 12 dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tions in south­east­ern Aus­tralia. About a quar­ter of the par­tic­i­pat­ing driv­ers---55 in all---re­ported hav­ing a horse sus­tain an in­jury at some time dur­ing trans­port.

“We all hear anec­dotes about bad horse [trailer] in­juries, but lit­tle about the mi­nor in­juries,” says Chris Ri­ley, BVSc, PhD, of Massey Uni­ver­sity. “The key to haz­ard pre­ven­tion in res­cue or­ga­ni­za­tions such as fire­fight­ers is to also iden­tify near misses. This is not yet part of our eques­trian cul­ture.”

More than half of the re­ported in­juries in­volved the lower limbs (56.5 per­cent). Less fre­quent in­jury sites were the head and muz­zle (14.5 per­cent), chest (9.7 per­cent), flank/hindquar­ter (9.7 per­cent), neck (6.5 per­cent) and tail (3.2 per­cent). Nearly 84 per­cent of the in­juries were sus­tained while the trailer was mov­ing, as op­posed to dur­ing load­ing or un­load­ing or when the trailer was sta­tion­ary.

The re­spon­dents at­trib­uted 72.7 per­cent of in­juries to “horse-re­lated fac­tors,” such as scram­bling, loss of bal­ance or so­cial con­flict. Ri­ley points out, how­ever, that this doesn’t mean these fac­tors can’t be con­trolled.

“There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween what peo­ple be­lieve is hap­pen­ing and what is ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing,” he says. “We have done some brak­ing and driv­ing tri­als with horses in the back of trail­ers us­ing a num­ber of cam­eras. It is clear that the ve­hi­cles are not de­signed to neu­tral­ize the cor­ner­ing and brak­ing forces that the horses are sub­jected to. So what ap­pears, at first, to be horse-as­so­ci­ated, is ac­tu­ally the horses not be­ing able to cope with the driver and ve­hi­cle in­puts to which they are sub­jected. This means there is an op­por­tu­nity for us to do fur­ther re­search in this area and make rec­om­men­da­tions to the in­dus­try about ve­hi­cle de­sign that are based on sci­en­tific ev­i­dence.”

The sur­vey re­sults also sug­gest that some driver be­hav­iors in­crease the risk of equine in­juries. Re­spon­dents who in­di­cated that they an­swered the phone while driv­ing were twice as likely to re­port that their horses had been in­jured. Sleep de­pri­va­tion may also be a risk fac­tor: Driv­ers who had less than eight hours sleep the night be­fore the sur­vey were twice as likely to re­port that their horses had been in­jured dur­ing a trailer ride.

“That is not to say that they iden­ti­fied this as a risk fac­tor di­rectly as­so­ci­ated with their pre­vi­ous ac­ci­dent,” says Ri­ley. “What it does in­di­cate is that this is a be­hav­ior that was as­so­ci­ated with some­one who re­ported an ac­ci­dent; 62 per­cent of trailer driv­ers had less than eight hours sleep the night be­fore they were sur­veyed at a horse event. Es­sen­tially, this prompts us to ask the ques­tion of ev­ery in­ci­dent in fu­ture stud­ies and in­ves­ti­gate its as­so­ci­a­tion fur­ther.”

Over­all, the study shows that horses trans­ported pri­vately have about the same risk of in­jury as do slaugh­ter-bound horses.

“Our find­ings are not an in­dict­ment on in­di­vid­ual horse own­ers but our col­lec­tive at­ti­tude to­ward the safety and wel­fare of horses in as­so­ci­a­tion with non­com­mer­cial trans­porta­tion,” says Ri­ley. “We have put a lot of ef­fort into un­der­stand­ing the so­cially un­pleas­ant fac­tors as­so­ci­ated with trans­port to slaugh­ter but ap­pear to have lim­ited our in­ward re­flec­tion.”

Ref­er­ence: “Horse in­jury dur­ing non-com­mer­cial trans­port: Find­ings from re­searcher-as­sisted in­ter­cept sur­veys at South­east­ern Aus­tralian eques­trian events,” An­i­mals, Novem­ber 2016

Nearly 84 per­cent of the in­juries oc­curred while the trailer was mov­ing, as op­posed to when it was sta­tion­ary.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.