The results from the 2018 BEDMAX Equine Health Survey have underlined that a large proportion of UK horse owners face two major problems trying to keep their horses healthy in their stables during the winter months – respiratory illness and hoof disease.
Nearly 40% of the 908 respondents reported that the horses they cared for had suffered a health problem that had required veterinary treatment or time off being ridden, or both, during the previous six winter months.
Of those owners, 120 had called in the vet to treat respiratory problems ranging from mild to severe and more than 80 had to call the vet or farrier to treat hoof infection or disease. The 908 owners who took part in the second annual BEDMAX Equine Health Survey in April also confirmed that almost 80% of their horses spend at least 12 hours out of every 24 in their stables.
It has long been recognised that keeping horses in stables for long periods increases the risk of health problems. BEDMAX the UK’s leading manufacturer of pine horse bedding, believes that the results of both the 2018 and 2017 surveys suggests that the two main health threats are directly related to, or caused by, the use of poor quality bedding in the stable.
BEDMAX Managing Director, Tim Smalley, explains:
“Airborne, breathable dust and spores in the confines of a stable are recognised as the biggest cause of equine respiratory disease, and bedding is recognised as one of the biggest sources of airborne dust, if not the biggest.
“That’s why our absolute priority in making BEDMAX and LITTLEMAX shavings has always been to ensure they are dust free, because if they’re managed properly they can create an environment focussed on preventative healthcare.”
The potential for a horse to suffer hoof infection and disease can likewise be prevented or much reduced by providing a bedding that helps maintain high levels of hygiene. Dried at sterilising temperatures BEDMAX, a large flake shaving is made principally from pine timber, which has unique, natural antibacterial properties.
“The most important conclusions from our Equine Health Surveys,” says Tim Smalley, “is that far too many horses in the UK are suffering from these diseases and too many owners are paying hefty vet's bills unnecessarily. These diseases could be prevented by changing the stable environment.
“Over the 20 years since we began researching and then making BEDMAX, every survey we have carried out has shown us that almost every horse owner in the UK is totally committed to keeping their horses as healthy and happy as humanly possible. This latest survey shows that many are not achieving this, and we would like to help put that right.
“We are going to follow up these survey results with as much information as we can find to promote more awareness particularly of respiratory disease. We will continue trying to highlight just how big this problem is, how much it is costing horses and their owners, and what we should all be doing to kick this horrible disease out of the stable.”
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