The researchers behind a new study are taking a closer look at U.K. horse owners’ understanding of laminitis and whether or how it could influence their horse management practices.
Ultimately, they hope their findings will help define the most effective ways to convey evidence-based science to horse owners to improve equine health and welfare.
Equine laminitis is a painful, debilitating foot condition, often necessitating prolonged treatment or euthanasia. A number of management-related modifiable risk factors have been identified, including rapid weight gain, recent stall rest, and recent introduction to grazing. However, no research has yet been conducted to investigate whether or how such research evidence translates into changes in horse care and hence improvements in horse welfare.
The study is being conducted by Chantil Sinclair, BSc (Hons), MSc, a PhD candidate and epidemiologist at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), in Hertfordshire, England. She is supervised by Jackie Cardwell, MA, VetMB, MScVetEd, PhD, FHEA, MRCVS (RVC); Nicola Menzie-Gow, MA, VetMB, PhD, Dipl. ECEIM, Cert EM (int med), MRCVS (RVC); and Carrie Roder, BEng, MEd, PhD, PGCE (Anglia Ruskin University). It is supported by SPILLERS via WALTHAM, who provide the science underpinning the brand. Sinclair combines a background in human health with a passion for horses and a keen interest in improving access to scientifically supported information.
The study forms part of Sinclair’s PhD research.
“My key objective is to understand the decision-making process when caring for horses,” she said. “First, we intend to establish the level of knowledge horse owners have about existing scientific evidence on reducing the risk of laminitis. We then hope to identify the specific barriers that either hinder awareness or prevent implementation of best practice.”
Sinclair will be looking at the underlying factors that act as barriers or drivers to the acceptance of research evidence and adoption of new practices. These include attitude, behavior, technical, and cultural factors.
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