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Animals 2015, 5(4), 1296-1310; doi:10.3390/ani5040412

Health Problems and Risk Factors Associated with Long Haul Transport of Horses in Australia

1
The Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, 425 Werombi Road, Camden 2570, NSW, Australia
2
Department of Veterinary Medicine, The University of Bari, Bari 70100, Italy
3
School of Animal and Veterinary Science, Charles Stuart University, Wagga Wagga 2650, NSW, Australia
4
DSM Nutritional Products, Animal Nutrition and Health, Columbia, MD 21045, USA
5
Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville 3010, Australia
6
Discipline of Biomedical Science, School of Medical Sciences, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Lidcombe 1825, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kirrilly Thompson
Received: 2 November 2015 / Revised: 3 December 2015 / Accepted: 3 December 2015 / Published: 10 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [693 KB, uploaded 10 December 2015]   |  

Abstract

Equine transportation is associated with a variety of serious health disorders causing economic losses. However; statistics on horse transport are limited and epidemiological data on transport related diseases are available only for horses transported to abattoirs for slaughter. This study analysed reports of transport related health problems identified by drivers and horse owners for 180 journeys of an Australian horse transport company transporting horses between Perth and Sydney (~4000 km) in 2013–2015. Records showed that 97.2% (1604/1650) of the horses arrived at their destination with no clinical signs of disease or injury. Based on the veterinary reports of the affected horses; the most common issues were respiratory problems (27%); gastrointestinal problems (27%); pyrexia (19%); traumatic injuries (15%); and death (12%). Journey duration and season had a significant effect on the distribution of transport related issues ( p < 0.05); with a marked increase of the proportion of the most severe problems ( i.e. , gastrointestinal; respiratory problems and death) in spring and after 20 h in transit. Although not statistically significant; elevated disease rate predictions were seen for stallions/colts; horses aged over 10 years; and Thoroughbreds. Overall; the data demonstrate that long haul transportation is a risk for horse health and welfare and requires appropriate management to minimize transport stress. View Full-Text
Keywords: transport; horse; journey duration; season; risk transport; horse; journey duration; season; risk
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Padalino, B.; Hall, E.; Raidal, S.; Celi, P.; Knight, P.; Jeffcott, L.; Muscatello, G. Health Problems and Risk Factors Associated with Long Haul Transport of Horses in Australia. Animals 2015, 5, 1296-1310.

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