A unique, evidence-based campaign to help horse owners spot the first signs of colic has been launched.

The “REACT Now to Beat Colic Campaign” from the British Horse Society (BHS) has been based on ongoing research by a team from The University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science.

Systematic reviews

REACT poster
This A4 poster and other downloadable materials can be found at bhs.org.uk/colic

For the past five years, the Nottingham Colic Research Group has been conducting systematic reviews of evidence on risk factors for colic, as well as different diagnostic tests.

It has also generated evidence on what happens when vets first see horses with colic and has run surveys, workshops, discussion groups and consensus voting to ask vets and horse owners about their colic experiences and opinions.

The workshop recommendations were then collated, formatted and circulated to wider groups of horse owners with experience of colic and equine vets, to ask them to rank different signs and vote on agreement on statements.

An online survey was designed to evaluate horse owners’ approach to colic. The survey included questions on owner demographics, their recognition of colic (including owners’ opinions of their ability to recognise colic, their approach and their recognition of colic using case vignettes)  and their knowledge of normal ranges for clinical parameters.

Focus on people involved

Sarah Freeman of the Colic Research Group said: “We think what makes this unique is the way the campaign has been generated, with a very strong focus on the different people involved in the assessment and decision making, and the way the information has been generated.

“I am not aware of other equine campaigns that have developed in the same way – everyone talks about evidence-based information, but that can describe any kind of evidence.”

The Nottingham Colic Research Group is still looking for equine vets to help with its survey. Visit www.colicsurvey.com

  • Read more about the campaign – and the survey results – in the 10 October issue of Veterinary Times.
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