The National Equine Health Survey (NEHS) has confirmed for the second year that lameness is the most common syndrome affecting UK horses.

The survey, held annually, revealed almost one in five (18.5%) horses were found to suffer with lameness due to joint disease or other non-foot related issues.

Results are consistent with last year’s non-foot related lameness figure of 18.6%.

The survey, run annually by charity Blue Cross, highlighted laminitis had a much higher prevalence than in previous years (7.1%), with 43% of those recorded as first episodes.

Previous results found a lower number of horses and ponies affected by laminitis (4.4% overall prevalence, with 25% first episodes).

Gemma Taylor, education officer at Blue Cross, explains: “The increase in laminitis may be linked to the mild winter, extensive rainfall and consistently warm spring. These conditions were ideal for flushes of grass growth, known to be a trigger for the disease.”

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