Researchers develop early horse osteoarthritis detection tool

horse osteoarthritis detection
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Researchers in the UK have created a straightforward questionnaire to help horse owners identify and monitor signs of osteoarthritis pain in their equine companions. This initiative aims to facilitate earlier and more effective treatment, ultimately enhancing the quality of life for horses.

Led by a team at the Royal Veterinary College in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, the questionnaire is modelled after the Brief Pain Inventory used to evaluate pain severity and its impact on functioning.

“Horses are another long-lived athletic species, and there is some thought that arthritis studies in horses may also apply to people, so having a similar instrument could help with that research,” Dr Diane Howard said. 

“The questionnaire can also serve as an objective tool for veterinarians to assess and monitor the adequacy of treatment plans and so determine if changes in a protocol need to be made.”

A preliminary trial of the questionnaire, which involved 25 owners/caretakers of horses diagnosed with arthritis—and is published in Animals—revealed that 88 per cent of participants found the questionnaire beneficial, while 84 per cent appreciated its simplicity and ease of use.

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