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A prospective cohort study investigated the occurrence and causes of lameness in a population of British military horses used for parade and ceremonial duties. Lameness cases were diagnosed by a veterinarian or a qualified farrier under veterinary supervision, and included mild or brief incidents of lameness, as well as more serious or ongoing problems. Data from 273 horses over a 13-month period was analyzed.
During this period, 69 horses (25%) showed signs of lameness with an average of 1.23 incidents each year for lame horses. Among these, 55 horses had one episode of lameness, 12 experienced two episodes and two had three episodes. Age, height, duration of service and type of work (walking, fast work, jumping) were not associated with lameness.
The most common diagnoses were cellulitis (19%) and skin wounds (16%). Foot and shoeing problems (12%) included seven horses diagnosed with hoof abscesses, seven with hoof bruises and one each with foot soreness, “nail bind” and a “proud sole.” Nine horses were diagnosed with osteoarthritis, nine with tendon or ligament injuries, seven with muscle bruising due to trauma, three with tying up, two with laminitis, and one each with an inflamed splint bone and a sore back. Most horses (88%) returned to full work by the end of the study.
— Putnam JRC et al. EVJ 2014;46:194-197.
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