The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) released the first report from its “Equine 2015” study, Baseline Reference of Equine Health & Management in the United States, 2015.

The Equine 2015 study is NAHMS’s third national study of the U.S. equine industry. As with the NAHMS 1998 and 2005 equine studies, the 2015 study was designed to provide participants, the industry and animal health officials with information on the nation’s equine population. This information will serve as a basis for education, service and research while providing the industry with new and valuable information regarding trends in the industry for 1998, 2005 and 2015.

Equine 2015 was conducted in 28 states that were chosen for study participation based, in part, on the size or density of the states’ equine populations. Data collected for the study represented 71.6% of equids and 70.9% of U.S. operations with five or more equids.

NAHMS provided a few highlights about hoof-care providers from the baseline report, including:

• In the previous 12 months, 26.2% of all operations usually used operation personnel to trim the hooves of resident equids; 7.3% of operations did not provide hoof trimming.

• A similar percentage of small and medium operations hired a professional farrier for hoof trimming, and large operations accounted for the highest percentage of operations (71.5%) that used a professional farrier. Overall, 4.5% of operations used a professional hoof trimmer who was not a farrier. 

• A higher percentage of operations in the West region (34.8%) usually used operation personnel to trim hooves in the previous 12 months compared with operations in the Northeast and Southeast regions (21.2% and 20.9%, respectively).

•  A higher percentage of operations in the Northeast region (67.9%) usually used a hired farrier for hoof trimming compared with operations in the West and South Central regions (54.7% and 55.8%, respectively). A similar percentage of operations across regions used a professional hoof trimmer (not a farrier) as the usual provider of hoof trimming services.

• Approximately half of all operations (50.4%) used a hired professional farrier to provide routine shoeing in the previous 12 months, while one-fourth of operations (25.3%) did not provide routine shoeing.

• The percentage of operations that provided routine shoeing was higher for medium and large operations (83.6% and 86.9%, respectively) than for small operations (69.8%). The percentage of operations on which operation personnel usually provided routine shoeing was similar across operations sizes.

•  Overall, 53.9% of operations provided corrective shoeing to any resident equids in the previous 12 months. A higher percentage of large operations (77%) than small operations (46.7%) provided corrective shoeing.

Other highlights from the report:

• Approximately nine of 10 operations (88.9%) had 19 or fewer resident equids on May 1, 2015. These operations accounted for 58.1% of resident equids in the U.S. Resident equids were defined as equids that spent more time at one operation than at any other operation.

• The majority of operations (70.7%) used a private veterinarian as their primary information source regarding equine health care.

• Operators on 38.8% of operations were knowledgeable about equine infectious anemia (EIA), while 18.2% recognized the name but not much else, and 7.7% said they had not heard of EIA before.

* Overall, 47.1% of operations performed at least one EIA test on resident equids in the previous 12 months, and 36.8% of resident equids had at least one EIA test in the previous 12 months.

* For all operations, the average cost of an EIA test (including the call fee or cost of transportation) was $40.77 and ranged from $39.34 in the South Central region to $46.39 in the West region.

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