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Equine obesity - looking at the difficult obesity case

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Obesity has become a leading welfare concern for horses in affluent societies and is a cause of significant co-morbidities, such as laminitis, resulting from insulin resistance. Failure to recognise or report obesity is an important barrier to weight loss, a situation exacerbated by expectations of body condition score in some competitive spheres. The objective nature of body condition scoring and lack of mobile weigh-scales complicates this further. Tools to objectively record changes in body condition score can promote compliance with well-structured weight reduction programmes based upon changes in diet and exercise. In some clinical situations, therapeutic interventions can improve compliance using either metformin or thyroxine.

Learning outcomes

  • Identify obesity in horses using body condition scoring and explain limitations of other technique
  • Recognise and manage co-morbidities associated with obesity in horse
  • Safely and effectively manage and monitor weight reduction in horses


Professor Mark Bowen, University of Nottingam

Running time: 51 minutes.

Part of the BVA / BEVA equine stream at London Vet Show 2016.

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