Researchers Seeking Input for Senior Horse Study

Researchers Seeking Input for Senior Horse Study

Dental degeneration and tooth loss are common in senior horses, but there is little research on impact these issues have on how they’re fed.

Photo: iStock

Researchers in Scotland are asking owners of senior horses to complete a survey on their charges’ dentition and current feeding regimens.

Rebecca Bushell, BSc, a master's degree candidate at the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School in Edinburgh, has previously investigated the general management of horses aged 16 years and older.

“I have two senior ponies, and one the main issues I have had is finding a feed that will maintain weight and condition in my mare who has lost multiple cheek teeth,” she said. “So this time I’m focusing on dental degeneration specifically cheek teeth loss in the senior horse, how this might impact their ability to chew and digest their feed, and the alterations that owners might have to make to their feeding.”

Bushell said dental degeneration and tooth loss are common in senior horses, but there is little research on impact these issues have on how they’re fed.

“Making changes to a horse’s feeding regime can be daunting and my previous research found owners were less confident in feeding certain items, such as supplements, that may be a component of a senior horse’s ration,” she added.

As such, she also hopes to find out where owners look for feeding advice.

The survey can be accessed at edinburgh.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/senior-horse-dentition-and-feeding and will remain open until Jan. 31, 2017.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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