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Cross-sectional study of horse owners’ knowledge, and opinions on recognising colic in the horse

Bowden, A.; Burford, J.H.; Brennan, M.L.; England, G.C.W.; Freeman, S.L.


Foundation Dean & Prof Comparative Veterinary Reproduction

Professor of Veterinary Surgery


Colic is the most common emergency problem in the horse. An owner’s ability to recognise colic and seek assistance is a critical first step in determining case outcome.

The aim of this study was to assess horse owners’ knowledge and opinions on recognising colic.

Study design
Cross‐sectional study.

An online questionnaire was distributed to horse owners with open and closed questions on their knowledge of normal clinical parameters in the horse, confidence and approach to recognising colic (including assessment through case scenarios), and their demographics. Descriptive and chi squared statistical analyses were performed.

There were 1564 participants. Many respondents either did not know or provided incorrect estimates for their horse’s normal clinical parameters: only 45% (n = 693/1540) gave correct normal values for heart rate, 45% (n = 694/1541) for respiratory rate and 67% (n = 1028/1534) for rectal temperature. Knowledge of normal values was statistically associated with participants’ educational qualifications (P


Bowden, A., Burford, J., Brennan, M., England, G., & Freeman, S. (2019). Cross-sectional study of horse owners’ knowledge, and opinions on recognising colic in the horse. Equine Veterinary Journal,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 23, 2019
Online Publication Date Aug 28, 2019
Publication Date Aug 28, 2019
Deposit Date Sep 3, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 22, 2019
Journal Equine Veterinary Journal
Print ISSN 0425-1644
Electronic ISSN 2042-3306
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Equine; General Medicine
Public URL
Publisher URL