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Retrospective case series to identify the most common conditions seen ‘out-of-hours’ by first-opinion equine veterinary practitioners

Boynova, Polina; Bowden, Adelle; Boynova, P.N.; England, Gary C W; Brennan, Marnie Louise; Mair, Tim S; Furness, Wendy A; Freeman, Sarah L; Burford, John H


Polina Boynova

P.N. Boynova

Foundation Dean & Prof Comparative Veterinary Reproduction

Tim S Mair

Wendy A Furness

Professor of Veterinary Surgery


Background: The study aim was to describe conditions seen ‘out-of-hours’ in equine practice.

Methods: This was a retrospective case series of first opinion ‘out-of-hours’ cases seen at two equine practices between 2011-2013. Data was retrieved on case presentation, diagnostic testing, treatment administered and outcome, and diseases categorised using a systems-based coding system. A hierarchical logistic regression, formulated using a Generalised Linear Model, was used to identify clinical variables associated with a binary outcome of ‘critical’ cases (required hospitalisation or euthanasia or died).

Results: Data from 2,602 cases were analysed. The most common reasons for ‘out-of-hours’ visits were colic (35%, n=923/2,620), wounds (20%, n=511/2,620) and lameness (11%, n=288/2,620). The majority of cases required a single treatment (58%, n=1,475/2,550), 26% (n=656/2,550) needed multiple treatments, and 13% (n=339/2,550) were euthanased. Eighteen percent (n=480/2602) of cases had a critical outcome. Increased heart rate at primary presentation was associated with critical outcome in both practices (Practice A, OR 1.07 (95%CI 1.06-1.09), Practice B OR 1.08 (95%CI 1.07-1.09; p [less than] 0.001)).

Conclusion: Colic, wounds and lameness were the most common equine ‘out-of-hours’ conditions; 13% of cases were euthanased. Further research is required into out-of-hours euthanasia decision-making.


Boynova, P., Bowden, A., Boynova, P., England, G. C. W., Brennan, M. L., Mair, T. S., …Burford, J. H. (2020). Retrospective case series to identify the most common conditions seen ‘out-of-hours’ by first-opinion equine veterinary practitioners. Veterinary Record, 187(10), 404-404.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 11, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 27, 2020
Publication Date 2020-11
Deposit Date Jun 25, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 27, 2020
Journal Veterinary Record
Electronic ISSN 2042-7670
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 187
Issue 10
Pages 404-404
Keywords equine, horse, emergency, out-of-hours, case series, veterinary practice
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article has been accepted for publication in Veterinary Record, 2020 following peer review, and the Version of Record can be accessed online at

© British Veterinary Association 2020. No commercial re-use.


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