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A cross-sectional epidemiological study of prevalence and severity of bit-induced oral trauma in polo ponies and race horses

By F. Mata, C. Johnson, C. Bishop

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Abstract

Bit and bridle accessories improperly fitted in ridden horses can cause oral trauma such as bone spurs, commissure ulceration, and tongue lacerations. This study was used to identify, grade, and compare the types of oral traumas commonly found within polo ponies and race horses. Injuries were assessed visually and by palpation on the tongue, lips’ commissures, and interdental space. A total of 50 polo ponies and 50 race horses were sampled in the South of England. A Poisson model was successfully fitted to the data (p < .001), and the variables of discipline (p < .001), injury type (p < .001), and age (p < .001) were significant. Race horses with snaffle bits were predisposed to significantly higher severities and prevalence of oral trauma than were polo ponies in gag bits. Only polo ponies were observed with tongue trauma. Race horses had higher severities of injuries in the commissures and bone spurs. Positive correlations were found between age and/or time in sport and induced biting injuries. Polo ponies had been playing longer before the occurrence of injuries.

Date 2015
Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 18
Issue 3
Pages 259-268
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2015.1004407
Author Address School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.fernando.da-mata@newcastle.ac.uk
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animals
  2. Animal welfare
  3. British Isles
  4. Commonwealth
  5. Countries
  6. Developed countries
  7. Epidemiology
  8. Europe
  9. Great Britain
  10. Horses
  11. Incidence
  12. Mammals
  13. OECD countries
  14. palpation
  15. peer-reviewed
  16. racehorses
  17. Sports
  18. tongue
  19. trauma
  20. Ulcers
  21. ungulates
  22. United Kingdom
  23. vertebrates
  24. Wounds and injuries
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed