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Welfare of aged horses

By C. McGowan

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Abstract

Horses form a unique and special part of their owners' lives and aged horses are no exception. This review considers the health and management of aged horses, including the role of the owner and their perceptions of aged horses, potential threats or risks to their welfare and finally, factors affecting quality of life and euthanasia of aged horses. Owners of aged horses are concerned about the health, welfare and quality of life of their aged animals. Yet surveys of management and preventive healthcare reflect that there may be some limitations to what owners are actually achieving in practice. They show declining management as horses age, particularly for the retired horse and insufficient appropriate preventive healthcare via veterinary surgeons. The veterinary surgeon plays an essential and influential role in preventive healthcare, management of diseases and disorders and ultimately in the decision making process for euthanasia of aged horses at the end of their lives. The value of aged horses should not be underestimated by veterinarians and others working with them and the continuing care of aged horses should be regarded with the same importance as the care of younger horses with more obvious monetary value.

Publication Title Animals
Volume 1
Issue 4
Pages 366-376
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani1040366
Language English
Author Address Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, CH64 7TE, UK.C.M.Mcgowan@liverpool.ac.uk
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Tags
  1. Animal husbandry
  2. Animals
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Destruction of animals
  5. Horses
  6. Mammals
  7. peer-reviewed
  8. Reviews
  9. ungulates
  10. vertebrates
  11. Veterinary medicine
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  1. peer-reviewed