The behaviours and attitudes surrounding the use of equine complementary and alternative medicine amongst horse-carers in the Auckland region
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Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1917
AIM: To explore the behaviours and attitudes of horse-carers surrounding the use of equine complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). METHODS: Owners or trainers mainly responsible for the care of one or more horses, who were based in the Auckland region, completed an online survey of CAM use, distributed via contact people from each of three equine disciplines: Sport-horse, Racing and Pony Club. To further investigate prevalence of CAM use, an additional short questionnaire was administered to competitors prior to a single showjumping competition. RESULTS: With only a 10% response rate, ninety-two percent of the main survey respondents had used CAM to treat their horse in the preceding 12 months; Sport Horse (95%), Pony Club (80%) and Racing (88%). Of the 17 different CAM therapies identified, physiotherapy, nutritional therapy and massage were the most commonly reported, being used by 23%, 18% and 14% of respondents respectively. Therapies, especially manual, were mainly used for musculoskeletal problems. All respondents who had used CAM therapy perceived it to be at least somewhat beneficial for their horse. The additional show-jumping questionnaire had a very high response rate (88% of competitors) and confirmed that prevalence of CAM use amongst horse owners and trainers representing one important subset of all Auckland horse owners and trainers was likely to be very high. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: These data suggest widespread use of a variety of equine CAM therapies among horse-carers in the Auckland region to treat a range of equine problems, and that the majority of people who used CAM found it beneficial. Dissemination of this information may raise awareness about available treatments and their perceived outcome, thus providing both horse-carers and equine health practitioners with information that could benefit the welfare of their horses.