Are Horse Owners Able to Estimate Their Animals’ Body Condition Score and Cresty Neck Score?
This is the question that a group of vets and scientists from Italy asked and answered with a study published this month in the scientific journal Veterinary Sciences. Sara Busechian from the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Perugia which sits in the middle of Italy around halfway between Rome and Venice.
They used 259 adult horses belonging to 30 different owners. The lead researcher, Sara Busechian, body condition scored (BCS) each horse using the 0-5 scale of Carroll and Huntington and scored each horse for cresty neck score (CNS) using the 0-5 scale of Carter et al. Each owner was shown the BCS and CNS scoring guides. A wide range of ages (0-30 years old), breeds (Ponies, Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, etc) and all sexes were used.
The vet tended to score the horses higher for BCS than the owner for horses with a BCS of 3, whereas the owners classified more horses as 2 than the vet. There was a similar pattern for the cresty neck score. However owners classified more horses as obese (BCS = 5) than the vet. Overall the agreement in scoring between the vet and the owners was predominantly “slight” and only occasionally “moderate”.
The authors concluded that “Education of owners and caretakers to correctly assess BCS and CNS and regular evaluation of the animals throughout the year is important to prevent the development of obesity and over-conditioning and related diseases”
The article is OPEN ACCESS (free) and can be read here: Veterinary Sciences | Free Full-Text | Are Horse Owners Able to Estimate Their Animals’ Body Condition Score and Cresty Neck Score? (mdpi.com)