The War Against Obesity - THIS IS SERIOUS!

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It is time for a monumental effort in the war against obesity. I have seen 4 new cases of weight-related laminitis in the last fortnight, and I only work 3 days a week, AND it’s January!

Here at North West Equine Vets we’re all very worried about the high number of overweight horses were seeing. Laminitis is only one of the diseases directly linked to carrying too much fat tissue. Don’t forget there will be the same amount of fat on the inside of your horse, affecting all his internal organs, but especially the liver and heart. We are committed to finding ways to help you to recognise your horse’s condition and then effect changes to resolve the problem.

Most of the influential organisations in the equine world are now tackling this situation using different strategies. You may have seen the “FatHorseThin” adverts produced by the Blue Cross, or example. As vets, we are being taught to understand the reasons so many horses are too fat so that we can implement the appropriate management changes. As owners, you can find many articles containing great advice in magazines and on social media platforms.…/weight-management-r…


A modern, pro-active initiative is being trialled by the British Equine Veterinary Association. A traffic-light colour coding system of vaccine reminder stickers are placed on the front of horse passports by vets at vaccination appointments. Green indicates the horse is in healthy body condition and at low risk of obesity-related diseases. Amber means the horse has too much fat tissue and moderate management changes are required. A red sticker signals a horse that is morbidly obese and at great risk of fatal disease. As well as providing the opportunity to discuss the vet’s choice of colour at the time, each sticker has a QR code linking to the relevant advice video.

We know that all of you love your horses, and spend huge amounts of time and money looking after them. But obese horses are not found in the wild. Human psychologists have been consulted to discover the best ways to change our perceptions of how we care for our pets.

We are here to help you look at your horse objectively, and with his health foremost in your mind. Exercise is absolutely vital, but simple adjustments to his feed, rugs or clip could also make the difference between an amber and a green sticker!

Clare Penter BVet Med MRCVS