New VetReact website for equine vets and horse-owners

Equine vets and horse-owners will have access to the latest research and resources on common emergency conditions in horses thanks to a new website to be launched on 31 March 2017.

VetReact has been set up by an equine research group at The University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. The team hopes the new site will be the ‘go-to’ resource for the latest evidence-based advice and information on clinical best practice in horse medicine.

VetReact adds to the current national campaign by the Nottingham Vet School and British Horse Society – REACT Now to Beat Colic – which is helping horse owners spot the early signs of colic and seek early diagnosis and treatment.

Launching the website, Dr John Burford said: “Colic in horses continues to be one of the most dangerous conditions in the animal. It accounts for a third of veterinary call-outs. At least one in ten of these cases may become critical and up 80% of these end in the death of the horse.

“The VetReact website presents the results of the most recent research as resources for vets, with links to the original sources of information. We have focused on the primary assessment of horses showing signs of colic and how to spot critical cases at this early stage. The website has been developed as a result of interviews and surveys of vets in practice on how they go about finding research-based evidence to help them in their work.”

Dr Alex Knott, a partner at Oakham Veterinary Hospital said: “We see a large number of colic cases both through visits out to owners, and referred into our hospital for surgery. This initiative will help vets in practice by providing resources which are easily accessible for vets out on the road, and helping vets make the decisions to refer critical cases as rapidly as possible, giving them the best chance of survival.”

Resources available on VetReact include information on:

The most common clinical signs of colic

The essential components of history-taking and physical examination

When different diagnostic tests should and shouldn’t be used

How to differentiate critical cases on the first examination.

Recommendations which have been generated through multi-disciplinary workshops and online surveys with vets and horse owners with experience of colic.

The website places a strong emphasis on safety considerations, and stresses that the information offers ‘recommendations’ not ‘rules’, which should be considered and applied by veterinary practitioners in the context of each individual case.

The Nottingham project group includes Miss Isabella Wild, Dr John Burford, Dr Adelle Bowden, Professor Mark Bowen, Professor Gary England and Professor Sarah Freeman. The VetReact website has been developed based on work done by research student, Isabella Wild, on how vets access evidence in practice, and has been supported by funding from World Horse Welfare.

Dr Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare , said: “Colic is a really significant equine health and welfare issue and vets play a fundamental role in bringing about a prompt resolution. World Horse Welfare is pleased to support this innovative work to help bring practical advice to practicing vets.

The website will continue to grow and will include hard-copy resources to download and print, as well as videos and an App in the future.