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UK’s first ever ‘Colic Awareness Week’ a huge success

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On 1 – 7 April, The British Horse Society (BHS) and University of Nottingham launched the UK’s first ever ‘Colic Awareness Week’ as part of their ‘REACT Now to Beat Colic’ Campaign in order to inform horse owners on how to spot the signs of colic and what to do, should they suspect their horse has the potentially fatal condition. This came after shocking research, conducted by The University of Nottingham revealed that 90% of owners were not confident in spotting its early signs.

Both organisations received a huge amount of support from their 67 ‘Vet REACT Colic Champion’ veterinary practices, as well as Pet Plan, Spillers, The British Equine Veterinary Association and many more in helping them to share expert ‘top tips’ and up-to-date statistics on recognising the signs of colic, the importance of being prepared for colic and end of life decision making, with all information being accompanied by free online resources. In addition to this and as part of the week, AB Equine Riding School in Rugely raised money for the campaign.

The week was hailed a great success by horse enthusiasts across the UK with a 600% increase in BHS website traffic to colic information pages, a total reach of nearly 600,000 people across social media pages and more than 500 people commented on one BHS Facebook post, sharing their own stories and experiences of colic.

Emmeline Hannelly, BHS Welfare Education Manager said, “Colic is a serious concern for horse owners so we wanted to dedicate a week to highlight and encourage discussions on many of the key issues. If owners are faced with having to make a difficult decision, we want to ensure they are making an informed decision at what will be an exceptionally distressing time. We are delighted with the outcome of the week and want to thank everyone who supported the event.”

The University of Nottingham’s PhD student, Katie Lightfoot, whose work is dedicated to colic research commented, “Colic Awareness Week has exceeded our expectations and we are delighted at how engaged both horse owners and veterinary professionals have been. We set out to highlight how important planning for a potential colic emergency is, in order to prevent delays in veterinary treatment and I think the message was well received by horse owners across the country.”

Sarah Freeman, Professor of Veterinary Surgery at the School of Veterinary Science and Medicine, University of Nottingham, who headed up the initial research on colic and helped to develop the REACT campaign with the BHS has also recently received the RCVS Impact Award, which is given to a veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse who has recently, or is currently, undertaking a project or initiative that has had an important impact on the profession.

For further details on the ‘Vet REACT Colic Champions’ scheme and ‘React Now to Beat Colic’ campaign, please visit: bhs.org/colic.

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