It works in conjunction the new SPILLERS® online Body Condition Scoring tool to make it easier for owners to manage their horses’ body condition via mobile and tablet devices, on the yard.
Equine obesity, with its associated health risks, is a significant problem in the UK. A study of predominantly outdoor living horses and ponies showed nearly 30% were overweight coming out of the winter and around 35% in the summer.1 Recent research published in the Equine Veterinary Journal suggests that owners find it easier to manage weight loss if they are given positive assistance.2 The two new SPILLERS® tools are aimed at doing exactly that and can be easily accessed via mobile phones and tablets while on the yard.
Accurate assessment of fat deposits can help identify levels of obesity and assist with the monitoring of weight loss. Early weight loss, however, especially in very obese animals can be difficult to track by using Body Condition Scoring alone as initially there may be no obvious changes due to loss of internal fat first.
The BCI calculator is intended for use in conjunction with regular Body Condition Scoring. Devised via a study conducted by the University of Melbourne, Australia, in collaboration with the WALTHAM® Equine Studies Group,3 the BCI calculator works in a similar way to the body mass index (BMI) used in humans. It is based on objective body measurements that correlate with actual body fat percentage. A mathematical equation is used to calculate a score between one and nine using four body measurements. It should be particularly useful to help assess the early stages of weight loss, when condition is being monitored by more than one person or when it is being checked by those less familiar with body condition scoring.
The SPILLERS® Body Condition Scoring (BCS) tool helps horse owners learn how to assess levels of fat in key areas using eye and touch. The online diagram, ‘How to’ videos, and instructions are very easy to use and accessible on mobile devices to help the user gain confidence with this well-known but less objective method of body condition monitoring.
Clare Barfoot, Registered Nutritionist at SPILLERS® said: “Body Condition Scoring is widely recognized as an important way of keeping track of condition on a routine basis. The new BCI tool should help owners to check their accuracy of body condition scoring and become more confident and efficient with it. The important end goal is for more effective weight management programmes and healthier horses.”
For more information on how to manage your horse’s weight visit www.spillers-feeds.com or call the SPILLERS® Care-Line on + 44 (0)1908 226626.
1Giles SL, Rands SA, Nicol CJ & Harris PA (2014). Obesity prevalence and associated risk factors in outdoor living domestic horses and ponies. PeerJ 2: e299
2Treatment of equine metabolic syndrome: a clinical case series RA Morgan, JA Keen and CM McGowanDOI: 10.1111/evj.12445
3Potter SJ, Harris PA, & Bailey SR (2015) Derivation of a new body condition index to estimate body fat percentage from morphometric measurements: comparison with body condition score. JEVS 35 p 410 - 411