The spotlight is on non-veterinary providers of dental and hoof care and musculoskeletal therapy in horses in Britain.
A survey, co-ordinated by the British Equine Veterinary Association, is asking owners about the providers of such services, their qualifications and other aspects of care.
Moves have been made in other countries, including the US, to limit the range of non-veterinary providers of such services, particularly in equine dentistry and massage.
The British survey is a part of the Review of Minor Procedures Regime project, set up by Defra. It says it is investigating “the most effective ways to govern various activities undertaken by non-veterinarians in the future, without over-burdening either the practitioner or the horse owner with unnecessary red tape, but ensuring that the welfare of the horse remains the priority”.
BEVA Chief Executive David Mountford said: “There is concern that in 2014 many horse owners simply aren’t aware of the level of skills, knowledge and protection that they are paying for and that this could open the door for unscrupulous individuals (or even well-meaning individuals without appropriate training) to set up in business and put horse health and welfare at risk.
“We are appealing to all horse owners to complete the survey to help make sure that the most appropriate care is provided for all their horses at all times. ”
In explaining the survey’s purpose, BEVA said: “The current regulations covering veterinary and farriery activities were drawn up decades ago before many of today’s services were routinely available and there is now an opportunity to review whether or not the current controls are fit for purpose.”
The survey closes on Sunday, June 15.