Health constraints of Cart Horses in the Dry warm, Sub-moist tepid and Moist cool Climatic Zones of Central Ethiopia
The objectives of this study were to identify the major health and welfare constraints of cart horses in the dry warm, sub-moist tepid and moist cool climatic zones of Ethiopia. The study was cross sectional and a total of 837 horses were examined. Five major health problems and welfare issues were identified. Lymphangitis was recorded in 9.3 % of the horses in the sub-moist zone only. Eye problems were recorded in 32.1 % the horses of which 12.3 % had one blind eye and horses in the tepid sub-moist zone were more affected than horses in the moist cool zone (OR = 5.25; 95% CI = 2. 94, 9.52). Injuries of the withers were recorded in 47% of the horses. Unsympathetic drivers’ attitudes were predisposing factors of wounds on the inguinal region (19.7 %) and carpal joints (8%). Lameness and fetlock injuries were recorded in 13% and 16.6% of the horses respectively. The health constraints and welfare issues are of considerable importance and merit attention. The use of improved harnessing systems, proper shoeing and sympathetic attitudes of drivers could enable to efficiently utilize horses’ power.
Key words: Carthorses, Ethiopia, Health, Welfare