Leading Pet Insurer Warns of Rise in Cases of 3 Top Illnesses in Horses During May

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Leading Pet Insurer Warns of Rise in Cases of 3 Top Illnesses in Horses During May

Equestrian News :: Everything Horse

Leading pet insurer, Petplan, has warned of a rise in claims of 3 top illnesses in horses during May each year. The recently released figures show up to the top five most claimed for conditions in 2019. The overall rise in claims year on year, when compared to the last three, show an important trend that horse owners need to be aware of.  Gastric Ulcers, Colic and Laminitis insurance claims all peak in May indicating that this is the time when owners need to watch their horses and ponies for any symptoms more carefully.

Research suggests the increase could be due to changes in care and routine following the winter months…

Petplan Equine’s veterinary expert Gil Riley MRCVS has been fascinated by the findings.

As a vet, I would expect seasonal peaks for some conditions but looking at three years of claim figures side by side it shows how important the month of May is in the care of our horses. For three out of the five conditions to peak at the same time is concerning and we need to be very aware of how the changes we make to our horses management in the Spring can affect them.”

I have always advised clients to make any changes to their horses’ routines gradually, but after looking at this data I would emphasise it even more so.   At the moment we are experiencing changes to our normal activities with the lockdown due to Coronavirus. I would ask all horse owners to be more watchful now and for those who don’t have access to their horses if their yard is closed, talk to your yard owner about making any changes slowly.  If we take care, this difficult situation will hopefully not exacerbate the problem. It will certainly be interesting to see the figures for 2020 and how they compare against previous years with this additional factor coinciding with Spring,”

added Gil.

Historically, we would expect to see a surge in Laminitis cases in early Autumn coinciding with the last flush of grass before the Winter.  However, the numbers of claims seem to have levelled off and Gil Riley puts this down to the increased knowledge of owners and better management of our horses’ diet, worming programmes and turnout, along with the diagnosis and successful treatment of Cushing’s disease.

Colic and Gastric Ulcers experience another small peak later in the year around October,

comments Gil.

This may be a result of changes in feeding and more restricted turnout going into the shorter days of Winter and once again points towards changes in the management of our horses as the likely cause of these issues.”

With Gastric Ulcers and Colic in second and third places in the Top Five and Laminitis, with an increase of overall claims for the year of 20% lying in fifth, these three conditions made up over 16% of payments for Petplan Equine in the month of May alone in 2019, making it a significant area to focus on.


Arthritis tops the list for the first time in three years with an increase of over 8% paid out when compared to 2018, with the majority of cases being claimed as traumatic arthritis. Traumatic arthritis is down to wear and tear in horses joints, which Gil suggests it may be due to ‘horses living longer’.

Arthritis is a condition for which we have a range of treatments and it is unusual if we cannot make a significant improvement to the comfort of the affected horse”

commented Gil.

Petplan Equine -Top Five most claimed for conditions 2019
Net Amount
Arthritis Over £840,000
Gastric Ulcers Over £1,000,000
Colic (abdominal pain) Over £470,000
Desmitis Over £720,000
Laminitis Over £420,000


For further information about the Petplan Equine Top Five 2019 visit the Petplan Equine website at www.petplanequine.co.uk/top5/


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