Horses victims of quacks
Saturday Sep 13 2014, 16:27 (Update: 13-09-14, 16:54)
Hundreds of quacks and alternative healers do misdiagnosis in the treatment of horses. That means that for example, horses remain crippled or keep having back pain.
Julius Peters of the Royal Dutch Society for Veterinary Medicine (KNMvD) will tell this tonight in Nieuwsuur TV show. Owners go to such alternative practitioners because it is much cheaper than a vet.
According to Peters, president of the horse section of the KNMvD, alternative healers treat thousands of sick horses.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recognizes the problems. “It is penny wise pound foolish,” says director Frank Dales. “Instead of the horse getting better after treatment, it often gets worse. And then finally the recovery process becomes only more prolonged and more costly.”
In the Netherlands there are about 400,000 horses. They are at large riding stables and breeding farms or in small stables at the owner’s home. When buying, new owners are often not aware of the high cost. And keeping a horse gets more expensive if it gets an injury and the vet should be called.
That’s why owners go the alternative medical system. With practitioners who don’t know what they’re talking about, according to Peters.
“What I hear about, is a twisted spleen, a clamped sciatica or ‘something’ about the ovaries. Sometimes in a male animal, so that does not quite fit. And even kidney problems. Well, that I have in my career as a veterinarian, which has spanned 32 years, not seen often.”
The sector council for horses, the umbrella body for horse businesses, rejects these practices. “I think that’s a worrisome situation,” says Ruud Timmermans Pruijsten of the sector council. “The welfare of the horse benefits if it gets the necessary care.”
No disciplinary tribunal
According to the law medical procedures should only be performed by veterinarians. But there is little people can do in practice about misdiagnosis by a quack, says Peters. “We veterinarians, but also animals physiotherapists are included in the so-called BIG register. They are not registered anywhere. We have a disciplinary committee, so if you are not satisfied with my actions, you can sue me. This is certainly not the case in the alternative scene.”
The Royal Dutch Society for Veterinary Medicine and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals want a mandatory biannual inspection of horses. Owners should thereby allow horses to be checked medically by a veterinarian.
Research from Wageningen University indicates that, in general, over 30 percent of the horses in riding schools and breeding farms have back problems, sometimes mild, sometimes severe. 20 percent is crippled or has difficulty walking. The researchers studied 3,000 horses at 150 businesses.
The sick animals should benefit from the best possible treatment, says Pruijsten Timmermans of the sectoral council for horses. “Any horse that is in pain, is one too many. What we can do about it, is to reach owners and advise them to really deal with it that way.”
Parliament will talk in November with Minister Dijksma about horse welfare.