Monitoring of equine health in Denmark: the importance, purpose, research areas and content of a future database

Prev Vet Med. 2013 Apr 1;109(1-2):92-105. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.10.015. Epub 2012 Nov 26.


The plentiful data on Danish horses are currently neither organized nor easily accessible, impeding register-based epidemiological studies on Danish horses. A common database could be beneficial. In principle, databases can contain a wealth of information, but no single database can serve every purpose. Hence the establishment of a Danish equine health database should be preceded by careful consideration of its purpose and content, and stakeholder attitudes should be investigated. The objectives of the present study were to identify stakeholder attitudes to the importance, purpose, research areas and content of a health database for horses in Denmark. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 13 horse-related stakeholder groups in Denmark. The groups surveyed included equine veterinarians, researchers, veterinary students, representatives from animal welfare organizations, horse owners, trainers, farriers, authority representatives, ordinary citizens, and representatives from laboratories, insurance companies, medical equipment companies and pharmaceutical companies. Supplementary attitudes were inferred from qualitative responses. The overall response rate for all stakeholder groups was 45%. Stakeholder group-specific response rates were 27-80%. Sixty-eight percent of questionnaire respondents thought a national equine health database was important. Most respondents wanted the database to contribute to improved horse health and welfare, to be used for research into durability and disease heritability, and to serve as a basis for health declarations for individual horses. The generally preferred purpose of the database was thus that it should focus on horse health and welfare rather than on performance or food safety, and that it should be able to function both at a population and an individual horse level. In conclusion, there is a positive attitude to the establishment of a health database for Danish horses. These results could enrich further reflection on the establishment of a Danish equine health database and prove useful to institutions abroad considering establishing similar databases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attitude*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual / standards*
  • Denmark
  • Horse Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Horse Diseases / etiology
  • Horses
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires