Insured Geldings, Mares At Greater Risk of Death Than Stallions

Swedish researchers examining the five-year survival rates of insured Warmbloods found that geldings and mares have a greater mortality risk than stallions. They also found that horses with a history of “costly veterinary events” were at a

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Swedish researchers examining the five-year survival rates of insured Warmbloods found that geldings and mares have a greater mortality risk than stallions. They also found that horses with a history of “costly veterinary events” were at a greater risk for death than horses without such a history.


Researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala reviewed records for more than 18,000 Warmbloods insured for veterinary care and mortality by Agria Insurance (based in Stockholm) from 1997 to 2002.
They looked variables such as gender, age, previous diagnosis of veterinary claims, geographic variables, cost for veterinary claims, and life-insurance value. Researchers identified horses with one or more costly veterinary care events (VCE; 2,495 horses) and those with no previous VCE (15,576 horses).


Thirty-eight percent (944) of those horses with one or more VCE and 19 percent (2962) of the horses with no VCE prior to 1997 had died by the end of the five-year study period. The causes of the deaths were not identified in the study.


Researchers concluded, “Geldings had a higher risk of claimed deaths compared to mares, and mares had a higher risk compared to stallions. The risk of death increased linearly with age. The risk of death increased with increasing life-insurance value. Horses with previous lameness had the lowest survival (rates).”

The study was published in the Nov. 7 issue of Preventive Veterinary Medicine

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Written by:

Chad Mendell is the former Managing Editor for TheHorse.com .

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