Recognizing Signs of Equine Abuse: The Vet’s Role

Equine practitioners must be familiar with the signs of abuse, its various forms, and their role in preventing it.
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equine abuse
Some veterinarians come across suspected cases of equine abuse during their daily practice, so it’s important for them to be familiar with the signs of abuse, its various forms, and their role in preventing it. | Photo: Courtesy of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Sadly, some veterinarians come across suspected cases of equine abuse during their daily practice. For this reason, it’s important for practitioners to be familiar with the signs of abuse, its various forms, and their role in preventing it.

Rachel Touroo, DVM, is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ director of veterinary forensics and works out of the University of Florida, in Gainesville. She has assisted with crime scene investigations in animal cruelty cases throughout the United States and described the importance of veterinary involvement in these cases at the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida.

“Crimes against animals affect more than just animals,” she said. “There is a strong and established link between human violence and animal cruelty. Crimes against animals can be a warning sign of future violent acts, and individuals who witness animal cruelty can become desensitized to violence. Animal abuse may also occur in conjunction with other crimes such as domestic violence and the illegal sales of drugs and guns

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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