A cross sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence and associated risk factors of hoof lesion in different species of equines in Debre Zeit donkey health and welfare project (DHWP) and society for the protection of animals abroad (SPANA) clinics from November, 2009 to April, 2010. A total of 1020 equines (355 horses, 619 donkeys and 46 mules), which visited DHWP and SPANA clinics have been examined to assess the main type of hoof lesion and predisposing factors using personal observation and a questionnaire survey. About 67% of working equines were found out to be males and the remaining 35% were females. The result revealed that equines found in the study area were subjected mainly to cart pulling. The result of physical examination revealed that the main type of hoof lesion was wall crack (54.3%), followed by thrush (8.6%) and less proportion of corn and seedy toe were also encountered. The most commonly affected leg was found to be the hind limb having a proportion of 56.9%, while the proportion in the front limbs was 42.5%, and it was statistically (p<0.05) significant. The most commonly affected species of equines with hoof lesion were horses (19.7%) and the least affected (6.5%), were mules, which may be because of small number of mules included in the study. The risk factors, such as age, work type, sex and species, analyzed for the association with hoof lesion were found out to be significantly associated (p<0.05), while factor such as body condition score were not significantly (p>0.05) associated with the occurrence of hoof lesion. The result of this study suggested that in spite of various use of equine; they are confronted by serious health and welfare problems. Improper shoeing, old age and other risk factors: overloading, overworking and unnecessary neglect and general maltreatment were causing hoof lesions, which are still presenting health and welfare problems. In general, the findings of the present study warrant the consideration of more research and extension support in order to sustain and increase the contribution of equines to the community.
Keywords: Equine, hoof lesion, Debre Zeit, welfare.