Over 3,000 volunteers are needed for a new four-year research project into the causes and management of laminitis.

The study called “CARE (Creating Awareness and Reporting Evidence) about laminitis” aims to help horse owners reduce the threat of laminitis.

The research is being carried out by the Animal Health Trust (AHT) in partnership with the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), with funding from World Horse Welfare.

“We need input from as many owners as possible, so please register your animal today. Each and every horse is an eligible candidate and can join the study, regardless of past or present health status,” said PhD student Dee Pollard, who is doing the research.

The study builds on previous research by Dr Claire Wylie where factors such as rapid weight gain, increasing time since last deworming, recent box rest and new access to grass were shown to increase the risk of laminitis.

Dr Wylie’s study also showed that transport in the previous week and the feeding of supplements reduced laminitis occurrence.

In the new study owners are asked to keep an online diary giving general information about management, feeding, exercise and recent health history.

The information from the registered horses will be collected over two years, with monthly updates on changes in the management routine.

“Laminitis is a very complex disease and it will take a Herculean team effort to help tackle it. That is why we are asking all horse owners to participate in this fight against laminitis,” said Roly Owers, chief executive at World Horse Welfare.

Veterinary reports show between 2009 and 2011 laminitis accounted for nearly one in 200 equine visits.

Register for the project