Laminitis: where is new research heading?

  • The myth that laminitis only affects obese ponies is one that vets and research bodies are working hard to dispel. It is incorrect to think that all cases are caused by poor management. Laminitis does not discriminate and can affect any horse.

    • The Animal Health Trust (AHT) and Royal Veterinary College (RVC), with funding from World Horse Welfare, is currently conducting the first major study into the frequency of, and risk factors for, laminitis in Britain. This project is being carried out with the help of vets and horse owners across England, Scotland and Wales with the aim of increasing our knowledge. It is anticipated that the results from this study will be available at the end of 2011, with the provision of new management guidelines for owners for any identified modifiable risk factors.
    • The RVC is also working on a project called “Predisposition to pasture-associated laminitis: is exercise the answer?” that hopes to gain further understanding of the risk factors for laminitis and practical measures by which they may be reduced.
    • The Royal (Dick) School at the University of Edinburgh is currently researching hormonal cases of laminitis — specifically ways of evaluating and monitoring progression post-treatment. The aim is to begin investigating the role corticosteroids play in causing this type of laminitis.
    • The University of Liverpool, with funds from The Horse Trust, is analysing the results of its study estimating the prevalence of laminitis in the geriatric horse population to determine the importance of laminitis as horses get older.

    For the full veterinary article on beating laminitis, see Horse & Hound (31 March, 2011)

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