British horse owners sought for laminitis study

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A horse suffering from laminitis.
A horse suffering from laminitis.

A new British research project aiming to help horse owners reduce the impact of laminitis is being undertaken by the Animal Health Trust in partnership with the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

The four-year study, funded by the charity World Horse Welfare, will take a closer look at management factors which may contribute to the development or recurrence of laminitis within the British horse and pony population.

Through modifying these contributing factors, it is hoped horse owners can significantly reduce the impact of the disease

The trust, an independent charity, employing over 200 scientists, and the veterinary college aim to create a website where owners from all over the country can register their horses and ponies and assist in the regular gathering of information related to potential risk factors for laminitis, over a period of two years.

This will help establish a timeline of events and get a better understanding of the factors leading to laminitic episodes.

The study, to be conducted by Danica (Dee) Pollard, will follow-up on previous research conducted by Dr Claire Wylie in which factors such as rapid weight gain, increasing time since last deworming, box rest in the previous week and new access to grass in the past month increased the risk of laminitis.

Wylie’s study also revealed that factors such as feeding of additional supplements and transport in the previous week were associated with a reduced risk of laminitis.

These factors are all modifiable, meaning they could be changed by the owner, and this is why they are of particular interest to the new study.

Pollard, based at the trust, said: “This will be a very exciting opportunity for owners to be at the frontline of equine health research and contribute to a study which aims to provide evidence-based preventative strategies to combat laminitis.”

British horse owners interested in taking part in the project are asked to register their interest via email to danica.pollard@aht.org.uk.

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