Management of native ponies in Scotland under scrutiny for laminitis research

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A study on pasture-associated laminitis (PAL) on native breed ponies is under way in Scotland.
A study on pasture-associated laminitis (PAL) on native breed ponies is under way in Scotland. © Scotland’s Rural College

Owners of native breed ponies in the north-east of Scotland are being asked to complete an online questionnaire about the way they manage their ponies, for a study on pasture-associated laminitis (PAL).

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) PhD student Ashley Ward is looking for the owners of Northern European native-breed ponies aged four years and over, with no previous diagnosis of PPID (equine Cushing’s disease), to take part in the study.

Ward said results so far have highlighted region-specific management practices that owners employ to manage their ponies.

“Such findings could inform laminitis management in the future,” Ward said. “Unsurprisingly, the Scottish weather also appears to have a strong influence over how we manage our ponies.”

The study is one of two linked research projects aiming to identify previously unconsidered triggers for laminitis in ponies It is the result of a collaboration between SRUC, Waltham Petcare Science institute and Aberdeen University’s Rowett Institute.

It is hoped the research, which is also supported by the Roland Sutton Trust and World Horse Welfare, will help to establish suitable management strategies in order to reduce the occurrence of PAL. This would provide valuable information for vets and owners and could greatly improve the welfare of horses and ponies.

» For more information, contact Ashley Ward on projectPAL@sruc.ac.uk or telephone: 01224 711026.

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