Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is a twice-a-month web segment that is designed to add to the education of footcare professionals when it comes to effectively feeding the hoof. The goal of this web-exclusive feature is to zero in on specific areas of hoof nutrition and avoid broad-based articles that simply look at the overall equine feeding situation.
Below you will find the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: How well do horse owners do in spotting the early stages of laminitis?
By Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D.
A: In a recent study, a veterinary surgeon in the United Kingdom diagnosed 93 horses with laminitis. Some 51 of those horses’ owners had suspected their horses were suffering from laminitis and were correct. On the other hand, owners of the remaining 42 horses believed their animals were suffering from an alternate cause of lameness, such as an abscess, bruised sole, navicular disease or musculoskeletal stiffness. A few owners even thought their horses were suffering from colic.
The researchers noted that a failure of laminitis recognition by owners highlights a further need for evidence-based education to ensure early disease detection. In turn, early detection of laminitic horses permits prompt intervention to potentially decrease the severity and duration of disease.
Proper nutrition aimed at preventing problems in the feet and maintaining an appropriate body condition score are two important ways owners can help minimize the development of laminitis.
As an aside, the research team also documented that horse owners familiar with the clinical signs of laminitis often institute treatment without veterinary intervention. Lack of veterinary involvement when managing laminitic horses could result in the failure to recognize underlying causes, such as Cushing’s disease or insulin dysregulation, or failure to appreciate the severity of the disease. Have your horse examined by a veterinarian if any change in your horse’s condition develops.
Kathleen Crandell is an equine nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research in Versailles, Ky.
Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is brought to you by W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine).
Like many significant achievements, Absorbine® grew out of humble beginnings—and through the tenacity of someone willing to question the status quo. In this case, it was a young woman in late 19th-century Massachusetts: Mary Ida Young. Her husband, Wilbur Fenelon Young, was an enterprising piano deliveryman who relied on the couple’s team of horses to make deliveries throughout the Northeast. Inspired by Mary Ida and Wilbur’s vision, Absorbine® has continued to add innovative products throughout the years — products used every day by horse owners around the world. Which is why, since 1892, we’ve been The Horse World’s Most Trusted Name®.