Study Examines Risk Factors for Laminitis

Researchers in Great Britain used a web-based questionnaire in a prospective study designed to investigate factors associated with the occurrence of laminitis.

Over a 2-year period, almost 7,000 questionnaires were obtained from owners reporting on 123 episodes of laminitis in about 1,100 horses and ponies. Most (93) of the animals only had one incident of laminitis while 19 animals has multiple episodes. Native ponies (Connemara, Shetland, Welsh, New Forest) were the most common breed type represented, with 58% geldings and an average age of about 15 years.

Similar to previous studies, a prior history of having laminitis, soreness after routine hoof trimming/shoeing and weight gain placed animals at a higher risk for laminitis. Other factors identified as increasing the risk of laminitis included pony breed, use of anti-inflammatories including corticosteroids — as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as phenylbutazone, recent deworming with a benzimidazole medication and trimming/shoeing intervals longer than 8 weeks. Grazing factors associated with laminitis included short term access to grass in the mornings, part time use of grazing muzzles and spending 12 hours or less time stabled and feeding rye grass hay or haylage. Animals with longer times to recovery from previous episodes of laminitis were also more likely to have repeated episodes of the disease.

Pollard D et al. BMC Vet Res 2019;15:59, open access

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Albert Kane

Albert J. Kane, DVM, MPVM, Ph.D.

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