Evidence-Based Prevention of Laminitis in a Clinical Setting

University of Pennsylvania veterinarian and researcher Andrew van Eps shares what works in laminitis prevention, of which our understanding will change

Farrier Takeaways

  • If possible, the most effective treatment to prevent supporting limb laminitis would be scheduled physical therapy for at-risk horses.
  • For cryotherapy, a water-ice slurry mixed in a boot still works best.
  • Early diagnosis of endocrinopathic laminitis is important because this type of laminitis can be well advanced before any outward signs are recognized.

Dr. Andrew van Eps likes to get the bad news out of the way with audiences when lecturing on laminitis prevention. The associate professor of Equine Musculoskeletal Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine reminds that a cure for laminitis is improbable. Certainly, a laminitic episode can be addressed and the horse can be helped, but even with improvement, there is the danger of recurrence and sustained damage. The good news, however, is we understand intervention better.

“Intervention is through prevention, management of acute cases and management of chronic cases,” he says. “But prevention is the best time for intervention.”

Van Eps surveyed our current understanding of addressing laminitis and the keys of prevention and early detection. Although the overall picture is much more complicated, understanding what we know from clinical settings regarding prevention can help practitioners communicate with clients so they are more aware and can be more active in their horses’ care.

Supporting Limb Laminitis

First, in looking at supporting limb laminitis (SLL), van Eps says among the theories for cause, perfusion is more likely the leading limiting factor. Evidence from research shows that limbs under load can encounter arterial…

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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