Researchers in Louisiana collaborated with researchers in the United Kingdom to survey how veterinarians in North America have changed their approach to diagnosing and treating hormonal causes of laminitis since graduation from veterinary school.

The survey was distributed across North America online and mailed to alumni of Louisiana State University over 3 months in 2020. Results from 224 veterinarians who responded were described and compared with those from an earlier U.K. study.

Most respondents (67%) were in an equine exclusive practice, and 84% said they saw one or fewer cases of laminitis each week during their busy season for the disease, with only 16% seeing more than one case per week. Most respondents performed X-rays and endocrine testing (for pituitary disease or insulin dysregulation) on cases at the initial or follow-up examination, and 85% felt the endocrine testing helped them advise clients as to appropriate treatment, improved case outcome, shortened the time to recovery and decreased the likelihood of reoccurrence.

The veterinarians reported changing their approaches to diagnostics and treatment since their graduation from school in response to their experience, continuing education and research. Veterinarians from North America seemed more likely to X-ray cases earlier in the course of the disease but somewhat less likely to perform endocrine testing compared to those in the U.K.

The authors concluded that veterinarians have integrated increased testing and treatment for endocrine disorders in their management of laminitis and increased emphasis on the role of insulin could further improve the welfare of horses affected by or at risk for laminitis.

— Rumfola E et al. JEVS 2022;110:103856

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