Research Journal: May/June 2023

The information, ideas, and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the United States Department of Agriculture.

A Common Theme for Causes of Laminitis

The study of naturally occurring laminitis cases (including those attributable to insulin dysregulation also called endocrinopathic laminitis, sepsis, supporting limb overload and pasture-associated causes) and those produced using experimental models have identified several changes that occur at the molecular and cellular levels causing the failure of the lamellar bonds between the hoof wall and the coffin bone. In a comprehensive review of the literature, veterinary scientists at The Royal Veterinary College in London compare the various causes and propose a hypothesis that links them together.

Cellular necrosis, lamellar thickening and elongation, hypoxia, basement membrane degradation and separation and white blood cell infiltration have all been identified as elements of the pathology of laminitis, depending on the cause. The authors suggest that each of these different but interacting cellular pathways contributes to a shared outcome called bioenergetic stress that occurs at the basilar epithelial (cellular) level. They also suggest that naturally occurring pasture-associated laminitis could be somewhat unique as it may involve several of these different mechanisms associated with insulin dysregulation (hyperinsulinemia) and a deficiency of adiponectin (a hormone produced by fat cells that normally…

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Albert Kane

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

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