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Investigators who previously reported risk factors for laminitis in a large study of the disease in Great Britain also have described the frequency of laminitis in the general population of horses attended to by 28 veterinary practices. The practices were primary care providers with 22 (79%) mixed practices and six (21%) equine-only practices. New or recurring cases of acute laminitis were recorded when diagnosed by a veterinarian based on clinical signs.
About one-half of one percent (0.5%) of horses were affected with one case of laminitis occurring for every 200 horses examined during veterinary visits or at risk each year. Based on this estimate in a similar population, one could expect to see one horse with laminitis each year for every 200 horses at risk. Laminitis occurred in all limbs but was most commonly seen (54%) in both front feet and was most severe in the front feet.
The most common clinical signs observed were increased digital pulses, difficulty turning and a short stilted gait at a walk. The authors felt the incidence of laminitis in this study was considerably lower than estimates from other British studies possibly due to geography, characteristics of the population at risk or factors related to study design.
— Wylie CE et al. EVJ 2013;45:681-687.
Overnight dexamethasone suppression testing could be a useful tool to identify ponies at increased risk of developing laminitis by identifying abnormal insulin and cortisol responses. However, test interpretations could be complicated by the influence…