Laminitis Puzzle in the Spotlight

Florida conference tackles laminitis and other foot problems

A study by Catherine McGowan of the University of Helsinki using healthy ponies led to the discovery of a role for insulin in the pathogenesis of laminitis. McGowan believes insulin is the final trigger for laminitis, and suggests that future research should focus on the causes of insulin resistance. She believes detection and control of clinical hyperinsulinemia will facilitate detection and management of laminitis.

Laminitis continues to be an all too common, devastating mystery — extremely painful for affected horses, frustrating for those treating them and sometimes ruinous to equine businesses. We don’t yet know how to prevent it 100%, and we can’t always treat it effectively enough to bring affected horses back to work.

But educational events like the Fourth International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, held Nov. 2 through 4 in West Palm Beach, Fla., bring together researchers working on the problem worldwide to raise the collective understanding of the topic. The goal is to generate collaborative work and disseminate findings to the veterinarians and farriers on the front lines of the war against laminitis.

“Due to the tragic demise of the great racehorse Barbaro, the awareness of this disease has reached its apex,” said conference director James Orsini, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, of the University of Pennsylvania. He described the conference, a joint venture between the University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State University, and the University of Florida, as “the centerpiece of a multi-pronged campaign against laminitis.”

The next initiative, he announced, will be the…

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Christy West

Christy West is a freelance writer and the Web site editor for The Horse. She is also a former editor of American Farriers Journal.

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