Hot Flash: Laminitis

Heat, humidity eyed as possible culprits in helping touch off some cases of potentially deadly problem

LAMINITIS IS A dreaded malady. But until recently, our understanding of the disease remained painfully cloaked in mystery.

Hot new clinical impressions show a possible correlation between ground surface temperatures and an increase in the incidence of laminitis. We now know that the onset, or developmental phase of laminitis, can take a full 48 hours to develop. Unfortunately, this developmental phase often goes unnoticed or unrecognized. Yet what subtleties are really happening inside the foot?

Thermographic Research

Enter laminitis researcher, Dr. Chris Pollitt, from the University of Queensland in Queensland, Australia. As part of his ongoing research, Pollitt turned to the technology of thermography to help unlock the hidden mysteries within the foot. He recorded a pulsing, rapidly changing time-lapsed video of the heat that occurs within the foot during the first 48 hours of a laminitic episode.

Thermography, also called infrared or IR Imaging, shows minute changes in temperatures to help pinpoint areas of pain. The IR camera detects heat and creates images by converting radiant heat energy into signals that can be displayed on a monitor. Depending on the settings, different shades of gray or brilliant lava colors, portray the different temperatures — in this instance from coolest black up through blue, green, yellow to finally red and then white, the hottest.

Next enter equine veterinarian and farrier Dr. Jan Young of Cave Creek, Ariz., who was given permission by Pollitt to…

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