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About a year ago, nearly 50 equine hoof researchers and laminitis experts from around the world met to prioritize future laminitis research needs. They left the meeting with the intention of finding a way to conquer this crippling disease by 2020.
While they poured over more than 100 scientific study ideas and worked out guidelines for future research efforts, they recognized the biggest stumbling block is finding the needed funding.
The researchers determined it might require a scientific investment of $80 million to find the answers to laminitis. That’s a sum that likely can’t be found, especially with government and university scientists in all areas of research being hit with funding cutbacks.
Laminitis is certainly not a new disease, as there is evidence of it being a major equine concern as early as 300 BC, which means we haven’t found a cure for this disease in 2,310 years. Aristotle initially described this debilitating disease as “barley disease,” a name that was likely based on the development of the disease due to excessive ingestion of this particular grain, says Rustin Moore, an Ohio State University equine veterinarian and laminitis researcher.
A document published in 900 AD cited the major causes of laminitis as traveling on hard surfaces, hot horses drinking cold water and overeating.
Moore estimates 15% of the horses in the U.S. are afflicted by laminitis at some point in their lives. Some 75% of these affected horses eventually develop severe or chronic lameness and debilitation. He…