Recent laminitis research in Britain has revealed that half of laminitis cases might not be recognized as such by horse owners.

The CARE about Laminitis study has explored “the presence of agreement between owners and vets” as to whether a horse had laminitis. From several clinically diagnosed laminitis cases reported via veterinary practices, horse owners had not suspected laminitis as the problem in about half of the cases.

To help motivate horse owners to join the study, leading international charity World Horse Welfare has produced a short film featuring several of its rescue horses.

The film features a wide range of horses and their grooms taking action against laminitis and has already received more than 62,000 views on World Horse Welfare’s Facebook page alone. It was released for national CARE Day (Feb. 10), where many people and organizations shared messages about the study to boost sign ups – achieving almost 200 new registrations to join the research.

“Most horse owners will have either had experience of laminitis themselves or will know of someone who has,” says PhD student Danica Pollard, who is leading the study. “However, it is a notoriously complex disease and diagnosis is not always straightforward. There are no clinical signs that are present in every case and laminitis can initially masquerade as another clinical problem, such as an abscess or colic.

“This makes it even more vital to raise awareness about the disease, to ensure earlier detection, and to support research that helps find out how we can best prevent it developing in the first place.”

The CARE study, undertaken by the Animal Health Trust and Royal Veterinary College, funded by World Horse Welfare and supported by Rossdales Equine Hospital, aims to help unite the equine community to shed light on laminitis.

“We need a collaborative effort by all horse owners, professionals and researchers to both increase awareness about laminitis and, in time, to help make early recognition of laminitis less deceptive,” Pollard says.

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