More than 3,000 horse and pony owners are needed to collaborate on a new web-based laminitis research project named CARE (creating awareness and reporting evidence).
The project aims to help all horse and pony owners reduce the threat posed by equine laminitis.
The four-year study is being undertaken by the Animal Health Trust (AHT) – in partnership with the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and funded by World Horse Welfare – is being conducted by PhD student Danica (Dee) Pollard based at the AHT.
It will take a closer look at management factors that may contribute to the development or recurrence of laminitis in the British horse and pony population.
Ms Pollard said: “This is an exciting opportunity for equine owners in Britain to actively take part in scientific research and contribute towards a study that seeks to improve the health and welfare of British equines. “We need input from as many owners as possible, so please register your animal(s) today.
“Every horse and pony is an eligible candidate and can join the study, regardless of past or present health status.”
This study builds on previous research conducted by Dr Claire Wylie, where factors including rapid weight gain, increasing time since last deworming, box rest in the previous week and new access to grass in the past month were shown to increase the risk of laminitis in horses and ponies.
Dr Wylie’s study also revealed other factors, such as transport in the previous week and the feeding of supplements, were associated with reduced laminitis occurrence.
Collectively, these factors are of particular interest to the new study because they are all modifiable and can be changed by the owner.
Through modifying these contributing factors it is hoped horse owners can greatly reduce the significant welfare impact
of this debilitating disease.
Horse owners interested in taking part in the ‘CARE about laminitis’ research project can register at www.careaboutlaminitis.org.uk