Four-year project to focus on management factors that may contribute to the development or recurrence of laminitis within the British horse and pony population.

A new research project that aims to help horse owners reduce the impact of laminitis is being undertaken by the Animal Health Trust (AHT) in partnership with the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

horsesThe four-year study, funded by World Horse Welfare, will focus on management factors that may contribute to the development or recurrence of laminitis within the British horse and pony population. Through modifying these contributing factors, it is hoped that horse owners can significantly reduce the impact of this important welfare problem.

The study will be supported by the creation of a new website, which will allow owners to register their horses and ponies and assist in the regular gathering of information related to potential risk factors for laminitis over a period of two years. According to the AHT, this will help establish a timeline of events and get a better understanding of the factors leading to laminitic episodes.

The study – to be conducted by Danica (Dee) Pollard at the AHT – will follow-up on previous research conducted by Claire Wylie, who found factors that increased the risk of laminitis included:

  • rapid weight gain
  • Dee Pollardincreasing time since last deworming
  • box rest in the previous week
  • new access to grass in the past month

Dr Wylie’s study also revealed that factors such as feeding of additional supplements and transport in the previous week were associated with a reduced risk of laminitis. These factors are all modifiable (can be changed by the owner), which is why they are of particular interest to the new study.

Dee said: “This will be a very exciting opportunity for owners to be at the frontline of equine health research and contribute to a study that aims to provide evidence-based preventative strategies to combat laminitis.”

  • Horse owners interested in taking part in the project are asked to register their interest via email to danica.pollard@aht.org.uk
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