What is laminitis?
Laminitis has the potential to strike any of Britain’s horses and ponies regardless of age, size or breed. It is a serious and debilitating disease, often leading to long-term lameness.
In most cases, once signs of pain and lameness are noticed in the feet, damage to the foot has already begun often leading to permanent changes in the foot. That is why working towards preventing the disease from developing in the first place is so vital.
Despite being a disease most horse owners have heard about, there is a still lot that is unknown about laminitis which makes preventing it especially difficult. So far, our research has focussed on identifying factors which make laminitis more, or less, likely to develop, as well as helping horse and pony owners to recognise it earlier.
We have found that as many as one in ten horses or ponies in Britain develop laminitis every year. A previous history of laminitis, lameness or soreness after routine hoof care, and weight gain were all found to increase the risk of the disease occurring. Importantly, 45% of owners we surveyed didn’t realise their horse or pony had laminitis before the vet diagnosed it, mistaking it for general lameness, a foot abscess, colic or joint / muscle stiffness. So, we now need to do more to help horse owners spot laminitis signs quickly, and work on finding out more about the disease so we can advise vets and owners on the best ways to prevent laminitis.
1/10 One in ten horses or ponies develop laminitis every year
45% of owners do not recognise laminitis as laminitis
Help our research into laminitis
We want to develop more useful tools, such as a weight tracker app, to help owners maintain a healthy weight in their horses. This tool could also be useful in tackling a number of other health problems associated with equine obesity, such as laminitis, colic caused by fatty tumours (lipomas) and musculoskeletal problems. But we need funding to do this, so please donate if you would like to help our research.
We are very grateful to the following for their ongoing support of this work:
Margaret Giffen Charitable Trust
World Horse Welfare.