As we all appreciate laminitis is a serious, painful and incapacitating inflammatory condition affecting the tissues within the equine hoof. In some cases it can lead to euthanasia and any horse/pony can be susceptible. Improving knowledge about those at greater risk of laminitis and the possible risk factors involved will help to reduce the incidence of the condition and ultimately should help to prevent it.
The International Equine Endocrinology summit is held periodically for invited clinicians and researchers to share the latest findings or works in progress on the subject of equine endocrinology, with emphasis on PPID and EMS/insulin dysregulation. This year the event was supported by the Havemeyer Foundation and Boehringer Ingelheim. Members of the WALTHAM® International Laminitis and Obesity Research Consortium gave nine of the 50 presentations, including how best to identify those animals with insulin dysregulation that could be at increased risk of laminitis.
The WALTHAM® International Laminitis and Obesity Research Consortium has also had several peer-reviewed papers recently published or about to be published:
· One, to be published this June in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, demonstrates limitations in the horse owner and enthusiast’s ability to identify overweight animals from photographic images and suggests that perceptions of weight/condition have shifted recently and may alter depending on what activity the horse/pony is intended for.1 This supports the finding of a paper from the other side of the world, published at the end of last year, which showed that owners can find it difficult to recognise obesity.2
· Another paper, which has just been published in Plos One, outlines a novel scoring system for looking at the association of regional fat deposits with clinical disease.3
· A very relevant paper, which has been available previously online, will also be published this June in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. It confirms that Cold-blooded type animals <149cm, such as certain native ponies, as well as those kept on high quality pasture are at an increased risk of developing laminitis for the first time. It also highlights the important role that a change in grass intake, in terms of both type and amount, may play at any time of the year not only the spring as commonly thought.4
· Another study due to be published in the Australian Veterinary journal later this year suggests that unfortunately the recommended changes in feeding and management to help reduce the risk of laminitis are not always followed, even in those animals that have already suffered from the condition. 5
· Finally two key papers, one describing the conclusions of the first ever prospective study looking at factors that could help predict which animals may develop laminitis within a group of unaffected animals and the other looking at how feeding may influence the interpretation of the oral sugar test, are currently in press in the Equine Veterinary Journal.5
Clare Barfoot RNutr and the research and development manager at SPILLERS® said:
“Not only are we very proud to be at the forefront of important scientific research that helps horse owners reduce to the risk of laminitis but the findings also provide us with invaluable information to enable us formulate our feeds appropriately. Current understanding still supports the use of high fibre, low sugar and starch, low glycaemic feeds, making SPILLERS HAPPY HOOF® the ideal choice.”
SPILLERS® HAPPY HOOF® is a specially blended, low calorie, short-chop forage which contains all the vitamins and minerals your horse needs to stay in good health. Approved by The Laminitis Trust, it can be used as a bucket feed or as a replacement for hay and is specifically designed to extend eating time.