Future Laminitis Research

A survey of American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) members identified laminitis as the number one disease that requires research. Therefore, the Equine Laminitis Research Meeting and Panel will be held in Louisville, Ky., on July 25 in conjunction with the AAEP FOCUS and Practice Management seminars. One of the AAEP's objectives is to be the "research coordinator" for the equine industry, and the AAEP Foundation is focusing its funding efforts on facilitating discussion and disseminating information on current and future research needs in critical areas.

The mission of the laminitis panel has been set forth as follows: To unravel the mysteries of laminitis to more fully understand the pathophysiology and risk factors involved in this disease in order to develop more effective prevention and treatment strategies.

The goal of bringing together some of the top laminitis researchers from around the world is to share collective knowledge, current studies, and future plans among multidisciplinary equine laminitis researchers, and to help develop a strategic plan to most effectively and economically address important scientific issues regarding this elusive, frustrating, and devastating disease.

Nat White, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, Chairman of the AAEP Foundation and Director of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Virginia, said that just as the AAEP did with the Genome Panel (studying the gene map of the horse), "We will try to get researchers together on different topics to discuss the current status of specific research areas and thereby focus the research, stimulate collaboration, and try to determine the funding needs to attain a real solution."

The project has been organized by Rustin Moore, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, Director of the Equine Health Studies Program at Louisiana State University. This project is being supported jointly by the American Quarter Horse Association, the Morris Animal Foundation, the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, and the AAEP Foundation. The AAEP has spearheaded the project and has set up the program.

There will be a lead presentation open to the public on "Overview of Pathogenesis of Laminitis--Theories and Models" by Douglas Allen, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, University of Georgia. A series of short abstracts from numerous groups will be presented. These abstracts will focus on new data that has not yet been published, including work in progress, future and planned. Details of methodology, models, etc., will not be presented for the sake of time, and instead the presentations will focus on results, findings, and interpretations.

A Blue Ribbon Panel of laminitis researchers will have a closed afternoon question and answer session led by a moderator and be open to discussion from invited guests only. That session will lead to development of action plans and timelines for five major topics or focus areas for laminitis research.

Included in the panel will be H. Steve Adair, DVM, MS, University of Tennessee; James K. Belknap, DVM, MS, PhD, Auburn University; Susan C. Eades, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, Louisiana State University; Jonathan Elliott, MA, Vet MB, PhD, MRCVS, Dipl. ECVPT, The Royal Veterinary College; David M. Hood, DVM, PhD, Texas A&M University; Phillip Johnson, BVSc, MS, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVIM, University of Missouri; James N. Moore, DVM, PhD, University of Georgia; Ann Olivier Carstens, BVSc, MS, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Christopher C. Pollitt, BVSc, PhD, The University of Queensland, Australia; and Douglas Weiss, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVP, University of Minnesota.

A report will be compiled and submitted to the AAEP Foundation and AAEP Board of Directors, the American Quarter Horse Foundation, the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, the Morris Animal Foundation, and each invited participant/guest. Horses and the horse industry will benefit from the shared information, more focused energies in attempting to better understand the causes of--and treatments for--laminitis, and a renewed interest in this catastrophic problem.

About the Author

Nat White, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS

Nat White, DVM, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, is the Jean Ellen Shehan Professor and Director at Virginia Tech's Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center. After receiving a doctor of veterinary medicine at Cornell University in 1971, he completed an internship and residency in surgery at the University of California-Davis from 1971 to 1973, and earned a master of science in pathology at Kansas State University in 1976. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). Dr. White, who has served on the faculties of both Kansas State University and the University of Georgia, joined the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in 1985, and held the position of Theodora Ayer Randolph Professor of Surgery at Virginia Tech from 1987 to 2003. A world-renowned expert in colic, Dr. White has authored several books on the topic including Equine Acute Abdomen and Handbook of Equine Colic as well as the surgical texts Current Techniques in Equine Surgery and Lameness and Current Practice of Equine Surgery. He has been a director for the ACVS Veterinary Symposium since 1997, and is a past president of the ACVS and of the ACVS Research and Education Foundation. Dr. White is a former director-at-large for the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and is currently AAEP President. Dr. White's research interests include pathophysiology of ischemia-reperfusion, epidemiology of colic, abdominal and orthopedic surgery, and treatment of orthopedic diseases. He is a member of the AAEP, the ACVS and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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