Equine Dermatology Fund Established at Colorado State University

A new fund has been established at the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) to help support research related to diagnosing equine dermatology problems. The fund was created in memory of a horse who was euthanized as the result of a minor scrape on his fetlock.

Mary Lou Lane had owned her horse Cappy since 1986. In 2007, he sustained a minor scrape on one of his front fetlocks. Although Lane treated the scrape promptly, Cappy soon began to develop an infection and complications, including alopecia (hair loss) and lesions from his fetlock to the coronary band. Laminits was the next issue to set in, and soon after that, the hoof stopped growing completely.

Despite Lane's constant work with her veterinarian and farrier, Cappy's condition continued to worsen. Finally, after two and a half years, Lane was forced to euthanize Cappy.

In a final attempt to find out what had killed her horse, Lane sent Cappy's lower leg and hoof to Colorado State for examination. Researchers still have not been able to determine what caused the infection in the leg.

"Despite all her efforts, Mary Lou was unable to save Cappy, but wanted to do something to help other horses and their owners," Patricia Schultheiss, DVM, PhD,, an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, and a veterinary pathologist said in a statement on the Colorado State website. "What we hope to be able to do through this fund is to improve our equine dermatology diagnostics so that we can determine what a problem is, in order to help veterinarians develop better treatment plans."

"The goal is to provide financial support...for research that will identify the origins of specific equine dermatologic conditions and their possible connection to laminitis," Lane said, also on the website. "Veterinarians will be able to prescribe appropriate treatments which will stimulate healing to stave off dermatitis. Donations to this fund will ensure resources will continually be available to assist in the fight against the debilitating and sometimes fatal consequences of dermatitis and laminitis, which can strike any equine [sic] at any time."

For more information, contact Paul Maffey, director of development for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, at 970/491-3932, or visit Cappy's Fund to make a secure, online donation.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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