QUT Seeking Participation for 2014 Laminitis Study

QUT Seeking Participation for 2014 Laminitis Study

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is seeking veterinarians from around the world to participate in a laminitis study in 2014.

Photo: Christy M. West

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is seeking veterinarians from around the world to participate in a laminitis study in 2014.

Laminitis (a hoof disease in which the interlocking leaflike tissues called laminae anchoring the coffin bone within the hoof become inflamed and fail to support the bone) is a disease that does not discriminate: Aged, young, healthy, or sick horses can all fall prey to it. Fortunately, researchers have determined laminitis' major risk factors well-enough that horse owners can now try to prevent disease onset when a risk has been identified.

Preventive strategies vary widely as well and can include long-term (such as weight loss and exercise for an insulin resistant pony) or short-term efforts (such as pre-emptive cryotherapy in a case of retained fetal membranes). However, determining these preventive measures' success is difficult, and veterinarians are challenged to assess whether their efforts are actually reducing laminitis incidence.

So if we fail to divert this devastating condition, what is the likelihood of it recurring repeatedly after an initial episode? Currently, a lack of targeted research makes this a difficult question to answer. Common sense tells us that each episode of the disease is likely to weaken the lamellar structure and make further recurrence more likely. But what about other risk factors for recurrence?

Researchers at QUT have instituted a worldwide study to determine which management strategies put in place after an initial laminitis case are most successful, what factors influence the likelihood of success, and more. The QUT Laminitis Survey's goal is to identify the most effective laminitis prevention strategies. By monitoring laminitis cases for up to two years after occurrence, the study authors seek to determine what factors could influence a horse's or pony’s likelihood of relapse. They aim to reduce laminitis' recurrence rates, which in turn will reduce its significant mortality and improve horse welfare.

The QUT research team is asking veterinarians from around the world to submit data from laminitis cases they have diagnosed between March 1 and Nov. 30, 2014. The veterinarian and owner can report details of each case online using short, simple questionnaires. In return for being involved in the study the research team is offering each participant assistance with laboratory analyses of serum insulin and plasma adrenocorticotropin.

More information about the study is available online at www.qut.edu.au/research/laminitis-survey, or by contacting study coordinator Melody de Laat, BVSc, PhD, at melody.delaat@qut.edu.au.

About the Author

Melody de Laat, BVSc, PhD

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