The Animal Health Trust in partnership with the Royal Veterinary College has begun a project which aims to help horse owners reduce the impact of laminitis.

The four year study funded by World Horse Welfare will look at contributing factors to this problematic ailment and how they can be managed to limit the risk.

The AHT and RVC are creating a website and asking for horse and pony owners to register and assist them in gathering information.

They will need regular updates over a period of two years to establish a timeline and get a better understanding of the factors leading to a laminitic episode.

The study, to be conducted by Danica (Dee) Pollard, will follow-up on previous research conducted by Dr Claire Wylie. This research suggests factors such as rapid weight gain, increasing time since last deworming, box rest in the previous week and new access to grass in the past month increased the risk of laminitis.

 Dr Wylie’s study also revealed that factors such as feeding of additional supplements and transport in the previous week were associated with a reduced risk of laminitis. These factors are all modifiable, meaning they could be changed by the owner, and this is why they are of particular interest to the new study.

Dee Pollard, based at the AHT, said: “This will be a very exciting opportunity for owners to be at the frontline of equine health research and contribute to a study which aims to provide evidence-based preventative strategies to combat laminitis.”

 Horse owners interested in taking part in the research project are asked to register their interest via email to danica.pollard@aht.org.uk