The free leaflet was developed off the back of World Horse Welfare-funded research that showed contrary to myth, laminitis strikes throughout the year.

Sam Chubbock, World Horse Welfare Deputy Head of UK Support, has been instrumental in a number of the charity’s initiatives including Right Weight and Need to Breed. She is showcasing the laminitis leaflet at the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Congress. She said:

“Laminitis is an extremely painful condition that can affect any horse, pony, donkey or their hybrids and so we have developed a resource that would be accessible to all horse owners, providing them with valuable information on the disease in a straightforward and reader-friendly format.

“While many people are aware of laminitis, there are still a lot of misconceptions that only certain types of horses are at risk or that it is more likely to occur in the spring time, so we wanted to address these myths in the leaflet and clearly set out the facts.”

While laminitis is one of the most widely known equine diseases, a study undertaken by vet Claire Wylie BVM&S MRCVS MSc PhD in partnership with World Horse Welfare identified that it could affect more than 4,000 horses in the UK every year. The study also showed that laminitis occurs all year-round with no prevalence during the springtime as previously perceived and revealed evidence that there are in fact more incidences during the winter months so owners must remain vigilant regardless of the time of year.  The study involved 28 veterinary practices over two years and its conclusions were published in The Veterinary Journal.

The information leaflet launched at the 2015 BEVA Congress sets out the different types of laminitis, explains how it affects the horse’s hoof, key symptoms and the treatment options. Most importantly, it provides valuable advice on preventing the disease and covers the two major risk factors also identified by Dr Wylie which include hormonal disorders such as Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID, also known as Cushing’s Disease) and an inflammatory response following either carbohydrate overload or an inflammatory disease like colic.

Sam adds: “Claire Wylie’s research study marked an important step in identifying laminitis risk factors and World Horse Welfare is once again working with the Animal Health Trust to fund the CARE about Laminitis study which builds on Dr Wylie’s research. The CARE study needs horse owners to submit information about their equines in order to build up an extensive database, which will be vital in learning more about laminitis risk factors so we can help prevent and treat future cases. The study is open to all horses, whether or not they have ever suffered from laminitis, so I’d urge everyone who hasn’t already done so to sign up and help join the fight against this painful and life-threatening disease.”