Here are the latest equine laminitis research projects being undertaken at the RVC: 

Predisposition to Laminitis

This is a cohort study in which a group of 250 ponies that have never had laminitis before are being visited every 6 months for 4 years. Phenotypic, metabolic and management data is collected at each visit. At the end of the study, the ponies that have developed laminitis for the first time during the study period will be compared to those that have remained non-laminitic to determine the differences between them. It is hoped that an algorithm to predict future laminitis risk can be developed. This project started in 2014 and due to be completed in 2020/21

HOOVES: Horse Owners Views on Equine Science

The second study is focusing on horse carers’ awareness of evidence-based best practices and to identify barriers and drivers affecting the implementation of research-based recommendations with respect to laminitis prevention. An online survey was completed by 1,414 respondents who answered questions relating to a wide range of topics including where they obtained information relating to lameness, weight management and grazing, their thoughts on scientific research and whether they were able to practice management techniques known to reduce the risk of laminitis. The results obtained are currently being analysed. The next part of the study will involve conducting interviews with some of the respondents in order to explore this further with a small number of selected horse carers.

The Role of Adiponectin in Equine Endocrinopathic Laminitis

This project started in Spring 2020.
It aims to determine whether adiponectin receptors are present in equine lamellar tissue and if there is similar crosstalk between these three signalling pathways.
Secondly, the effect of hyperinsulinaemia, induction of tissue insulin resistance and pasture-induced weight gain on circulating adiponectin concentrations will be investigated in vivo.
Finally, in human metabolic syndrome, dietary manipulation and pharmacologic agents are used to increase circulating adiponectin concentrations and in turn reduce the associated cardiovascular disease risk. This project will determine whether similar approaches can be used in EMS. The effect of weight loss with or without dietary supplementation on circulating adiponectin concentrations will be evaluated

White pony grazing in a field
A 10 year old laminitis prone pony with a metabolic phenotype which includes hyperinsulinaemia and obesity. (Photo credit: Nicola Menzies-Gow)

flow meter attached to a pony's leg
Measuring flow mediated vasodilation in a pony using Doppler ultrasonography (Photo credit: Liz Finding)

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