CHAL­LENGES OF DE­TECT­ING EARLY LAMINI­TIS

In 45 per­cent of the cases, the own­ers did not rec­og­nize the signs of lamini­tis and in­stead sought vet­eri­nary help to in­ves­ti­gate un­de­fined lame­ness, foot ab­scesses, colic or stiff­ness.

EQUUS - - Eq Medical Front -

As feared as lamini­tis may be, re­search sug­gests that horse own­ers may eas­ily con­fuse sub­tler signs of the dis­ease with other com­mon con­di­tions.

A painful in­flam­ma­tion of the soft tis­sues of the hoof, lamini­tis is char­ac­ter­ized by lame­ness in the af­fected feet and a stance that re­lieves pres­sure on them. How­ever, a study from Eng­land shows that other lamini­tis signs, which in­clude a short, stilted gait, bound­ing dig­i­tal pulses, dif­fi­culty mak­ing a tight turn, and re­luc­tance to move for­ward, es­pe­cially over hard or un­even sur­faces, are some­times over­looked.

To de­ter­mine how read­ily horse own­ers can iden­tify lamini­tis, re­searchers at the Royal Vet­eri­nary Col­lege in Hert­ford­shire, the An­i­mal Health Trust and Ross­dales Equine Hos­pi­tal in Suf­folk un­der­took a joint project, invit­ing 25 vet­eri­nary prac­tices to sub­mit lamini­tis re­port­ing forms (LRFs) for cases of the con­di­tion treated from Jan­uary 2014 to Oc­to­ber 2015.

For each of the lamini­tis cases they treated, vet­eri­nar­i­ans were asked to de­scribe clin­i­cal signs, un­der­ly­ing con­di­tions and risk fac­tors iden­ti­fied in the horse. In ad­di­tion, if the owner had re­quested a vet­eri­nary visit be­cause they sus­pected their horse had lamini­tis, they were in­vited to com­plete a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the LRF, which in­cluded sim­i­lar ques­tions.

In all, LRFs were col­lected from vet­eri­nar­i­ans for 93 cases of lamini­tis and 51 from own­ers. The re­searchers found that all 51 of the horses whose own­ers sus­pected lamini­tis ended up be­ing di­ag­nosed with the con­di­tion. How­ever, in an ad­di­tional 42 cases---45 per­cent---own­ers did not rec­og­nize the signs of lamini­tis and in­stead sought vet­eri­nary help to in­ves­ti­gate un­de­fined lame­ness, foot ab­scesses, colic or stiff­ness. Own­ers were found to iden­tify lamini­tis more com­monly in pony breeds com­pared to horse breeds, and the ma­jor­ity of own­ers that rec­og­nized lamini­tis had pre­vi­ous di­rect ex­pe­ri­ence with the dis­ease.

The re­searchers con­clude that “fail­ure of lamini­tis recog­ni­tion by own­ers high­lights fur­ther need for ev­i­dence­based ed­u­ca­tion to en­sure early dis­ease de­tec­tion.” They add that this re­search was part of a larger World Horse Wel­fare-funded study aimed at pro­vid­ing fur­ther ev­i­dence on the fre­quency of---and risk fac­tors for---equine lamini­tis in Great Britain.

Ref­er­ence: “Assess­ment of horse own­ers’ abil­ity to rec­og­nize equine lamini­tis: A cross-sec­tional study of 93 vet­eri­nary di­ag­nosed cases in Great Britain,” Equine Vet­eri­nary Jour­nal, May 2017

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