Did you know that together with WALTHAM™ Equine Studies Group and our collaborators in Universities around the world we have been carrying out scientific research to help improve the health and welfare of horses and ponies for nearly 30 years.  To celebrate British Science Week, we will be taking a look at some of our past and present work.

At a glance…

- Over 20 years of published research

- Over 100 published papers relating to laminitis, obesity & insulin dysregulation

- Founded the Laminitis Consortium – an international, collaborative research group that brings together vets, nutritionists and researchers all dedicated to improving our understanding of how to prevent laminitis and reduce laminitis risk.

Previous work has included:

- Showing that ponies with insulin dysregulation are more at risk of laminitis

- Showing that certain breeds are more prone to insulin dysregulation

- Improving our understanding of how to diagnose insulin dysregulation – the main feature of the equine metabolic syndrome (EMS)

- Undertaking the first prospective studies looking at how we might identify those at increased risk of laminitis

- Looking at how best to feed horses and ponies that are at increased risk of laminitis and how different diets affect blood insulin levels

- Determining how best to soak hay to reduce the sugar content – and what other nutrients are lost and therefore need to be supplemented

What are we working on now?

We have a number of projects currently underway focused on how we can better identify horses and ponies that may be at increased risk of laminitis. We are also investigating what may prevent us as horse owners putting in place management practices that help to manage the risk of laminitis. We hope this will help to ensure we are better placed to advise horse owners on how they may be able to adapt their horse or pony’s management and ultimately, prevent laminitis. Some of our current work includes:

- Investigating the reasons why evidence-based management practices may or may not be implemented by horse owners.

- Improving our ability to predict laminitis risk through evaluating in even more detail the information we have just collected over many years from ponies originally without any history of laminitis some of which went on to develop laminitis and others did not.

- Identifying potential factors in faeces that may be able to predict an increased risk of pasture associated laminitis.

- Improving our understanding of a hormone, adiponectin, that we initially discovered is typically decreased in those at higher risk of laminitis.