Recent research suggests that laminitis is as common as colic. The study, led by Dr Danica Pollard, a PhD student at the Royal Veterinary College, found that one in 10 horses or ponies may develop at least one laminitis episode each year.
The research was conducted at the Animal Health Trust, in collaboration with Rossdales Equine Hospital, and funded by World Horse Welfare.
Laminitis is a debilitating and extremely painful condition in horses and ponies with significant welfare implications. It often recurs in individual animals and around 15% of equine deaths in the UK are linked to laminitis.
The study followed 1,070 horses and ponies in Great Britain and monitored regular updates on their management and health over 29 months. Laminitis was reported 123 times in 97 animals.
Despite a long-standing belief that laminitis is a spring-time disease, this study identified that there is no ‘safe’ season. Laminitis remains a threat across England, Scotland and Wales regardless of the time of year. The research, published in Equine Veterinary Journal, has emphasised that laminitis needs to be considered an important year-round equine welfare concern in Great Britain and owners need to learn to recognise the early signs.