Equine Owners Provide Valuable Insight Into Laminitis Cases

Many horse owners are well versed in the symptoms of laminitis: a stretched-out stance, reluctance to move and heat in the hooves, including a bounding digital pulse. Educated owners know to immediately call the veterinarian, as these signs are all indicators that a horse is experiencing inflammation of the laminae that connect the coffin bone to the hoof wall.

As the inflammation worsens, the coffin bone can detach from the hoof wall, sinking or rotating down through the sole of the hoof. This extremely serious condition can require a long recovery period and even result in euthanasia because of the pain and damage done to the hooves.

Scientists wanted to know if horse owners could recognize signs of laminitis in their horses; the Equine Veterinary Journal compared cases of owner-reported laminitis with cases that were confirmed by veterinarians so that they could determine if data reported by owners could help further knowledge of the disease. Some of the symptoms of laminitis are similar to other cases of lameness—which is where the potential for discrepancy in owner-reported and veterinarian-confirmed cases occur.

Researchers looked at data from 93 veterinarian-confirmed laminitis cases. In 51 of the cases, the horse's owners suspected laminitis and in each of those cases, the veterinarians confirmed the diagnosis. In the remaining 42 cases, the horse owners believed that the horse's lameness had other causes like colic, hoof abscesses or stiffness.

Horse owners were more likely to report increased hoof temperature as a symptom they believed were indicative of laminitis. Veterinarians were more likely to report shifting weight, difficulty turning and body weight as symptoms of laminitis.

The data from this research suggests that horse owners are valuable sources of information on laminitis cases. Based on the data, owners underreport the problem as they confuse the symptoms of laminitis with other issues. The researchers feel that this highlights the need for equine owner education so they can recognize the early signs of the disease.

Read more at Horse Channel.

 

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