Equine Laminitis; CARE Study Update
#EverythingHorseMagazine – Laminitis CARE Study- Horse Health
For March, Everything Horse Magazine focuses on Lamintis, as at this time of year many horse owners start to become increasingly aware of the risks to equines and look to put preventive measures in place. Over the following weeks our team will take a look at a variety of topics including signs of Laminitis, feeding for laminitis and products available on the market.
To start our Laminitis focus off for March, we touched base with the Animal Health Trust for an update on where the CARE study findings and results.
Brought to you by the Animal Health Trust
“Equine laminitis is ranked as one of the top health concerns by both owners and vets” reports researcher and CARE project manager Danica Pollard. “Many horse owners will have either had experience of laminitis themselves, or will know of someone who has. Laminitis is a major welfare concern due to the large number of animals it is thought to affect and because once a horse has had it, they are at a much higher risk of having multiple recurrent episodes, which can be life-threatening. Despite this, a knowledge gap still exists regarding the true frequency of this condition in Britain, as well as how to best prevent it.”
About the CARE Study
The CARE study, undertaken by the Animal Health Trust and Royal Veterinary College, supported by Rossdales Equine Hospital and funded by World Horse Welfare, aims to help unite the equine community to shed light on laminitis. “We need a collaborative effort by all horse owners, equine professionals and researchers to both raise awareness about laminitis and, in time, to help encourage earlier detection of the disease” continues Danica. “The CARE study is the first and largest web-based equine cohort study in Britain. Cohort studies have been extensively used in human medicine and are responsible for important findings that link lifestyle factors to an increased or decreased risk of developing certain diseases. The CARE study has set out to do exactly that for horses, in its mission to determine how common laminitis is and which lifestyle factors affect its development.”
The study was run from August 2014 until December 2016, with a total of 1,797 horses and ponies taking part. The initial baseline questionnaire covered all aspects of the horse’s environment, activity, nutrition and daily care. Following this, study members checked in on a regular basis and, if required, updated these details as or when their horse’s management changed. Owners of 60% of horses signed up to the CARE study submitted multiple updates during the study period which has resulted in a large data-set of approximately 7,800 observations. The CARE website (www.careaboutlaminitis.org.uk) also provided an online weight tracker which allowed study members to track their horse’s estimated weight and condition, with weight gain having been found to be associated with increased laminitis risk in a previous laminitis study. Many existing members found this routine of reporting information, especially the visual weight tracker, invaluable in helping make the right decisions to keep their horses healthy. The weight tracker is now available to the public as a down-loadable spread-sheet on the CARE website, along with many other top tips and helpful points of advice for anyone looking to find out more about laminitis, or horse health in general.
The data collected from the CARE members are now being prepared for analysis by Danica, who expects the results to be ready sometime near the end of the year. The results from the study will be available for vets and owners, to better protect our animals in the future. We look forward to sharing those results with you soon!