Although grass can trigger laminitis, up to 90%1, 2 of cases are caused by an underlying hormonal condition, either Cushing’s disease (PPID) or Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS).
Moreover, analysis of Cushing’s test results from over 15,000 UK horses and ponies3 has identified that Cushing’s is not just a disease of veteran animals, but could be responsible for laminitis in any horse or pony over the age of 10.
In fact, more than a third of the 10-15 year olds within this group were positive for Cushing's.
These animals were tested because they were showing signs of the disease such as laminitis, abnormal hair coat, muscle wastage and fat deposits round the eyes. Horses or ponies with any of these clinical signs should be tested for Cushing’s so that the condition can be treated and managed appropriately.
With this in mind, the national disease awareness initiative ‘Talk About Laminitis’ will run until the end of October with free laboratory fees available for the blood test used to detect Cushing’s disease.
The initiative is aimed at raising awareness of the underlying hormonal causes of laminitis, and is supported by The British Horse Society, Redwings and World Horse Welfare.
To participate in the free testing scheme or for further information, talk to your vet or visit talkaboutlaminitis.co.uk to download your blood test voucher for free laboratory fees.
Early diagnosis and intervention are critical to help reduce the risk of further recurrent episodes of laminitis.
A new veterinary advice series - Vet Essentials – will also premiere in July on Horse & Country TV (Sky 280 and online with H&C TV Everywhere), sponsored by ‘Talk About Laminitis’.
Focusing on some of the most commonly encountered and debilitating equine diseases - laminitis, Cushing’s and colic - the three-part series will follow Horse & Country TV’s Jenny Rudall as she investigates each condition.
With world-leading veterinary experts, the series reveals more about laminitis and the latest thinking, unravelling the link between laminitis and Cushing’s disease and taking an in-depth look at colic and how vets respond to this equine emergency.
The series starts at 9pm on 23 July 2014.
1. Karikoski et al. (2011). The prevalence of endocrinopathic laminitis among horses presented for laminitis at a first-opinion/referral equine hospital. Domestic Animal Endocrinology 41 111–117
2. Donaldson et al. (2004). Evaluation of suspected pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction in horses with laminitis. J Am Vet Med Assoc;224:1123–1127.
3. Data from ‘Talk About Laminitis’ 2011-2013. Over 15,000 horses. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica