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Reference Desk April 2012

AAEP Foundation Seeks Participants for Laminitis Research Studies

    LEXINGTON, Kentucky—The AAEP Foundation has launched an aggressive $1 million campaign  to fund laminitis research and has initiated the first of multiple studies to help unravel the mysteries of this disease.

    Laminitis remains one of the most frustrating medical mysteries for equine veterinarians. The crippling effects of laminitis can threaten the life of a once healthy horse. Often, equine veterinarians are limited in their ability to mitigate the devastating effects of this complex disease.

    The AAEP Foundation is leading the charge against laminitis through an extended series of research studies (known as The Laminitis Research Project) that with the help of AAEP-member practitioners and horse owners, will reveal new information to help more veterinarians with diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of laminitis.

    By initiating collaboration among horse owners, veterinarians, and top researchers, the Laminitis Research Project will provide critical information to build the foundation for future laminitis research. The first study is underway, but help is still needed. "A Case-Control Study of Pasture- and Endocrinopathy-Associated Laminitis in Horses" is supported by the AAEP Foundation and Prascend® (pergolide mesylate), manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.

    This first study is designed to use data collected from naturally occurring cases of laminitis. Those interested in furthering this research by sharing information from eligible laminitic and control horses with the research team should visit http://www.vetmed.tamu.edu/vmth/laminitis.

    The objective of this project is to identify risk factors for laminitis that will provide critical information needed to guide research studies of the pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of new cases of laminitis. The goal is to provide new knowledge which will help owners and veterinarians both prevent and manage laminitis.

    The unique design of these studies utilizes collaboration of hundreds of AAEP members, horse owners, and caretakers to collect data using scientifically sound methods. The data will be analyzed to identify risk factors for laminitis. Because these are prospectively designed studies of naturally occurring cases of disease, they have the advantage of not causing any undue suffering in research horses while capturing the true nature of laminitis and predisposing factors. Furthermore, everyone – the backyard horse-owners, professional trainers, farm managers, farriers, solo practitioners, veterinary hospitals, and academic research institutions – can help with these studies, either by participating or by supporting the fundraising campaign. 

    Click here for more information about ways to support this research or to enroll a horse in a study.

    Source: American Association of Equine Practitioners

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