The Push is on for Getting Rid of Laminitis
Ever since horses were horses, the issue of laminitis has been looked at. Back in the day, there were other ways approaching the subject of laminitis in horses, but nowadays there is a lot of research going on and while scientific breakthroughs are thin on the ground, much progress is being made at the same time. Now, horse owners can dream of a future without laminitis.
The latest research in Britain consists of projects that are concentrating on an area that we all know to be a very important component of health – both for us and for our horses. This is the area of diet.
Much of the project will also concentrate on the obese horse and the senior horse. These are subcategories with special needs and with particular dietary needs and the feeling is: presumably, that if you can sort out the problems of these horses and then you can sort out the problems of all horses.
During the course of the year, there are two programs – both at a PhD level – that will commence work sponsored by the British horse-feed corporation Spillers.
In Britain, they also have their problems with horse obesity and, according to some studies in the United Kingdom, up to 50% of all horses and ponies (excluding the competition horses) are officially obese – something that increases the risk of laminitis considerably.
All told, laminitis is thought to be present in about 15% of leisure ponies and horses in Britain. The studies will focus on both horses that are on feed supplements and those purely on pasture.
The people involved are from the Universities of Liverpool, Surrey and Aberystwyth and will be conducting the in-depth research in dietary practices. They will be looking at the effects of a combination of dietary changes, exercises and nutrition amongst other elements.
The demands on improved and more age-specific nutrition requirements for horses over the age of 20 are growing all the time, as people feel less and less like facing up to the inevitable and the general health of older horses improves.
In the past, there have been studies in Britain that have concentrated less around the dietary habits and more on the day-to-day management of horses suffering from laminitis. This round of enquiries, therefore, will be very complimentary to building a full and comprehensive picture of the health of Britain’s horses and it should be available to us in the US too.
One can only hope too, that the final frontier of horse health will be the next to be broken through. This is the whole business of flies getting rid of them and ending their nuisance and health factors in the horse herd. Fly infestation is becoming less of a problem since organic pest control came into being as a reality on so many ranches. Now that people have discovered that the best mosquito repellent does actually grow on trees, the progress has been really rapid.