Electronic Records Could Help Solve the Laminitis Mystery

One researcher believes records collected by vets seeing horses in the field could offer new insight into laminitis.
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Electronic Records Could Help Solve the Laminitis Mystery
More than 70% of horses diagnosed with laminitis suffered at least one recurrence. | Photo: The Horse Staff
Thanks to technology, with a few clicks of a button you can now find directions to the nearest coffee shop, get a rundown of the day’s celebrity sightings, and book a flight or shop for groceries. But one research team thinks electronic technology might have another use, one that could benefit our horses and expand the collective knowledge about one of the most feared horse health concerns: laminitis.

“We still have a lot to learn about why some horses suffer the disease and others do not,” said Claire E. Welsh, BVMS, MSc(VetSci), AHEA, PhD, MRCVS, a medical statistician at the University of Glasgow, in Scotland. She believes searching through and evaluating electronic medical records could be key to finding the answers.

Welsh said electronic medical records from first opinion equine veterinary practices (not referral hospitals, but primary practitioners seeing horses in the field) could offer new insight into laminitis and its associated risk factors. In human medicine, electronic medical records are used regularly for research, but widespread use is still relatively new in veterinary medicine.

Veterinary practices across the world are collecting and archiving electronic medical records every day. “This data source contains huge amounts of useful information on millions of horses that represents an untapped resource for research that can be used as soon as it is acquired,” she said

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Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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