When it comes to laminitis, everyone’s got a pet theory–their favorite explanation of why it occurs, how to prevent it, and/or how to treat it. The reason we have these theories is because research hasn’t yet been able to give us solid, unassailable explanations for much of the disease’s processes and treatment.

But there are some concepts that we do know, for sure, about laminitis. During the recent Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium, held Jan. 25-28 in Louisville, Ky., Rustin Moore, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, professor and chair of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at The Ohio State University, reviewed research on several aspects of laminitis for the audience of farriers and veterinarians.

"A complete knowledge and understanding of laminitis and its complex pathophysiologic cascade remains elusive despite substantial efforts by many scientists and clinicians over the last few decades, and, thus, preventive and therapeutic management strategies remain empirical and anecdotal with little emphasis on evidence-based medicine," he began. "Today I will review the pathophysiology of laminitis as well as principles and current thinking on preventive and treatment strategies, and discuss selected research studies and their practical implications."

Anatomy and Causes
Moore first quickly reviewed the anatomy of the laminae that attach the horse’s hoof to the coffin bone within his foot. "There are dermal (inner) and epidermal (outer) laminae�interdigitating (interlocking) leaflike tissues that have primary and secondary projections to provide a large surface area for atta