Deconstructing the Laminitis ‘Train Wreck’

Researchers have made great strides in understanding laminitis, but it remains a difficult disease to predict and treat.
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Deconstructing the Laminitis
Researchers are closer than ever to understanding each type of laminitis, but it’s still a difficult disease to predict and treat. | Photo: The Horse Staff
“At the turn of the century, we just thought laminitis was one problem,” said Andrew van Eps, BVSc, PhD, MACVSc, Dipl. ACVIM, of the painful hoof disease. “It probably wasn’t until 2007 or 2008 that we realized it wasn’t all the same thing. And now we really recognize there are three major causes of laminitis that have different pathways.”

Indeed, researchers are closer than ever to understanding each type of laminitis, but it’s still a difficult disease to predict and treat, said van Eps in his update on the pathophysiology of laminitis at the 2016 British Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held in Birmingham, U.K., in the fall.

“It’s a bit akin to a train wreck (and) trying to work out where the penny was on the track,” said van Eps, “and a lot of times when we look at laminitis, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Van Eps is probably best known for scientifically validating foot-cooling with cryotherapy to prevent and treat laminitis. At the time of his presentation, he was studying laminitis at the University of Queensland in Australia, but he joined faculty at the University of Pennsylvania late in 2016

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Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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