Unique film highlights CARE study as research reveals half of laminitis cases might not be recognised as laminitis by owners.
World Horse Welfare has produced an innovative short film featuring a number of its rescue horses which is aimed at motivating horse owners to join the CARE About Laminitis study and drive research to identify risk factors for the disease.
One aspect of the CARE study investigated so far was the presence of agreement between owners and vets as to whether a horse had laminitis. From a number of clinically diagnosed laminitis cases reported via veterinary practices, horse owners had not suspected laminitis as the problem in approximately half of the cases.
PHD student, Dee Pollard, is leading the CARE study. She said:
“Equine laminitis is ranked as one of the top health concerns by both owners and vets. Most horse owners will have either had experience of laminitis themselves or will know of someone who has. However, it is a notoriously complex disease and diagnosis is not always straightforward. There are no clinical signs that are present in every case and laminitis can initially masquerade as another clinical problem, such as an abscess or colic.
“This makes it even more vital to raise awareness about the disease, to ensure earlier detection, and to support research that helps find out how we can best prevent it developing in the first place.”
Laminitis can affect any horse regardless of age, size or breed, so every horse owner can make a valuable contribution by joining the CARE study and this is a concept which is now brought to life through World Horse Welfare’s unique ‘Join the Charge’ video.
The film features a wide range of horses and their grooms taking action against laminitis and has already received more than 62,000 views on World Horse Welfare’s Facebook page alone. It was released for national CARE Day (10th Feb), where many people and organisations shared messages about the study to boost sign ups – achieving almost 200 new registrations to join the research.
The CARE study, undertaken by the Animal Health Trust and Royal Veterinary College, funded by World Horse Welfare and supported by Rossdales Equine Hospital, aims to help unite the equine community to shed light on laminitis. And, on National CARE Day, Dee asked all horse owners to get involved: “We need a collaborative effort by all horse owners, professionals and researchers to both increase awareness about laminitis and, in time, to help make early recognition of laminitis less deceptive.”
CARE is the first and largest web-based equine cohort study in Britain. Studies where a large group of members are recruited and continue to regularly contribute information over time, are called cohort studies. They’ve been extensively used in human medicine and are responsible for important findings that link lifestyle factors to an increased or decreased risk of developing certain diseases. The CARE study has set out to do exactly that for horses, in its mission to determine how common laminitis is and which equine lifestyle factors affect its development.
CARE members submit regular information about their equines’ health and management online. The initial baseline questionnaire covers all aspects of the horse’s environment, activity, nutrition and daily care. Following this, members are asked to check in on a regular basis and, if required, update these details. They also have access to an online weight tracker to monitor their horse’s weight and body condition. Many existing members find this routine of reporting information, especially the visual weight tracker, invaluable in helping make the right decisions to keep their horses healthy. Participation is open to all types, ages, sizes and breeds of horses/ponies, whether or not they have ever had laminitis.
Owners of over 1,500 horses and ponies have signed up to CARE already, but a further 1,000 are needed. Their contribution will improve the welfare of horses throughout Britain and help us stop laminitis taking control. To get involved visit www.careaboutlaminitis.org.uk