More work to be done
One of the key goals of the IECLDF board is to expand access to key information on laminitis via the website
http://www.laminitisconference.com/, which is continually updated with relevant articles and other pertinent information. By increasing the availability of critical
laminitis information to veterinarians, farriers, caretakers and horse owners, ultimately horses will receive the best care
and prevention for this crippling disease.
Also, a multilingual Laminitis 911 guide, a vital information resource for horse owners, farriers and veterinarians intended to be displayed in equine barns
and stables, is in the planning stages. The guide is designed to help combat equine laminitis by detailing the top 10 things
that can be done if laminitis is suspected. Experts hope this piece will be completed within the next year and distributed
to horse owners to improve awareness of the disease and explain the emergency treatment steps to be taken while awaiting the
arrival of their veterinarian.
The group is also working on a global, Web-based resource known as Laminitis Health Partners, a world map of veterinarians
and farrier teams working together to treat horses with laminitis. This will enable horse owners to locate teams of professionals
dedicated to treating laminitis anywhere in the world.
"It will be a directory of global laminitis experts that have developed advanced knowledge, expertise and interest in treating
these challenging cases," Orsini said.
The take-home message from the conference was clear: The best prevention for laminitis is identifying the at-risk horse early
using prophylactic methods to prevent disease and utilizing anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) when necessary.
"For the future, regenerative medicine provides some promise, but we still don't have the research evidence to support its
use clinically," Orsini stated. "The jury is still out on stem cell therapy, but it may prove to be very beneficial in the
future, especially if used early in the disease process."
"One thing remains certain," continued Moore. "The focus needs to be on gaining a better understanding of the triggering events,
various mechanisms, multiple pathways and risk factors so that we can more effectively and reliably implement preventive strategies
before laminitis develops, rather than struggling with the challenges of alleviating and reversing its devastating effects."
The overall goal, as stated by Moore, is to engage veterinarians, farriers, caretakers and the greater equine community in
a collaborative effort to advance, expand and disseminate knowledge through research and collective experiences in order to
effectively prevent and treat equine laminitis and disease of the foot.
Ed Kane, PhD, is a researcher and consultant in animal nutrition. He is an author and editor on nutrition, physiology and
veterinary medicine with a background in horses, pets and livestock. Kane is based in Seattle.