Reg Charity No: 1049266
THE HORSE WORLD TO UNITE FOR
NATIONAL LAMINITIS AWARENESS MONTH
If only preventing laminitis was simply a question of keeping fat ponies away from rich grass, but every year horses and ponies of every breed and discipline contract this excessively painful illness.
The Laminitis Trust, a charity founded by Robert Eustace, FRCVS, director of The Laminitis Clinic in Wiltshire, is organising Laminitis Awareness Month in May 2001 to educate horse owners and riders on how best to avoid this crippling and often fatal disease and to raise funds for vital research.
In its mildest form laminitis presents as a mild lameness, a reluctance to move, or the animal lying down to try and get some relief from its painful feet. Sometimes the horse will be sweating, groaning and blowing giving rise to the misdiagnosis of colic. After repeated attacks, however, the attachment between the pedal bone and hoof capsule starts to fail. This is described as foundering. The most severe form of founder is where the pedal bone becomes loose within the hoof and is described as a sinker the majority of cases of which will die without rapid and expert treatment.
Robert Eustace says: We recognise that laminitis can be brought on by a variety of factors, including stress. Trauma to the feet caused by excessive work on hard surfaces can cause laminitis particularly in show jumpers and endurance horses. But it is a fact that as many as 80% of laminitis cases could be avoided by sensible feeding and management. Particularly worrying is the unwelcome practice of feeding high calorie diets to horses and ponies in order to achieve so-called show-ring condition. Leading show judge and producer Robert Oliver joins me in saying that horses and ponies should be judged for fitness, not fatness.
Just one aspect of the work of The Laminitis Trust has been to pioneer an approval mark for horse feeds to guide owners towards those feed products which are safer to use both to prevent laminitis and during the treatment period. To carry the approval mark, feeds have to be submitted for scrutiny by The Laminitis Trusts Scientific Committee. Dengie, Spillers and Dodson & Horrell are manufacturing a selection of feeds which carry the Laminitis Trust Approval Mark and, to support National Laminitis Awareness Month, are producing helpful fact sheets and recommended diets.
Robert Eustace concludes: Laminitis is not a condition to be taken lightly. I have witnessed at first hand the misery it can cause. We intend that National Laminitis Awareness Month will create a platform whereby many of the old wives tales and misinformation are finally put to rest. Further vital research is essential, but until a cure is found, owners have the solution in their own hands. Sensible feeding and management are, in the majority of cases, the key to ending the unnecessary pain and suffering caused by laminitis.
Every equestrian association and organization
is being asked to support National Laminitis Awareness Month to aid
understanding, promote better management and help raise funds for a research
project. Many well known figures in the equestrian world have already pledged
their support. Please signal yours on the following fax back form or
How you can help
If you would like to help raise money or support National Laminitis Awareness Month please complete this form and fax back to
The Laminitis Trust Press Office on 020 8723 7683
The Laminitis Trust, Mead House Farm, Dauntsey, Chippenham, Wilts SN15 4JA
Tel: 0870 444 0676 Fax: 0870 444 0677