RVC vet begins PhD project on laminitis

By: Horse Deals

RVC vet begins PhD project on laminitis
RVC vet begins PhD project on laminitis

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC), together with WALTHAM® the research group that provides the science behind SPILLERS®, have announced that equine vet Elizabeth Finding, has joined them and the WALTHAM®-led International Laminitis Consortium to begin her PhD on laminitis.

Elizabeth will continue the essential search into why some horses and ponies are more at risk of laminitis than others.

Anecdotal information has suggested that there is often an increase in incidence in laminitis following cold frosty weather.

Previous work undertaken at the RVC has suggested that temperature may influence the reactivity of certain blood vessels of the hoof.

As part of her four-year PhD project Elizabeth will be developing novel methods of assessing blood flow so that she can analyse changes associated with diet and season.

In addition, she will be comparing innovative markers of blood vessel health between those that are and are not prone to laminitis.

"We hypothesise that ponies prone to laminitis have a dysfunction of the cells lining the blood vessels (endothelial cells)," says Elizabeth. "This may make them less effective in generating mediators which normally continuously dilate blood vessels and thus protect against the blood vessel constriction. It is thought that abnormal constriction may be initiated by the ingestion of too much rich grass especially under adverse environmental conditions.’’ 

The WALTHAM®–initiated International Laminitis Consortium comprises world-leading equine veterinary, nutrition and research experts interested in collaborating on laminitis.

It includes Dr Nicola Menzies-Gow and Professor Jonathan Elliott of the RVC, Professor Pat Harris of the WALTHAM® Equine Studies Group, and Clare Barfoot of Mars Horsecare UK Ltd. 

For more information visit www.rvc.ac.uk.