|dc.description.abstract||Although equine laminitis has apparently been known for more than 2000 years (Heymering, 2010), the disease is still not completely understood and requires further research. Numerous
treatment strategies are applied, but the overall success rate is still unsatisfactory.
Furthermore, the establishment of an efficient treatment plan is complicated by the diversity
of underlying diseases and the individual nature of each case.
The results obtained from this retrospective study may contribute to clinical decision-making
by presenting outcomes of chronic and acute cases of equine laminitis over a 5-year period.
Whereas acute laminitis could be managed adequately by medical and supportive care in the
majority of cases, the treatment failed in most of the animals suffering from chronic laminitis.
57.14% of these animals were euthanized during their hospitalization or within a short period
following their discharge from the clinic. Some of these horses and ponies might have
benefited from surgical intervention, and deep digital flexor tenotomy or hoof wall resection
may save those animals that are unresponsive to other treatment strategies.
No adverse effects of acepromazine or heparin during the acute phase were noted in any of
the cases. In fact, most animals that received this medical treatment plus hoof casts recovered
without progressing to the chronic phase and 80% of all animals with acute laminitis regained
their original performance. In addition, those animals that were admitted during or before the
onset of the acute phase of laminitis received immediate medical treatment against any
underlying diseases. As a result it can be assumed that the faster the underlying diseases, thus
the laminitis trigger-factors, are eliminated and the clinical symptoms of laminitis are detected
and reacted to, the better are the chances for complete recovery.
The most frequent cause of equine laminitis, determined in this study, was disorders of the
equine intestinal tract with a share of 34.04%. Frequent monitoring of the hooves of horses
and ponies with prolonged and severe intestinal disorders or inflammatory diseases;
prophylactic administration of acepromazine and heparin; and preventive cooling of the distal
limbs may help to entirely spare these animals and their owners the distress associated with
Even though the overall frequency of equine laminitis was rather low in this study (1.7%), the
disease is definitely a very serious medical condition which, if allowed to progress, can quite
often have a fatal outcome. Many cases of equine laminitis go undetected for a long period of time until it is too late for the horse or pony to gain a satisfactory degree of recovery and to
return to its original performance. Therefore, understanding the numerous risk factors for
laminitis and how to prevent or control them, as well as recognizing the symptoms of
laminitis are paramount. However, it is equally important to understand the pathomechanisms
and the course of the disease in order to create a more targeted and effective treatment plan
that can be tailored to individual cases.||en