SPILLERS®, as part of the WALTHAM® International Laminitis and Obesity Research Consortia, is continuing to support important research on laminitis and obesity, with its involvement in two new PhD programmes during 2015.
In some surveys around 50% of leisure horses and ponies in the UK have been reported as obese which increases their risk of several adverse health consequences including laminitis. Laminitis is a serious disease currently thought to affect up to 15% of leisure horses and ponies in the UK. It is therefore essential that we continue to investigate these important conditions. One of the new PhD programmes will explore the effects of diet on the microbiota of senior as well as obese horses. The other will try to discover more about predisposition to pasture-associated laminitis.
Under the supervision of Professor Caroline Argo (University of Surrey), the University of Liverpool Equine Hospital and the University of Aberystwyth will be involved in the dietary research. Improvements in equine nutrition and husbandry, availability of energy rich grass, combined with decreased workloads and improved veterinary care have compounded to increase both longevity and accumulation of fat in horses and ponies. Subsequently there is increased demand for improved nutritional management of senior (>20 years) and obese animals. The study will explore the effects of diet on the microbiota of such animals and examine how this information can be used to improve advice on their feeding and management.
The pasture-associated laminitis research programme will be based at the Royal Veterinary College, London under the supervision of Dr Nicola Menzies-Gow and Professor Jonathan Elliott It will continue current work trying to identify which individual horses and ponies are at an increased risk of suffering from pasture associated laminitis.
Previous projects supported by the WALTHAM® International Research Consortia have ranged from practical studies that have an immediate bearing on the day-to-day management of the laminitis-prone animal, to fundamental scientific research to help find the missing pieces of the complex laminitis puzzle.
Clare Barfoot RNutr and the research and development manager at SPILLERS® said: “SPILLERS is very fortunate to work with some of the world’s leading authorities on laminitis through the WALTHAM® International Laminitis Consortium. Our work not only aims to build our knowledge but also to give practical support to owners of susceptible animals.”