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Expert calls for new approach to equine laminitis
Professor McGowan highlighted three major advances in the understanding of laminitis.

Study findings pave the way for new research and treatment

An equine specialist is calling for a new approach to equine laminitis as recent research shows most cases of laminitis are a clinical sign of systemic disease.

Writing in The Veterinary Journal, Professor Cathy McGowan from the University of Liverpool said that her findings ‘have provoked a rethink of our clinical and research strategies for this condition’.

For the past decade, Professor McGowan has been leading an investigation into laminitis caused by hormonal dysregulation and endocrine laminitis. Her ground-breaking work revealed that laminitis was caused by insulin - overturning previous ideas about the disease and paving the way for new research and treatment.

Professor McGowan gained an understanding of abnormal insulin regulation from her work as a veterinary specialist where she has treated many horses and ponies with endocrine diseases. She noted that what they all had in common was abnormal insulin regulation.

In her research, Professor McGowan highlighted three major advances in the understanding of laminitis: First, laminitis is now considered to be a disease that affects multiple organs and tissues, or affects the body systemically. Second, endocrine laminitis is now believed to be the predominant form in animals presenting for lameness.

Her third discovery was that, under the microscope, changes in the hoof lamellae were subtle in comparison with previous descriptions. She noted that some horses may experience a prolonged subclinical phase, as demonstrated by the development of divergent hoof rings visible on the hoof wall.

“These findings completely change the way we think about a very important disease in horses,” Professor McGowan explained. “This is very important to the equine industry and veterinary profession and will be the basis of future research directions.”

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”