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Vets speak out on laminitis control
A group of veterinary experts have spoken out about laminitis in horses.
BEVA Congress session highlights importance of weight management

A group of veterinary experts have spoken out about laminitis in horses, stressing that weight loss, diet and management changes are key to its control.

David Rendle, equine internal medicine specialist at Rainbow Equine Hospital, Andrew Van Eps from the University of Pennsylvania and Nicky Jarvis of Redwings Horse Sanctuary discussed the latest understanding on laminitis at BEVA Congress earlier this month, including causes, diagnosis, management and prevention.

Dr Rendle said that some 90 per cent of laminitis cases have endocrinopathic laminitis, “which is the same as pasture associated laminitis”. This involves either equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) or pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), but while greater understanding of EMS and PPID has helped in preventing laminitis, there is still much that remains unknown.

He pointed out that insulin dysregulation is often disregarded in the assessment of laminitis when PPID is suspected and warned: “If insulin dysregulation and metabolic dysfunction are overlooked in horses that are diagnosed (often incorrectly) with PPID and appropriate management changes are not implemented, the risk of laminitis may persist.”

On the management of endocrinopathic laminitis, he concluded that “central is clearly diet and management change, not pharmaceuticals.”

Andrew van Eps echoed the call for the early identification of horses at risk of laminitis. He said that management to reduce the risk can “include a combination of dietary control, pasture access management, weight loss and exercise which can dramatically reduce the risk of laminitis development or progression”.

Nicky Jarvis spoke about the serious impact of obesity on horse health, adding “the horse isn’t just a little bit chunky it actually has ‘ill health’ because of that amount of fat.”

The long term approach, she advised, “is rather than crash diets, either in the summer or once they have got laminitis, is to encourage people to realise that it’s a natural thing for horses to lose weight over winter. And, if we can get them to keep those rugs off and persuade them not to go to their local shop and buy supplementary feeds and grains just because they feel cold, we
wouldn’t have so many problems during the summer months.”

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.