Monday, August 26, 2013

Laminitis Research: Animal Health Foundation Studies, Scientists at Core of International Laminitis Conference

The following information is a press release from the Animal Health Foundation. Please feel free to share it on your website or Facebook page or in any other media you may think would be interested in news about laminitis research and education:

When the world’s leading laminitis researchers, scholars, clinicians, and farriers present their newest findings at the International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot in West Palm Beach, Florida in November, the work of the Animal Health Foundation (AHF) will take center stage.

Dr. Don Walsh
The announcement of the conference program and speaker list shows that critical laminitis research funded by the Animal Health Foundation will be shared at the conference by presenters from the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit (AELRU), Tufts University and Cornell University.

In addition, Donald Walsh DVM, president and founder of the Animal Health Foundation, will speak on his personal research into the history of relationships between obesity, grass founder and chronic laminitis. He’ll also moderate a panel with researcher Dr Nick Frank and change-agent farrier Gene Ovnicek, in which the clinical management of “real life” cases of metabolic laminitis will be analyzed.

Dr. Chris Pollitt
Chris Pollitt, BVSc, PhD, Director of the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit, will join Dr. Walsh on the faculty at the conference; his work has been supported by the Animal Health Foundation for many years. Dr. Pollitt will review the accomplishments of his team’s analysis of the function of the suspensory apparatus of the distal phalanx (coffin bone) and also reveal progress in early investigation of the lymphatic system in the equine foot.

In addition, Dr. Pollitt will present a stunning 3D process for creating digitally-enhanced equine anatomy models of hooves from CT scans, using a 3D printer. Dr. Pollitt has been a featured speaker at the six previous laminitis conferences.

Dr. Andrew van Eps
Traveling with Dr. Pollitt from Australia will be Andrew van Eps, BVSc, PhD, MACVSc, DACVIM, who received his PhD at the University of Queensland by researching laminitis with Dr. Pollitt at the AELRU; his previous contributions have included the first studies of the use of cryotherapy (ice therapy) to prevent laminitis. At West Palm Beach this year, he will lecture on cryotherapy, support-limb laminitis, and the use of pain medication for horses with laminitis.

Dr. Nicholas Frank
The newest face on the AHF roster of researchers will also be a key speaker at the conference. Nicholas Frank, DVM, PhD, DACVIM is a professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine of Tufts University, where he researches the endocrinopathic form of laminitis. His recent research to verify a new test to identify horses with insulin resistance was funded by the Animal Health Foundation.

Cornell University’s Samantha Brooks, PhD conducts laminitis studies funded by the Animal Health Foundation and submitted research that was accepted, but she is unable to present her lecture on the genetic mapping of susceptibility to endocrinopathy and laminitis.

To Learn More: The Laminitis Conference will be held November 1-3 at the Marriott Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida and will feature 60 lecturers and abstract presenters from five continents, a variety of educational formats, poster sessions, a trade show and social events. Visit to learn more.

About the Animal Health Foundation: The Animal Health Foundation funds research and education projects related to laminitis in the horse. That is all it does.

The Animal Health Foundation is an all-volunteer organization with an all-funds-to-research approach to finding both the cause and a cure for laminitis. Since 1984, the AHF has funneled $1.75 million dollars—most of it received in small donations from horse owners—directly into laminitis research. The grassroots-style organization is now known around the world as the critical driving force that is making a real difference in freeing horses of this terrible disease.

Appropriately, most donations are still written from the checkbooks of individual horse owners who have experienced the disease first-hand with their horses, and want to make a difference.

Donations to the AHF go directly to laminitis research and are fully tax-deductible. To learn more about the Animal Health Foundation: Animal Health Foundation, 3615 Bassett Road, Pacific, MO 63069;; or “like” AHF at

Photos for this article were kindly provided by Julie Plaster and Richard Booth.