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Vet J. 2011 Sep;189(3):248-56. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2011.04.014. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

Frequency of equine laminitis: a systematic review with quality appraisal of published evidence.

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Epidemiology Department, Centre for Preventive Medicine, Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, UK.


Equine laminitis is a highly debilitating disease of the foot. Despite its perceived importance, epidemiological characteristics are poorly understood and the true frequency of the disease remains unclear. The objective of this study was to retrospectively assess previous research to identify publications which provide the best evidence of the frequency of naturally-occurring equine laminitis. A systematic review of English language publications was conducted using MEDLINE (1950-2010), CAB Direct (1910-2010) and IVIS (1997-2010). Additional publications were included by searching bibliographies. Search terms included laminitis, equine, frequency, prevalence and incidence. Studies that allowed frequency estimations to be made for naturally-occurring equine laminitis were included. Information was extracted using predefined data fields, including 13 study quality indicators. Sixty-nine publications were appraised. Ten were considered to provide the most reliable information, estimating the frequency of equine laminitis ranging from 1.5% to 34%. Previous publications estimating laminitis frequency were generally poor quality. Laminitis frequency varied across publications however the publications included in this review focussed on many of the different underlying laminitis aetiologies and comparison of the frequencies between groups would be inappropriate. High-quality evidence-based studies are needed to estimate the true disease frequency in different equine populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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