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Vet J. 2012 Jul;193(1):58-66. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2011.10.020. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

Risk factors for equine laminitis: a systematic review with quality appraisal of published evidence.

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  • 1Epidemiology Department, Centre for Preventive Medicine, Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, UK.


Epidemiological studies into the risk factors for naturally-occurring equine laminitis are limited. There are a small number of such studies, although the results are inconsistent and remain disputed. The reasons for the conflicting results remain unclear. The aim of this review was to critically evaluate previous research in order to identify publications which provide the best evidence of risk factors for 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, risk factors and epidemiology. Publications which compared a case population to a control population and made inferences about parameters as risk factors for naturally-occurring equine laminitis were included. Information was extracted using predefined data fields, including 18 study quality indicators. In total, 17 publications were fully appraised. Six were considered to provide the most reliable information about risk factors for naturally-occurring laminitis. Information on signalment was well researched and there was good evidence for an association with chronic laminitis and increasing age. There remain inconsistent results for many other horse-level risk factors including gender, breed and bodyweight. Previous publications estimating risk factors for equine laminitis were of reasonable quality, although they were limited in the number and scope of the risk factors studied. High-quality, evidence-based studies are needed to identify further risk factors and to establish consensus over previously identified risk factors for different equine populations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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