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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Grayson Foundation Funds Research Study on Medication for IR Laminitis Prevention

The Jockey Club's Grayson Foundation announced its new round of funding this week, with a whopping $1.1 million to go to research.

One of the new projects addresses a medication for laminitis prevention in horses with so-called Equine Metabolic Syndrome, or insulin resistance.

Here's the Foundation's description of the new project, which will be conducted by Dr Frank Nicholas at the University of Tennessee:

Levothyroxine as a treatment for insulin resistance in horses (toward a defense against laminitis)
Nicholas Frank, University of Tennessee. First year, $25,638

Approximately one half of horses who develop laminitis are on pasture when the disease develops. Sugar content of grass is believed to trigger pasture laminitis, insulin resistance accounts for some horses being more susceptible than others. This team has already shown that levothyroxine (LT4) can be safely administered to horses, induces weight loss, and increases insulin sensitivity. It is even more effective when given to horses with insulin resistance (IR), obesity and laminitis. This disorder is referred to as equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), and the study of the disorder reveals valuable insights into the relationship between insulin sensitivity, factors such as body fat mass, thyroid hormone status and laminitis.

This study seeks to expand the numbers of horses from the 8 that have been reported up to 20, to gain statistical significance. Then statistically sound results will be available for further studies on LT4 and it’s effects on laminitis sensitivity. This will be a pivotal study because the results will establish LT4 as the first effective treatment for IR in horses that are highly susceptible to laminitis. This would confirm the authors’ hypothesis that LT4 can be used to prevent laminitis in at-risk horses by improving insulin sensitivity.

Hoofcare & Lameness will endeavor to keep track of this study and report to subscribers on any new developments on this and all related studies to help IR horses with their laminitis problems.

Another laminitis study, to be conducted at the Ohio State University by Dr. James Belknap will examine the potential use of lidocaine as a preventative of laminar damage in the acute phase of laminitis.

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