Friday, June 15, 2007

Laminitis Research Moves to the Manure Pile

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) laminitis researcher Nicola Menzies-Gow at the Royal Veterinary College is looking for manure from horses being treated with the Australian laminitis-preventative called Founderguard.

The product, which is not approved by the FDA for use in horses in the USA, has been shown to be effective in the prevention of pasture-associated laminitis — but can be difficult to obtain, even in the UK where it is available.

Our friends at the British horse magazine Horse and Hound have published an appeal for horse owners using the product to submit manure samples. H&H writes:

Menzies-Gow is looking into the consequences of long-term use of Founderguard, which contains the antibiotic drug virginiamycin. She is investigating whether the drug causes increased antibiotic resistance in equine gut bacteria.

Nicola said: "If we can demonstrate that any resistance that does occur is only temporary and not transferred to other bacteria, this will provide evidence that the product should be used for the prevention of laminitis, and possibly increase its availability."

If your horse is being treated with Founderguard and you would like to help with the research, email Nicola at

The original research testing the efficacy of the medication was done at the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit, under the direction of Hoofcare and Lameness consulting editor Chris Pollitt.

Critics of the drug in the US pointed to the possibility, which may or may not be proved by Menzies-Gow, that the drug lowers a horse's response to bacterial invasion.

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