Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Laminitis Conference: 2011 Program and Speakers Announced

Dr. Chris Pollitt used thermography to capture the ebb and flow of temperature change in a foot during the onset of acute laminitis over 48 hours (note numbers in the frames) during a research trial at the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit. Dr. Pollitt returns to West Palm Beach to speak at his sixth consecutive conference; he's the only speaker to have been on the roster for all six meetings.

Hoofcare and Lameness is pleased to announce its support for the 6th International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot (a.k.a. "The Laminitis Conference" or more casually known as "Palm Beach Laminitis"). The program is now complete and you're invited to visit the web site and peruse the lectures and workshops and speakers.

The event: 6th International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot
The dates: October 29-31, 2011
The place: West Palm Beach Marriott, West Palm Beach, Florida
Early discount registration deadline: September 10, 2011
Registration fees include meals and all related events
Trade show and sponsorship opportunities are available 

As in past years, all paid subscribers on the roster of Hoofcare and Lameness Journal will receive invitations to the conference. This is the only outside use of the subscriber list that is allowed beyond the walls of this office, so you know this must be an event that is important not to miss. Watch for an announcement in the mail soon, assuming we have your current address.

Non-US subscribers might not receive the mailing, but be sure to look into coming.
This video was made for the opening session of the 2009 Laminitis Conference. Actress Glenn Close was honored at conference (her horse did not survive laminitis); Mr and Mrs Castle, featured on the video, lost their horse Spot, and are key sponsors and friends of the Conference. Mark and Carol Zebrowski stayed involved after losing Cotton and are now active in planning the laminitis conference. 

As in previous years, the event will have two tracks, "scientific" and "practical", (roughly equivalent to "research" and "clinical"/"in the field") as well as an additional caregiving program that is designed for horse owners, but would benefit anyone interested in the care of lame horses.

If you have attended this event in the past, you know that the program is only part of what should attract people to this event. There will be additional events and activities announced later. 

James Orsini DVM, DACVS
Jim Orsini, DVM, DACVS of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine is once again the director of the conference. Rustin Moore, DVM, PhD, DACVS is the chair of the program, with John Peroni, DVM, MS, DACVS of the University of Georgia chairing the scientific program.

Rustin Moore DVM,PhD,DACVS
I was privileged to chair the practical program again this time, with the able assistance of  Amanda House DVM of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Scott Morrison of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital and Pat Reilly of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. I think I've worn them out with brainstorming.

Chris Pollitt, BVSc, PhD
As is the custom, the conference is organized by a "program first" planning process instead of a random selection of topics based on inviting speakers first. Four themes to be covered in the conference are centered on the key words "insulin", "inflammation" and "intervention"; a special theme of the practical program is new advances in our knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the foot, both shod and unshod, domestic and wild, large and small, young and old.

David Hood, DVM, PhD
A special in-depth multi-speaker panel will discuss, with audience interaction, the "new normal" horse foot and the variations in the types of feet that make so few assumptions possible.

Some of the key announcements in the practical program include:

The return of David Hood PhD DVM to the speaker roster. Dr. Hood will concentrate on his studies of chronic laminitis and, in particular, evaluating relative lameness, changes in gait and aspects of movement and weightbearing in the foundered horse that need to be considered (and recognized) separately from normal lameness. How do you judge the improvement of a chronically foundered horse based on its movement, rather than just on a radiograph? And does severe lameness permanently alter a horse's landing and weightbearing pattern?

Simon Collins, PhD
Dr Hood will also give a workshop on working on "the unwanted hoof", or on neglected or abused horses that are turned over to him by charity and rescue organizations. He now has a herd of foundered horses looking to him for recovery so they can be re-homed. I'm looking forward to seeing his cases--and his solutions for these horses. This should be helpful to anyone, but in particular when people are seeking low-cost rehabilitation of chronic founder cases or want to completely surrender their laminitic horses. This scenario is facing veterinarians and farriers around the world, and many of these horses can be rehabilitated and re-homed. Dr. Hood will share how he does it and what treatment and ethics might be involved.

Scott Morrison DVM
Chris Pollitt, BVSc, PhD will be leaving behind an almost-empty Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit; he will attend along with three of his key researchers (Simon Collins, Brian Hampson,and Melody de Laat) who are all speaking, as well as Andrew Van Eps DVM, PhD, DACVIM, of the University of Queensland vet school, who earned his PhD studying laminitis with Dr. Pollitt.

Dr. Pollitt will be sharing the latest research findings from his lab, and will host a special session of innovative 3-D anatomy of the horse hoof and laminitis, along with the AELRU's Simon Collins. 

Raul Bras DVM, CJF
Scott Morrison DVM and Raul Bras DVM from Rood and Riddle will bring with them the latest treatment regimen in use in their program, which has a very large laminitis case load. In particular, they will speak on hoof evaluation and treatment options (such as matching case parameters to treatments and judging the viability of weightbearing structures before putting them under stress), the use of umbilical stem cells for chronic laminitis, case strategies to avoid and treat support-limb laminitis, and the use of hoof casts with acute sinker syndrome.

Lisa Lancaster PhD, DVM
One of several new faces at the conference will be Lisa Lancaster MSc, PhD, DVM, the popular author of many articles in Hoofcare and Lameness (along with Drs Morrison, Pollitt and Hood) and the author of The Sound Hoof. Dr. Lancaster will review her histological and laboratory analysis of hoof flares and the white line at the toe crena, both conducted at the Equine Foot Laboratory at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine with Dr Robert Bowker, as well as her experiences in using medical acupuncture for both acute and chronic laminitis, and the difference between the two. Lisa currently assists in teaching medical acupuncture at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and is particularly interested in using acupuncture therapy to help horses on both sides of the laminitis coin--and there is a difference, she contends.

Brian Hampson, PhD
The second new face is Brian Hampson PhD. The PhD is a new one; Brian has just completed years of research at the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit, but instead of studying lamintis directly, he studied the hooves of wild horses. His findings will surprise you.

Brian studied wild horse hooves from a variety of climates and terrains and conducted very careful research. His lectures will focus on what environment does to hooves, particularly the laminar interface, when no humans are around. He'll also talk about laminitis as it appears in each of these foot types--when, why and how. Again, more surprises.

Aaron Gygax, CJF
Farrier Aaron Gygax lived in the United States for a while, working in Palm Beach and at Rood and Riddle, but he is now back in his native Switzerland. He'll be focusing on working with upper-level sport horses who are under pressure to stay in competition training despite their hoof problems and lameness issues. Aaron spoke at the conference in 2007, and was one of the most-asked-for farrier speakers. Don't worry, his English is great!

Pat Reilly
Farrier Pat Reilly of New Bolton Center has taken on the challenge of speaking on what it's like being the referral farrier for the barefoot horse; what's different for these horses in the field and in the clinic, and how the latest scientific information on barefeet can be incorporated into treatment for hoof issues?

Rob Boswell, DVM
Rob Boswell DVM of Wellington, Florida will speak about his recent successful treatments, and Dr. Orsini will speak on intervention techniques used in hospital settings to prevent laminitis in surgical and medical high-risk situations.

Andrew Van Eps DVM, PhD
Andrew Van Eps DVM PhD DACVIM of the University of Queensland School of Veterinary Medicine will co-present with Scott Morrison on support-limb laminitis cases. He'll also speak on cryotherapy to prevent laminitis and on his new work on microdialysis and the "bioenergetics" of the laminar interface.

Donald Walsh, DVM
Finally, Donald Walsh DVM, president of the Animal Health Foundation, will talk about field situations where vets and farriers can help identify horses with the earliest signs of insulin resistance, before the cresty neck and fat deposits and stretched white line make the condition obvious. Dr Walsh is in touch with the real world of horse owners and the frustrations they face and feels that more intervention is needed to prevent early IR horses from reaching the stage of more severe laminitis episodes.

(Some of the speakers are wearing leis because the conference included a dinner cruise in past years and leis were worn by all.)

The Laminitis Conference is like no other equine conference you'll attend. It's a bit like a retreat, or going to an island, with the organizers, speakers, and attendees all together for three days. Meals and evening social events are seamlessly integrated into the conference, and the faculty is available to the attendees throughout the event.

There's a trade show, and the conference works to develop relationships with many key companies who are involved in the sponsorship of the event. Professional event management keeps the meeting running smoothly. And a high percentage of attendees return each time to not only learn, but to share their experiences. It is a meeting where many in the audience could easily be at the podium.

And it's a meeting that you shouldn't miss.
Conference registration is now officially open and must be done online. A discount applies to all who register by September 10. Special discounts are available for "teams" (vet/farrier, etc.) who register at the same time. Hotel reservations are now being taken as well; if you want to stay at the host hotel and avoid renting a car, you must reserve your room as soon as possible.

Full details on hotels, registration, the complete program and faculty list are on the conference web site:

Go to for full details.
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