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Prevalence of and risk factors for acute laminitis in horses treated with corticosteroids
  1. Katya Potter1,
  2. Kim Stevens2 and
  3. Nicola Menzies-Gow1
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Sciences and Services, Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hertfordshire, UK
  2. 2 Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hertfordshire, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence; nmenziesgow{at}


A retrospective treated versus untreated study (study 1) and multicentre prospective cohort study (study 2) were undertaken to determine the prevalence of, and risk factors associated with, acute laminitis in horses treated with corticosteroids. All old treated with corticosteroids January–December 2014 (study 1) and January 2015–February 2017 (study 2) by two first opinion and referral hospitals in UK were included. Additionally, an untreated animal was identified for each treated animal (study one). Signalment, body condition (study 2 only), relevant medical history, primary condition, corticosteroid therapy prescribed and occurrence of acute laminitis during or within 14 days of cessation of corticosteroid treatment were recorded.

For study 1, 205 cases and 205 controls were identified; two animals within each group (1 per cent) developed laminitis. In total, 1565 animals were included in study 2; laminitis period prevalence was 0.6 per cent (95 per cent CI 0.4 per cent to 1.2 per cent), with 10 cases in 1565 treated animals. There were significant associations between laminitis and breed (pony vs horse; p=0.01; univariable analysis only), the presence of a laminitis risk factor (history of laminitis or an underlying endocrinopathy; p<0.001; OR (95 per cent CI) 18.23 (5.05 to 65.87)) and body condition (overweight/obese vs not; p=0.04; OR (95 per cent CI) 4.0 (1.09 to 14.75)).

  • laminitis
  • corticosteroid
  • prevalence
  • risk factors
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the Royal Veterinary College Clinical Research Ethical Review Board (URN 2014 1309).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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