International Laminitis Research Conference

Aug. 29, 2013 -- The International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot will be held in November. Research supported by the Animal Health Foundation will be prominent in the topics presented.

Aug. 29, 2013 — When the world’s leading laminitis researchers, scholars, clinicians and farriers present their newest findings at the International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot in West Palm Beach, Florida, in November, the work of the Animal Health Foundation (AHF) will take center stage.

The announcement of the conference program and speaker list shows that critical laminitis research funded by the Animal Health Foundation will be shared at the conference by presenters from the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit (AELRU), Tufts University and Cornell University.

In addition, Donald Walsh, DVM, president and founder of the Animal Health Foundation, will speak on his personal research into the history of relationships between obesity, grass founder and chronic laminitis. He’ll also moderate a panel with researcher Nicholas Frank, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, and change-agent farrier Gene Ovnicek, in which the clinical management of “real life” cases of metabolic laminitis will be analyzed.

Chris Pollitt, BVSc, PhD, Director of the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit, will join Walsh on the faculty at the conference; his work has been supported by the Animal Health Foundation for many years. Pollitt will review the accomplishments of his team’s analysis of the function of the suspensory apparatus of the distal phalanx (coffin bone) and also reveal progress in early investigation of the lymphatic system in the equine foot.

In addition, Pollitt will present a stunning 3D process for creating digitally enhanced equine anatomy models of hooves from CT scans using a 3D printer. Pollitt has been a featured speaker at the six previous laminitis conferences.

Traveling with Pollitt from Australia will be Andrew van Eps, BVSc, PhD, MACVSc, DACVIM, who received his PhD at the University of Queensland by researching laminitis with Pollitt at the AELRU. His previous contributions have included the first studies of the use of cryotherapy (ice therapy) to prevent laminitis. At West Palm Beach this year he will lecture on cryotherapy, support-limb laminitis and the use of pain medication for horses with laminitis.

The newest face on the AHF roster of researchers will also be a key speaker at the conference. Frank is a professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine of Tufts University, where he researches the endocrinopathic form of laminitis. His recent research to verify a new test to identify horses with insulin resistance was funded by the Animal Health Foundation.

Cornell University’s Samantha Brooks, PhD, conducts laminitis studies funded by the Animal Health Foundation and submitted research that was accepted, but she is unable to present her lecture on the genetic mapping of susceptibility to endocrinopathy and laminitis.

The Laminitis Conference will be held Nov. 1-3 at the Marriott Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, and it will feature 60 lecturers and abstract presenters from five continents, a variety of educational formats, poster sessions, a trade show and social events. Visit to learn more.

The Animal Health Foundation funds research and education projects related to laminitis in the horse. That is all it does.

The Animal Health Foundation is an all-volunteer organization with an all-funds-to-research approach to finding both the cause and a cure for laminitis. Since 1984, the AHF has funneled $1.75 million—most of it received in small donations from horse owners—directly into laminitis research. The grassroots-style organization is now known around the world as the critical driving force that is making a real difference in freeing horses of this terrible disease. Appropriately, most donations are still written from the checkbooks of individual horse owners who have experienced the disease first-hand with their horses and want to make a difference.

Donations to the AHF go directly to laminitis research and are fully tax deductible.

To learn more about the Animal Health Foundation, located at 3615 Bassett Road, Pacific, MO 63069 visit, email or “like” AHF at






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