Texas A&M University

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Who can participate?

Any equine veterinarian providing general care to horses that has a case of acute laminitis that fits the case definition can participate. Veterinarians providing care restricted to referred cases will be excluded from participation. ↑ Back to Top

Q: How do I sign up for participation?

There are several different ways to sign up. You may mail us a hard copy of the form you received via regular mail or you may fill out the on-line form here. Once this form is complete, you will receive notice with a name and secure passcode in order to receive a hard copy or gain entry into the survey. ↑ Back to Top

Q: What does PEAL stand for?

Pasture and Endocrinopathy-Associated Laminitis. ↑ Back to Top

Q: What is the purpose of this study?

The purpose of this study is to identify risk factors for pasture- and endocrinopathy-associated laminitis that will guide future research studies of the pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of incident cases of laminitis seen by private practitioners.↑ Back to Top

Q: Why was a case-control epidemiologic study selected over an experimental study

The rationale for an epidemiologic approach to studying PEAL is two-fold. First, the study of spontaneous disease is desirable from a welfare standpoint because there is no additional disease created or induced for epidemiologic studies. Second, the results are directly relevant to cases of spontaneous disease meeting the same case definitions derived from similar reference populations, and often may be extrapolated to other populations.↑ Back to Top

Q: Who are the researchers involved in this study?

This study was designed with the collaboration of a number of AAEP member researchers and practitioners who volunteered their time in October of 2010 to develop the overall plan for these studies. This advisory board assembled by the AAEP Foundation included: Drs. Jim Belknap (Colombus, OH), Noah Cohen (College Station, TX), Susan Eades (Baton Rouge, LA), Ian Gardner (Davis, CA), Ray Geor (East Lansing, MI), Bryan Fraley (Lexington, KY), Hannah Galatino-Homer (Philadelphia, PA), Wayne McIlwraith (Fort Collins, CO), Rustin Moore (Columbus, OH), John Peroni (Athens, GA), Hugh Townsend (Saskatchewan, CAN), and Nat White (Leesburg, VA). ↑ Back to Top

Q: Who is funding this study?

The study is funded graciously by the AAEP Foundation. ↑ Back to Top

Q: What is the laminitis case definition?

Cases will be defined as new (incident) cases of laminitis (ie. the first recognized episode of laminitis in a horse) that has developed within 4 weeks of examination. These may include cases that develop for unknown reasons, have a history of corticosteroid administration or pasture exposure, or have a confirmed or suspected endocrinopathy. Horses defined has having laminitis will have evidence of bilateral forelimb lameness of Obel Grade 2 or higher severity, and at least 2 of the following findings: sensitivity to hoof testers that is greatest at the region of the toe at the time of initial examination, characteristic foundered stance, radiographic evidence of laminar thickening, or gross or microscopic evidence of laminitis. Complete definitions can be found here. ↑ Back to Top

Q: What is the exclusion criteria for laminitic horses?

Horses will be excluded from the study as cases of laminitis or as controls if they have the following findings:

  1. a previous history of laminitis
  2. have laminitis associated with sepsis (eg. Strangulating intestinal lesion, metritis, etc)
  3. have laminitis associated with non-weight bearing lameness
  4. have laminitis associated with excessive grain consumption
  5. other concurrent disease condition of the foot such as a sole abscess
  6. history of navicular disease/navicular syndrome
  7. are an equid other than a horse or pony; and,
  8. have radiographic signs of chronic laminitis such as rotation or remodeling of the third phalanx

Complete definitions can be found here.

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Q: What is the Obel lameness scale?

This is a lameness grading scale specifically for cases of laminitis.

  • Grade 1 - At rest the horse alternatively lifts feet but no lameness is observable at the walk. The horse moves with a short stilted gait at the trot in a straight line on a hard surface with careful turns at the walk.
  • Grade 2 - The animal does not move freely at walk but moves with a "stiff" gait. At the trot on a hard surface there is a short stilted gait and reluctance to trot. The horse turns with difficulty. A foot can be lifted off the ground without great difficulty.
  • Grade 3 - The animal is reluctant to move at the walk on any surface and it is difficult to lift a limb. The animal may be virtually non-weight bearing on one limb.
  • Grade 4 - The animal will not move without coercion. It is particularly reluctant to move from a soft to hard surface and it is almost impossible to lift a limb.

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Q: How many case and control horses will be necessary?

A complete data set will consist of 3 horses including a laminitis case and two control cases (a healthy control and a lameness control). These control cases will be necessary for each clinical case to compete the set. ↑ Back to Top

Q: What is the definition of a healthy control?

An apparently healthy horse residing at a different premises than the one at which the incident case of laminitis was observed will be included as a healthy control. The next horse examined by the veterinarian for a normal wellness examination, vaccination, Coggins testing, health certificate, or routine dental examination will be included as a control. Cases will be excluded if they are lame or have a history of laminitis or clinical or diagnostic findings indicating previous laminitis (divergent hoof rings, dorsal hoof dishing, pre-existing radiographic findings consistent with laminitis such as rotation of the 3rd phalanx). Complete definitions can be found here. ↑ Back to Top

Q: What is the definition of a lameness control?

A horse lame in 1 forelimb only. Lameness must be no more than 4 weeks in duration since onset of signs and be assigned a score greater than or equal to 3/5 according to the AAEP scale. Horses with history of laminitis, bilateral forelimb lameness, or radiographic evidence of laminitis will be excluded from the control population. However, horses with pars pituitary intermedia dysfunction (PPID) and equine metabolic syndrome will not be excluded. Complete definitions can be found here. ↑ Back to Top

Q: Where do I find the data form?

The survey system can be found here. Data may be entered either on the web-based system or via hard copy. You will need a name and passcode to access the live survey. If you have not already registered, please fill out the registration form to receive all necessary materials.

Q: What type of information will I have to collect on each horse?

Important information will include signalment, morphometrics (including body condition score, maximal height at withers, maximum abdominal circumference, maximum neck circumference, presence of adiposity), activity level, housing management, pasture conditions and care, feeding practices and diet, recent steroid administration, concurrent diseases or physiologic status, and hoof care. We will also be collecting a tiger top tube and a purple top tube of blood for each case. ↑ Back to Top

Q: How do I perform the morphometric measurements?

Instructions are available on the internet here or by hard copy that can be mailed to you here. ↑ Back to Top

Q: How should blood samples be handled?

Upon registration, we will mail you the appropriate blood tubes and shipping information. A purple and tiger top blood tube from each horse should be collected and handled as indicated on the Blood Collection and Shipping page. All blood should be mailed to:

Dr. Michelle Coleman
Texas Veterinary Medical Center
4475 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843 ↑ Back to Top

Q: Will radiographs of the feet be required?

If you have, or are willing to take radiographs of all 3 horses in the set, please contact us. If needed, some horses will be selected at random to have radiographs taken of the front feet. You will be informed if radiographs are needed from your case. ↑ Back to Top

Q: What is the approximate time commitment for each data set?

We estimate that collection of data will take approximately 1 hour per horse for a total of 3 hours per complete set. ↑ Back to Top

Q: Is there any consent form needed for owners?

Yes, please have each owner/farm manager fill out the form found in the side navigation bar under Client Consent Form. When complete, these may be mailed or faxed to the Study Coordinator ↑ Back to Top

Q: Do I have to submit all 3 cases (laminitis case, healthy control, and lameness control)?

It is important that each participating veterinarian submit a complete set of case and control horses. Each case must fit the appropriate case definition for inclusion in the study. ↑ Back to Top

Q: Can a veterinarian submit more than one complete set of cases and controls?

Absolutely. The more cases and controls we have the better. There is no limit to the number of complete sets that can be submitted; however, each set must include a laminitis case, a healthy control, and a lameness control and all cases must fit the appropriate case definition. ↑ Back to Top

Q: Who can I contract with specific questions

Dr. Noah Cohen, the Principle Investigator, at ncohen@cvm.tamu.edu or 979-412-3210

Dr. Michelle Coleman, the Study Coordinator, at mcoleman@cvm.tamu.edu or 979-219-3523

Fax: 979-845-8939