As a result of focus group discussions with veterinarians, and interviews with farriers and equine nutritionists, a portion of the data has already been collected. This will be used to analyse how these professionals add to the advice that owners receive about the management of the disease.
Spring will see the next phase of the study, which is funded by the British Veterinary Association's Animal Welfare Foundation, and will run until the end of next year.
A broad approach will be adopted, which will use a combination of social science research methodology, and epidemiology, to describe how owners view their horses' health. The study will explore the owners' understanding about the causes, management and prevention of laminitis by listening to their own experiences, and examining their attitudes, knowledge and perceptions of horse health. The results are designed to assist veterinary surgeons in communicating preventative health strategies, not just with regards to laminitis, but also other equine issues.
Participants do not have to have had personal experience of laminitis to take part in the study, or to contribute your view on it. The research will also look at where information on laminitis can be sourced, how easy it is to understand, and how practical people find it.
University of Liverpool Horse Health Study