Laminitis and the Equine Metabolic Syndrome

Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract. 2010 Aug;26(2):239-55. doi: 10.1016/j.cveq.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 Jun 9.


Although much has been written about laminitis in the context of its association with inflammatory processes, recognition is growing that most cases of laminitis examined by veterinarians in private practice are those associated with pasture grazing, obesity, and insulin resistance (IR). The term 'endocrinopathic laminitis' has been adopted to classify the instances of laminitis in which the origin seems to be more strongly associated with an underlying endocrinopathy, such as either IR or the influence of corticosteroids. Results of a recent study suggest that obesity and IR represent the most common metabolic and endocrinopathic predispositions for laminitis in horses. IR also plays an important role in the pathogenesis of laminitis that develops when some horses or ponies are allowed to graze pastures at certain times of the year. The term equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) has been proposed as a label for horses whose clinical examination results (including both physical examination and laboratory testing) suggest heightened risk for developing laminitis as a result of underlying IR.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Foot Diseases / pathology
  • Foot Diseases / veterinary*
  • Hoof and Claw*
  • Horse Diseases / etiology*
  • Horses
  • Inflammation / veterinary
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Metabolic Diseases / complications
  • Metabolic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Diseases / genetics
  • Metabolic Diseases / veterinary*