Endocrinopathic causes of laminitis may be a common underlying causative pathogenesis in first-opinion or field cases presenting with laminitis, as opposed to laminitis produced in inflammatory research models. This study aimed to determine whether evidence of an underlying endocrinopathy was present in horses presented for laminitis to a first-opinion/referral veterinary teaching hospital. A second aim was to compare the signalment of horses and ponies with laminitis with the equine hospital population during the same period. All horses presenting for laminitis at Helsinki University Equine Teaching Hospital, Finland, over a 16-month period were examined for an underlying endocrinopathy. Horses presenting for laminitis were compared with the hospitalized population over the same period. There were 36 horses presented for laminitis, and evidence of endocrinopathy was present in 89%. Of the horses showing an underlying endocrinopathy, one-third had a diagnosis of pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, and two-thirds showed basal hyperinsulinemia indicative of insulin resistance, without evidence of hirsutism. Phenotypic indicators of obesity were present in 95% of horses with basal hyperinsulinemia without hirsutism. Compared with the hospital population during the same period, horses with laminitis associated with an underlying endocrinopathy were significantly older and more likely to be pony breeds. Our data support that endocrine testing should be performed on all cases of laminitis that do not have a clear inflammatory or gastrointestinal origin.
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