Ashley Ward, a British PhD student, is beginning a project to help determine if biomarkers can help identify horses that are at risk for pasture-associated laminitis. Working with Drs. Philippa Morrison and Caroline Argo, the project will run over three and a half years and will building on existing work on the equine gut microbiome.
The microbiome includes the bacteria and fungi in the intestinal tract that are essential to an equine's wellbeing. It's believed that the microbiome may also be involved in some diseases and conditions like laminitis. Ward's research project will try to identify novel fecal and urinary patterns or biomarkers that could be used to predict if a horse will suffer from pasture-associated laminitis (PAL). Researchers hope that this prediction would allow for more-timely preventative interventions.
Ward has a degree in Biomedical Science, and has worked in both the equestrian and veterinary industries, specifically with horses suffering from laminitis. She is passionate about helping horses, in particular those who are or who might suffer from laminitis.
Ward's study will build upon research that has shown correlation between some blood markers and laminitis risk. She hopes that her research will offer additional understanding of the changes a horse's microbiome undergoes with pasture-associated laminitis and that researchers develop novel ways to intervene before the disease takes hold.
Read more at HorseTalk.
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