Steroids and Laminitis

Professor Catherine McGowan has published a paper looking at the evidence for corticosteroids (like Preds) as being a causal factors in cases of laminitis. She concluded that there is “No evidence that therapeutic systemic corticosteroid administration is associated with laminitis in adult horses without underlying endocrine or severe systemic disease”.

So if you're wondering whether you should be worried that your vet has prescribed corticosteroids to treat your horse, the answer is yes if your horse is metabolically abnormal e.g. obese, showing evidence of Cushing’s disease (PPID) or EMS. If you are in doubt as to whether your horse is metabolically normal or not, ask your vet to take a blood test either at rest or before and after a sugar feed to really assess if he/she is normal or not.

Obviously severe systemic disease directly causes laminitis so if your horse is suffering from such a sever condition, laminitis will be a risk in any case and you’ll have to rely on your vet to make the judgement call about what to prescribe and when – corticosteroids in many cases could be lifesaving!