John G. Stewart MA Vet MB MRCVS
I am a veterinary surgeon who has recently given up general practice to concentrate on working on horses’ feet and to continue my studies and research into laminitis and other hoof problems.
I qualified from Cambridge University in 1977 and have been in general practice since then, in Guildford, Surrey and Winchester, Hampshire and from 1993-2008 worked in my “single-man” practice in Owslebury Hampshire, dealing mainly with horses.
I have, like everyone else, struggled not only with dealing with cases of laminitis but also trying to understand what occurs in the condition.
I found that, using what I thought was the same line of treatment, some recovered very quickly, others took longer and some just deteriorated further.
The really important question is "Why Do We Fail?"
It was at the BEVA Conference in 1998 that Dr Chris Pollitt lectured for three hours on the research work he and his colleagues had carried out on laminitis at Queensland University in Australia over fifteen years. I found this the most exciting lecture I had ever attended and although he obviously had not answered so many questions about laminitis, he had explained to me some of the reasons why we fail.
My next step was to attend a weekend course, in 2003 given by the German veterinary surgeon Dr Hiltrud Strasser. Two of my clients who had horses with laminitis had become interested in her theories so I thought I should find out about them. Some of her opinions I did not and still do not consider to be correct, but I came away believing that she really had some ideas of great relevance.
Dr Strasser gave me a different view of the function of the horse’s foot and I have spent the past five years investigating some of her ideas.
As well as attending a course on "Foot Problems in the Horse" in the UK in 2004, I have attended the International Hoofcare Summit in Cincinatti, in Jan 2005, 2006, and spoken there in 2007 and 2008, the Third and Fourth "International Equine Conference on Laminitis & Diseases of the Foot", in Florida, in Nov 2005 and 2007, and the Bluegrass Laminitis Conference, in Kentucky, in Jan 2007.
The stimulus for me to set up this web site has been the huge frustration that so much that is written about the horse’s foot, and laminitis in particular, is confused, contradictory and, in my opinion, sometimes wrong.
A large amount of new scientific work has been published on laminitis since 2000 so we must remember that articles from before that date will not include any of these new theories or discoveries.