Originally published on TheHorse.com
Veterinarians use an evaluation method called the Obel Grading System to classify and understand the progression of laminitis in horses during diagnosis and treatment of this complex disease.
Raul Bras, DVM, CJF, APF, described this system and emphasized its importance in helping both veterinarians and farriers understand individual laminitic cases. Bras is part of the podiatry department at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, in Lexington, Ky., and he spoke at the 2012 International Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Equine Foot, held Nov. 2-3 in Monterey, Calif.
The Obel system categorizes clinical signs of laminitis-related pain into the following four categories:
Identifying a laminitic horse's pain level is subjective, Bras noted, which is why the Obel Grading System's four stages work as helpful guides for practitioners to quantify and communicate each case's clinical signs. Using the system also creates a benchmark for monitoring the improvement or worsening of the disease.
No matter the stage, laminitis is a complex disease and brings on new challenges as clinical signs progress. "Treatment goals and strategies are different at each stage," Bras said. "This affects our drug strategies and shoeing protocols."
Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.