Continuous digital hypothermia in the prevention and treatment of acute equine laminitis



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PICO question

Does continuous digital hypothermia improve clinical outcome in equids with acute laminitis compared to supportive treatment alone?


Clinical bottom line

Category of research question


The number and type of study designs reviewed

Six experimental randomised controlled trials and one multicentre retrospective case series were reviewed

Strength of evidence


Outcomes reported

The outcomes reported were reduced severity of histopathological lamellar lesions in limbs treated with continuous digital hypothermia (CDH; initiated prior to or soon after the onset of experimentally induced acute laminitis) compared to limbs remaining at an ambient temperature in all five experimental studies where histology was performed. A significant reduction was observed in the prevalence or severity of clinical signs of laminitis in limbs treated with CDH compared to limbs remaining at an ambient temperature. In a single retrospective case series, significantly reduced prevalence of clinical laminitis was reported amongst animals receiving CDH compared to those that did not in a referral hospital population of animals treated for colitis


There is moderate evidence to support that CDH when used prior to or in the early stages of clinical signs, may reduce the severity and progression of lamellar lesions in acute laminitis and no evidence demonstrating that it improves clinical outcome compared to supportive treatment alone. Further research into the clinical outcome of equids treated for acute laminitis using CDH is warranted


How to apply this evidence in practice

The application of evidence into practice should take into account multiple factors, not limited to: individual clinical expertise, patient’s circumstances and owners’ values, country, location or clinic where you work, the individual case in front of you, the availability of therapies and resources.

Knowledge Summaries are a resource to help reinforce or inform decision making. They do not override the responsibility or judgement of the practitioner to do what is best for the animal in their care.


Open Access Peer Reviewed


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Vol. 5 No. 4 (2020): The fourth issue of 2020

Section: Knowledge Summaries

Categories :  Small Animal  /  Dogs  /  Cats  /  Rabbits  /  Production Animal  /  Cattle  /  Sheep  /  Pig  /  Equine  /  Exotics  /