News & Information


Chronic Progressive Lymphoedema

UCDavis, which has done much to research and educate about CPL, has just been awarded funding to research the genetic basis of this disease.  CPL is hereditary, but is often not visibly obvious until horses are older, and may have been used for breeding.  If a genetic marker can be found, it could be used at an early age to identify horses at risk, with the hope that with time this incurable condition could be eradicated.

For an authoratitive description of different aspects of CPL, visit the Education page on the Fenway Foundation for Friesian Horses website and look at the video presentation by Dr Verena Affolter of UCDavis.


2013 International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, West Palm Beach, Florida.

It was a great experience to be invited to present my research project on the use of MLD with laminitis at the Conference. So much was happening there, and most striking was the presence of people from so many different backgrounds involved with or interested in laminitis – vets, farriers, therapists, researchers, journalists, and owners - all of whom have a part to play in its treatment.  No one skill group has the answer to this dreadful condition, and the conference illustrated the importance of all working together.  For me, perhaps because I was coming from Britain, this willingness to share and to recognise each other’s skills is one of the messages I took away from the Conference.

Another was the importance of horse carers active involvement, whether in management to prevent laminitis from occurring, or recognising when it might be imminent or present, and getting help as soon as possible.  It is also important to understand that though many owners feel they are somehow responsible for laminitis happening, this often isn’t the case and this shouldn’t prevent them from getting help.

One speaker at the Conference gave an interesting presentation on the history of laminitis in the last 100 years.  He made the point that 100 years ago, people were as familiar with the causes of laminitis as we are now, with one exception, ‘endocrinological’ laminitis such as that associated with Cushings Disease and Equine Metabolic Syndrome.  The obvious question being is this a new modern manifestation, and if so is it caused by changes in the way we care for our horses now compared to then?

Another interesting report was on the successful use of cryotherapy after symptoms of laminitis become evident. Treatment uses, laminitis.  This can be found in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, vol 33 no. 10, October 2013.

One of the world’s leading authorities on laminitis, Dr Chris Pollitt, presented a paper on the equine hoof lymphatic system, which has not featured before, it was great that once again, this important and influencial system was being presented for discussion.

I would like to thank everyone, friends, owners of laminitc horses, supportive vets, European EMLD practitioners who shared their experiences and those involved with the Conference who have contributed to the research so far and enabled me to take it to Florida.



DEBO compression stockings      

The stockings are recommended for use instead of stable bandages for horses whose legs ‘fill up’/’stock up’.  I have recently started obtaining these again for clients, otherwise they can be obtained by emailing the German manufacturers SIMONA:,  or through a retail company website: Debo support stockingswhich sells them without zips – (Kompressionsstrumpf für Pferde) and with – (Kompressionsstrumpf für Pferde mit Reißverschluß).  The stockings come in different sizes, as a rough guide, size Medium seems to fit most lightweight horses, e.g. thoroughbreds.

Please note, because the stockings don’t control fibrosis, their use for lymphoedema treatment is questioned in Germany, and they are no longer recommended there for this purpose.

  • The stockings must not be used if there is any infection or inflammation present!  Use can be started again after antibiotics etc. have treated the cause.  They can be used to hold dressings in place.  Liquid dressings can be applied directly to the stocking.
  • The stockings can be used instead of exercise bandages when doubled over and worn between the fetlock and hock/knee joints, research suggests this doubles lymphatic drainage when used for this purpose.

If you do decide to buy  these stockings from the  suppliers and first heard  about them through the website, please let  the suppliers know this.


Becoming an equine manual lymph drainage practitioner

 Currently there are only a small number of qualified practitioners outside German language speaking countries.  If you’re interested in training, I do believe it’s important to be fully qualified by one of the recognised MLD schools and have experience working with people before training to work with animals, this provides the knowledge oflymphology  and MLD needed to understand and convert principles and practice to animal use, and it is recognised that MLD

Cleo after lymphoedema treatment

Cleo after lymphoedema treatment

practitioners become more effective with experience.  It’s also essential to have a sound knowledge of equine anatomy, physiology, health, welfare and behaviour, and to be safe and experienced working with horses.  You will need to feel confident talking with vets and with owners who are keen to know more about their horse’s problems, and ask about things which never arise on training courses!

It is not necessary to speak German to attend these courses and information about them can be found through the following websites: This site also includes listings for books and theses.

 Both of these encourage veterinary surgeons to train with them so that they can understand the use of manual lymph drainage and combined decongestive therapy, and how best to utilise practitioners when suitable cases arise.

Again, if you contact these courses after seeing them here, please let the administrators know this.