You could be insulin resistant for years without knowing, especially if your blood glucose levels aren’t checked. “If the insulin concentration is above 20 micro-units per milliliter [after fasting] the horse is said to be insulin resistant,” says Pratt-Phillips. Breeds that are prone to developing cresty necks and obesity, such as Morgans and some lines of Arabians, Quarter horses, may be more likely to develop insulin resistance. Some IR symptoms to watch for include: Skin tags. EMS has some similar signs to Equine Cushings Disease, but it is a different disease with different underlying causes. Can Horses Get Diabetes: Insulin Resistance in Horses. Why we are seeing IR in horses in epidemic numbers. The cells then become less sensitive to the actions of insulin and absorb less energy. Research is showing that Cushings may be occurring earlier and earlier in horses due to high Insulin damaging Pituitary cells. Equine insulin Resistance can cause several symptoms such as unusual fat deposits, excessive drinking and urinating, loss of muscle mass and laminitis. Insulin has vasoregulatory actions. Insulin resistance Insulin resistance (IR) is becoming increasingly common in our equestrian population but is often overlooked by owners. In addition to observing the symptoms listed above, early insulin resistance can be diagnosed with specialized blood tests. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 43 (3), S61-S65. If after reading this you recognise any of the symptoms in your own horse, we highly recommend you speak to your vet as a priority. Uncompensated insulin resistance refers to pancreatic exhaustion, whereby the pancreas is no longer able to produce enough insulin and glucose control is poor; that is, type 2 diabetes. IR – Insulin Resistance: What is it really? Horses in their late teens and those more than twenty years old can exhibit many of the "classic" signs of what has been called Cushing's disease, including obesity, long hair, increased urination and drinking, muscle wasting and difficult-to-treat laminitis. The horse’s pancreas, an important organ of the endocrine system, produces and regulates the release of insulin, a hormone that functions to metabolize and balance the body’s main source of fuel, glucose. It … Insulin resistance in fat cells reduces the effect of insulin and lead to increased triglyceride hydrolysis reserves, if no steps are good for increasing insulin sensitivity or by providing extra insulin. Insulin resistance has profound consequences for affected horses, yet there are currently no licensed treatment options. Insulin resistance therefore promotes weight gain.Obesity leads to insulin resistance We also know that obesity can cause insulin resistance. Cushings is very common in middle-aged to older horses (18-23 years), and it causes great discomfort for them. [xi] Getty, J.M. This means that more insulin than would normally be required is needed to keep blood sugar concentrations within normal amounts, especially after a meal high in starch and/or sugar. Overfeeding a horse to the point it becomes obese can also result in insulin resistance, although not all fat horses are insulin resistant. This syndrome is currently defined by the presence of 1) insulin resistance (IR), 2) obesity and/or regional adiposity, and 3) prior or current laminitis. Insulin resistance plays a significant role in aberrant carbohydrate metabolism, which manifests itself in a variety of disorders including Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS), Laminitis, and Equine Cushing’s Disease (PPID). For more info on this, visit the Equine Insulin Resistance & Equine Hypothyroidism page. The best treatment for Cushings in horses involves an approach that includes managing the symptoms and hormonal imbalances associated with it. If the horse is diagnosed at an early stage, it can allow the attending veterinarian to take preventative measures rather than treatment measures in the care of the horse. New studies, from the Universities of Kentucky and Virginia, suggest that half of the horse population is overweight and insulin resistance is a probable, normal event in geriatric horses. A potential link between insulin resistance and iron overload disorder in browsing rhinoceroses investigated through the use of an equine model. EMS is a problem in both horses and humans. Insulin resistance occurs when excess sugar circulates in the body. Insulin Resistance/Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) in Equines. Symptoms of Insulin Resistance. Management of the condition is primarily aimed at modifying the affected horse's diet, maintaining a healthy body condition score, and instituting a regular exercise program. Causes and Signs Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) is also called Peripheral Cushing's Disease or insulin resistance. Chasteberry … Chasteberry has been shown to improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in some horses with insulin resistance, a common contributing factor to laminitis. So the glucose turns into stored fat instead of providing energy for the cells. Horses will often rub their manes as a result of the irritation. The most obvious symptoms of Insulin Resistance in horses are hardened and thickened manes, often combined with wrinkles. In addition, mosquitoes tend to be drawn to horses with Insulin Resistance, possibly due to the fact that their blood tastes sweeter and their immune systems are weaker. 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