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Insulin Resistance in Horses

Insulin Resistance in Horses

Horses have been great domestic pets for centuries. Though considered a robust and a strong pet, it is still prone to many diseases. This article elaborates on effects and treatment of insulin resistance for equine pets.
Amruta Gaikwad
Care and attention is a vital part while nurturing a pet animal. It ensures the pet's good health. Horses are regarded as graceful and powerful animals. In case you own a horse, it is essential to first study the various horse health problems and their treatment to save your pet from falling prey to any poor medical conditions. Also keeping an equine vet can help you take care of your horse and ensure its good health throughout its lifespan. Among the many horse diseases, these animals are prone to develop resistance to insulin. Go through the details for getting a clear idea about this problem.

Information on Ailment

The pancreas contain numerous cells, which produce a hormone called insulin. These group of cells are known as the Islets Langerhans. Insulin regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, starch and sugar. This ailment is created out of lack of physical activity. This leads to piling up of carbohydrates in the bloodstream which forces the pancreas to emit insulin. Insulin helps the cells to take in the glucose. However, when the cells begin to stop responding, the pancreas begin to generate more insulin to activate the cells. This process is termed as insulin resistance. This ailment is very common and many horses are prone to be affected by this ailment.

Horses were earlier bred for working purposes, but now many horse lovers want to possess them as pets. This has brought down the physical activities of well bred horses and made them the victims of this ailment. The overall lifestyle designed for the horse is responsible for many diseases. Lack of exercise and poor diet always takes a toll on the health of any living being. Similar is the case with horses. A well-balanced diet with sufficient nutrients and regular exercise can save your horse from many life-threatening diseases. Following are its symptoms:
  • Weight gain
  • Laminitis
  • Fat deposits near the neck and tail base
  • Less energy
  • Rise in the consumption of water and frequent urination

Recognizing the symptoms is a great way to prevent the severity of the disease. However, if your horse is diagnosed with this ailment, then seeking the help of an equine veterinarian is a good way to keep the health of your horse under a strict check. The vet helps in proper guidance and also advises how to take care of this problem in your horse. Besides the help of a vet, design an exercise regimen for your horse. Physical activity helps reduce obesity in animals and even the insulin produced in the body can work well. Going for horse riding or making your horse run or trot for sometime on a regular basis can increase its stamina and also reduce its weight.

If the starch and glucose levels in the diet of your horse are high, then you might want to change the horse's diet for its good. The grass and hay that are fed to the horse contains starch and sugar. Therefore, limit grazing and use other substitutes as their food. Use natural ways of fertilizing your pasture. The sugar level for an insulin resistant horse must be below 10% or 15%. Even feeding minerals to your horse in this condition plays an important role in improving its condition. Minerals such as magnesium and chromium are important because they help in glucose metabolism. Even continuous check for any abnormalities in your horse can help you prevent the problem quickly and save the trouble of completely curing it.

Horses such as Peruvian Pasos, Paso Finos, Arabians, Morgans and ponies are prone to this ailment. This problem can also be treated as genetic. However, this is not a rare disease. When diagnosed, it can also be treated by giving proper care and attention. If the horse owner detects the problem and ignores it, the horse will eventually be victim of many more diseases that would ultimately bring down its lifespan. Therefore, to ensure good, happy, and quality life of your horse, learn to recognize the symptoms before they get intense.