Glucose itself is a fuel and provides energy for the horse at a cellular level and Insulin acts as a vehicle for this glucose delivering it and ensuring the glucose reaches the body’s cells. In the case of Insulin Resistance a malfunction in the body means that the insulin does not deliver glucose to the cells but instead stores the glucose in fat and muscle. Insulin Resistance in horses is currently being considered by many veterinarians as an epidemic and growing every year. Research in America has estimated that around 540,000 horses are suffering from Insulin Resistance related laminitis. So why does this happen?
Insulin Resistance is typically diagnosed via blood testing but can often be identified from symptoms such as fatty deposits, laminitis and insulin induced inflammation in the feet. The condition often results from lifestyle and incorrect management for our equine’s metabolic requirements with the culprits a lack of exercise and a inappropriate diet.
Top Tips to Avoid Equine Insulin Resistance
1.) Forage is the most important aspect of your equine’s diet so it is vital that your horse or pony receives sufficient levels of fibre. However if your horse is a good doer, suffering an ever expanding waistline it may be beneficial to source lower quality pasture, fence a smaller area or reduce the amount of hours they are turned out and provide a low calorie or soaked hay as an alternative.
2.) Exercise is absolutely paramount for all horses. Stick to a regular routine of exercise for your horse and pony and if you have a holiday planned always ask a helper to ride or lunge your equine to limit the risk of insulin resistance resulting from excessive weight gain.
3.) Choose a concentrate feed which is low in energy and low in starch in order to reduce calorie intake, whilst ensuring the feed provides adequate protein levels to prevent unwanted muscle loss. Pairing a low calorie feed or low levels of feed with a vitamin and minerals supplement is highly beneficial as often the fully balanced comprehensive feedstuff only provides sufficient micronutrients when fed at the recommended levels.
In order to ensure those equines on lower levels of feed are not deficient in vital ‘vits and mins’ supply your horse with Horse & Pony Multi-Vitamin Supplement from Scientific Nutritional Products to ensure your horse or pony is receiving the nutrients he needs even on a reduced diet.