Preventing insulin resistance - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-16-2020, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Preventing insulin resistance

Aside from managing weight, how can one prevent insulin resistance in a horse that is not currently insulin resistant? Or would you not even worry about it unless the horse has shown signs of becoming insulin resistant?

I can't really explain it, aside from his weird hoof temperature fluctuations, but I am concerned that Teddy might end up insulin resistant. It's just a weird feeling that I have. I am more worried about him than I am about fat Pony or hay-belly Moonshine.

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post #2 of 9 Old 03-16-2020, 05:03 PM
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Some is hereditary same as diabetes runs in families in humans.
If your gene pool has tendency to go diabetic, then better care needs done to reduce the risk of occurrence.
So, lower sugar/carb content food offered but don't go crazy cause horses do need some carbs and sugars to digest, utilize those foods well into needed nutrients....a balancing act.
You have to pick the right combinations of carbs and sugars though...

Now balance those amino acids, vitamins and minerals so as healthy a starting point is had as possible.
Hay..well hay depending upon type and when cut can have surprising number variables too. This is why if you can buy quantity it is better since often quantity and quality will be very similar when product is from the same fields and processed at the same time = similar numbers.
Grass, pasture and the hours a animal is permitted to graze is huge in how much sugar a body can be dumped with...even the pasture grasses used make a difference to our animals.
Who would not want to eat the sweet candy versus the green beans...horses have sweet tooths too.

If you don't have a problem then you are ahead of the game to start managing now.
If your fears come and IR develops you already have a gentle handle on it that then needs turning up the intensity of management.
However, slowing failing health is far better than closing the gate after the horse escapes scenario.
Able to do research of various brands of feed and hay, pasture grasses allows you to understand better and switch to better choices gradually not in a panic rush.
We all, humans included can benefit from a healthier diet.

Most of us would rather eat sweet stuff but when presented with not so sweet, to to sweet, to no sweet at all, "blander" tasting our taste buds can and do acclimate to.
For me, I would rather a gradual change than cold-turkey and everything taste so horrible.
That is how I mentally place horses IR comparing very generally to human diabetes.
And sometimes if we manage just enough, just right we can hold off the onset of the affliction cause once you have to deal with it it makes keeping horses a lot more challenging.
...
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-16-2020, 05:26 PM
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You might want to have the vet draw blood to check his insulin level — even if the vet thinks it’s a waste of money and it does turn out to be a waste of money. It will at least give you a baseline.

I’ve commented before that, while obesity is insulin & founder waiting to happen, the horse can be of good weight or thin.

I feed Joker citrulline over the winter. Here is a good article, written by Dr. Kellon, for the AFA Journal.

She mentions jiogulan(sp?) first. Cursor down to the eighth paragraph where she mentions L-arginine and L-citrulline. Citrulline converts into arginine in the body. There have been human studies regarding its benefits for human Type II diabetics.

https://www.americanfarriers.com/art...aminitis-afjho

I buy human grade capsules at the old people’s health food store. I think I paid $33 for 100 capsules. Each capsule is 500 mg. I open the capsule and out the powder in Joker’s feed because, with my luck, he would not digest the capsule part and end up colicking with a build up of plastic in him.

Once the high heat/humidity comes in, I will start feeding the horses watermelon and chopped watermelon rind twice daily. I will build up to two measuring cups daily per horse.

Why you might ask, lollol. Because watermelon not only cools them down, it and the rind contain ————- citrulline! Approximately 400 mg - 500 mg per cup:). This is how I got the idea to feed citrulline capsules thru the winter, when watermelon is not available.

So far so good — the chiro/Acupuncturist has not had to ting Joker’s coronet bands for almost two years.

You can’t hurt Teddy, unless he MIGHT get diarrhea. If you notice the heat in his hooves pretty much stabilizing, it might be safe to assume he is dealing with sub-clinical laminitis and the citrulline is helping increase needed blood flow.

Not sayin’ this is Teddy’s answer, but it’s a safe & cheap way to experiment:)
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Last edited by walkinthewalk; 03-16-2020 at 05:31 PM.
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-16-2020, 05:50 PM
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I would certainly advise managing to avoid/minimise rather than wait & see approach. IR is not a disease as such but a natural body response, so ALL horses should be treated as 'susceptible' & managed accordingly imo.

Well balanced nutrition, low carb feed, fed little & often or free choice, ensuring horses have regular 'hard seasons' & lose the fat they may have accumulated in 'the good seasons', adequate magnesium & chromium, etc are factors.

Perhaps also IF your horse is getting 'low grade lami' & it's not ir, if not hoof management(trimming, stress for eg) maybe there's too high omega 6, potassium, gut probs, drugs.... behind it.

If it's only that his feet are hot at times, if not also accompanied by bounding digital pulse, I wouldn't be concerned really tho.
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-16-2020, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
Some is hereditary same as diabetes runs in families in humans.:...
Correct me if I'm wrong someone, but my understanding is while there are certain 'types' - so are genetic factors - that are more or less 'prone' but *type 2 diabetes* / IR in horses is not really hereditary as such, but 'environmental'. While type 1 diabetes in people can be hereditary. Can't recall if ever heard of another animal besides humans getting that.
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-16-2020, 06:27 PM
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Other animals absolutely get diabetes...
My sister had a cat, friend a dog...other I knew had issues, multiple animals not related in gene pool either.
Some were insulin dependent, all were diet needing controlled.
Environmental is of course a part, but it is not everything.

I found these articles, small excerpts shared on https://vetspecialists.com/diabetes-...ent-prognosis/ You can read the entire article about signs/symptoms in domestic animals.. Then I found the second piece of a lengthy, more in-depth article about IR and diabetes in horses... https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3440056/
So much is still not understood but one thing I read in everything is diet...diet is involved.

Diabetes in humans occurs in two forms, Type 1 diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and Type 2 diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Insulin-dependent diabetes is the most common type recognized in dogs and many cats, whereas non-insulin dependent diabetes occurs occasionally in cats and rarely in dogs. Insulin-dependent diabetes develops due to destruction or damage to the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, this may be due to genetic influences, environmental factors, inflammation or immune-mediated destruction of the pancreas. Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is usually associated with insulin resistance within the body. This type of diabetes is commonly seen in obese or overweight animals. Insulin resistance can also stem from infection, inflammation, or other hormonal disorders.

The equine article...
The equine hyperlipemia syndrome (hepatic lipidosis) is similar to nonalcoholic steatohepatosis and is most commonly identified in those relatively “thrifty” (meta-bolically efficient) equine breeds in which pronounced IR appears to result from inherited factors (especially certain pony breeds and miniature horses).24,25 The develop-ment of osteochondrosis, a common developmental orthopedic disorder that affects young, growing horses that have been fed rations characterized by excessively high dietary energy content has been linked to the presence of IR.26 As with their human counterparts, horses may develop type 2 DM as a result of IR and EMS, but DM is relatively uncommonly identified in the equine species.
...
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-16-2020, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong someone, but my understanding is while there are certain 'types' - so are genetic factors - that are more or less 'prone' but *type 2 diabetes* / IR in horses is not really hereditary as such, but 'environmental'. While type 1 diabetes in people can be hereditary. Can't recall if ever heard of another animal besides humans getting that.
There is a “hit list” of horse breeds who have “the predisposition” toward insulin issues. So does that make it hereditary? Lollol

Environmental issues play a key role but they play a key role if the horse is prone (predisposed) to begin with.

When I enrolled my three Tennessee Walkers in the University of Michigan’s metabolic study some years back, Duke & Joker had been diagnosed with metabolic issues. Rusty was “clean” therefore was their Control Horse.

Rusty is an easy keeper, will be 26 in April and still <knock on wood> no signs of metabolic issues - he had a full battery of blood tests in March, 2019 to be sure.

All three of these horses have the Morgan Mare, Maggie Marshall, as their Foundation mare of record” in TWHBEA. Morgan’s are also predisposed to metabolic issues.

My horses all go back to Midnight Sun. They all have one or more of the “Allen” line of stallions on their papers, as do every other Walking Horse on earth except for the Chance bloodline who was exempt from Midnight Sun until recently.

So where do we draw the line between predisposed and hereditary - or do we even care about splitting that hair?
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-16-2020, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies everyone!

@walkinthewalk is there some special test that needs to be done? I seem to recall reading about a test that's similar to how they test human diabetics -- injecting some sort of sugar and then taking measurements. Or is it just as simple as drawing blood and looking at the number?

I like the idea of getting the test done, if only to have a baseline.

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post #9 of 9 Old 03-16-2020, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
Thank you for your replies everyone!

@walkinthewalk is there some special test that needs to be done? I seem to recall reading about a test that's similar to how they test human diabetics -- injecting some sort of sugar and then taking measurements. Or is it just as simple as drawing blood and looking at the number?

I like the idea of getting the test done, if only to have a baseline.
Absolutely do NOT let anyone talk you into the Dex test. I don’t even think modern vets do that anymore as it was known to throw an already laminitic horse into founder

When my horses were in the study, MSU gave me the added option of adding a massive amount of Kero syrup to all three horses diets. I said no way, that I would pull out of the study before I did that. Thankfully they were ok with my decision.

testing involves a vile of blood. Two viles of blood if you want to check cortisol level for Cushings. Not a bad idea, if you can afford it, as that would give you that base line as well:)

Testing protocol:

No feed pan stuff or treats after 10:00 PM. Horse can have free access to hay and water only, no pasture.

Vets generally try to get to the horse in early AM. That not only gives them blood shortly following a night of rest but I have found it also reduces stress on the horse because they want out of the stall.

****
Regarding environment: I forgot to say that while environment plays a huge part, I feel each horse’s predisposition plays a bigger role.

Duke was diagnosed in 2007.

Joker was diagnosed in 2012 AFTER I had already changed all of their diets in 2007.

Duke, Joker, Rusty and Streeter-the-Arab all ate in the same pastures and all ate the same feed & hay.

Streeter never developed metabolic issues and Rusty still has not thankfully.

It is worth noting, all of their body TYPES. Duke and Joker were/are short coupled stocky types.

While Streeter was “Arab short-coupled”, he was a slender horse.
Rusty is a long backed, athletic built horse and is still very athletic.

I don’t know if that’s important in the grand scheme of metabolic issues but it’s all I could pinpoint on my two, when all three of my Walking Horses essentially share the same heritage once I get beyond their grandparents.

The MSU study was a great learning tool for me, as they kept me appraised of the results, and it was a good study for them as three registered horses of the same breed, living on the same farm, could be used.

To reiterate, NO sugar, syrup, dex, nothing—— and don’t let anyone, degreed or not, try and talk you into it.

Vets do not spin blood for metabolic results in their offices. They send it out to labs. My vet used Cornell.
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Last edited by walkinthewalk; 03-16-2020 at 09:16 PM.
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