Insulin resistant and cushings - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By gottatrot
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-12-2018, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Insulin resistant and cushings

My horse who’s 11 was just diagnosed with cushings and high insulin. We have his cushings under control now working on his insulin levels. What’s the best feed for his condition? I’ve tried low carb but he hates it 🙁
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-12-2018, 03:57 PM
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My first question would be if he needs extra feed beyond hay? Many insulin resistant horses do not need extra feed. Of course the hay you feed must be low NSC, so if you don't know the levels you should soak it for an hour before feeding it. Also grass must be restricted so the horse does not get too much sugar that way. Many people use a grazing muzzle or restrict turnout time.

If he needs extra feed some good choices many horses like are beet pulp or alfalfa pellets.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-12-2018, 04:05 PM
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You will get as many different answers as there are metabolic horses.

1. Have your hay tested for WSC & NSC. If its starches and sugars are high you will have to soak it --- there's a lot of debate as to how long to soak hay. 20 minutes seems to be good to leech out the sugars and carbs, more time will end up leeching out vitamins and minerals.

2. My IR horse only gets a condensed vit/min supplement that is soy-free and does not have added iron. I mix it and his other needed supplements with 1-1/2 measuring cups of Timothy pellets twice daily and add water to keep everything together.

If your horse is an easy keeper, I would only feed a condensed vit/min supplement mixed in Timothy pellets. If he is a hard keeper, you will need to find a high fat calorie feed with a low NSC value.

When my horse was diagnosed as IR in 2012 his insulin level was 303 and his founder was so serious I considered PTS'ng him. His blood test last week showed an insulin reading of 82 which is in a happy normal range. He has not needed a muzzle since 2015 and he is able to be on pasture several hours daily. He is my avatar horse, that pic was 2017 on his 21st B-day.

That all said, I am not managing Cushings. Does your vet have your horse on Prascend? The dosage varies with each horse.

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-12-2018, 04:17 PM
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If you need a feed, check out Purina Enrich Plus. No sugars and no carbs. Your vet can advise you on how much to feed. We use it even though we don't have any IR horses, and the picky eater licks his bowl clean!
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-12-2018, 09:45 PM
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Actually Boo it is low sugar and carbs not no sugar or carbs. The combined total of sugar (5%) and starch (10%) gives you a 15% feed that because it is concentrated and you would be feeding only 1-2lbs you could do that safely for many horses that are IR. If you think there may be an issue you could split it into two feedings. You could also go to the Enrich 32 which is strictly the ration balancer with no extras to make it palatable. You can top dress alfalfa or beet pulp with it and just make sure with either you are feeding the recommended amount of forage (that has been tested for NSC).
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-12-2018, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. Hes on presend and doing quite well on it his levels are great now but his insulin level was quite high.. ugh.. He foundered last year and all his blood work came back normal. We got trough it and he was fine for almost a year. Then he recenly came up lame again redid his blood work now tested positive for cushings. Ive been soaking his hay and switched his grain to a carb safe one but he hates it. Hes a pretty easy keeper he can actually stand to loose a pound or two... lol
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-13-2018, 10:27 AM
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Then I'd go to the Enrich 32 on top of something he likes that is acceptable diet wise and keep doing what you are doing with his hay.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-16-2018, 08:39 AM
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ECIR website

Anyone with a Cushings or IR horse needs to check out this website:

It is the best veterinary resource and support available. It is run by Dr. Eleanor Kellon, DVM. She literally wrote the book on equine nutrition and specializes in Cushings and IR. You need to keep ESC + starch below 10% of total diet. And getting minerals balanced is also key. Iron overload can be a big issue for these horses.

There is a lot of outdated and unclear information floating around in horse communities about these conditions because vets simply don't have time to keep up on the latest. When my horse foundered the ECIR group and Dr. Kellon saved my mare's life. With the information there I was also able to inform my vet!

Also re: bloodwork be aware that you have to look at more than insulin numbers. It's the glucose to insulin ratio that is critical. Check out this page: IR Calculator
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-21-2018, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Drinda View Post
Iíve tried low carb but he hates it 🙁
Kinda like a friend who's IR & her 2 kids won't touch anything healthy, live on soft drink... & she says she's tried 'low carb' on the kids, but they won't eat, end up making themselves sick with hunger & then she has to give them a Coke to get their blood sugars up so they feel better... Well maybe. But my point is that it's because they've lived on coke & crap all their lives they're not used to good food & don't like it.

If you only offer them healthy stuff, they might take a while to get used to it, but they're highly unlikely to starve themselves.

You could check out the link in my signature for more info & post some hoof(& body) pics too if you like.
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