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Reducing the Risk of Insulin Dysregulation

 Insulin Dysregulation

Insulin Dysregulation

Do you know more about this issue than horse owners in the USA? 

A survey of 122 horse owners in the USA found that over half of those surveyed were moderately or very aware of insulin dysregulation (ID) but when asked to identify symptoms, some confused ID with PPID (formerly known as Cushing’s Syndrome). In addition, although many horse owners could identify the management practices needed to try and deal with ID, few were actually implementing them. So, how would you have fared if you had taken the survey? 
Would you have known that ID doesn’t just affect horses that are overweight or obese? ID is largely replacing the term insulin resistance for this very reason – it isn’t simply a case of being overweight any more. There is some evidence to show that horses consuming starch and sugar for prolonged periods have higher circulating insulin levels in their bloodstream – maybe this is sufficient to cause ID later on.
Reducing the risk of ID 

  • Feed a low non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) eg starch and sugar diet –– under 12% in the total diet including forage is recommended
  • Reduced pasture turn out – only 46% of horse owners in the US study identified reduced turn out as a possible management strategy for ID. Grass is an abundant source of sugar and so it is vital that intake is managed to combat ID
  • Increased exercise – assuming a horse is sound then exercise is vital. In humans, even if weight loss isn’t achieved through using more energy, there is evidence that exercise still helps to promote sensitivity to insulin
  • Soaking hay – only a 1/3 of horse owners knew that soaking hay reduced its sugar content. But how long should it be soaked for? Results vary but a recent study soaked hay at 16 C for 9 hours and found that the water soluble carbohydrate losses ranged from 23 to 53%. 
The study mentioned is: 
Arana-Valencia N, Cater MW, Walker N, Assessment of owner and veterinarian awareness of equine insulin dysregulation and available treatments in Southeastern United States, Journal of Equine Veterinary Science (2017), doi: 10.1016/j.jevs.2017.08.003.

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Dengie Horse Feeds

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