those sweet calories.........!
Many horses have problems in
the way they metabolize carbohydrates and sugars. When these horses
exhibit clinical signs, they may be diagnosed as Insulin Resistant (IR)
or having Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). It is important to know
that the various sources of energy from feeds are digested and
metabolized differently. The three main sources of energy for horses
are carbohydrates (starch), fats, and proteins. There are many
commercially prepared high fat, low starch diets now available for
these horses. Managing pasture turn out and grazing is also of vital
importance. Grazing muzzles can save these horses lives!
A way to
identify horses with possible metabolic problems is to evaluate
their overall appearance. Most of these horses will have abnormal
fatty deposits along their neck (cresty) and at the base of the
tail. Many geldings will also have increased fat deposits around
their sheath. A long hair coat, low energy levels, recurring muscle,
tendon, and/or ligament injuries, abscesses and laminitis are other
good indicators of metabolic disorders. Blood tests are indicated to
determine which disorder(s) is present. Research indicates that an
overweight horse is more likely to become insulin resistant.
Implementing a weight loss program through calorie and
carbohydrate restriction, controlled exercise, and appropriate
nutritional supplements may be all that is necessary to get
insulin/glucose levels under control. Horses suffering from Insulin
Resistance or Equine Metabolic Syndrome can greatly benefit from a
nutrient specific supplemental program.