Thehorse.com - Full Article
by: Emmy Widman, Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine
October 19 2008
Insulin resistance can lead to Type II diabetes in people. In horses, it can lead to what is called equine metabolic syndrome (EMS).
"We have diagnosed five or six horses (with EMS) here at Washington State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital during the past year," said Nicki Wise, DVM, a WSU second-year equine medicine resident. "Most presented with chronic laminitis, which is the one of the biggest problems for horses that have EMS."
Beyond chronic laminitis, a horse's appearance could raise suspicions of EMS.
"Often, horses with EMS have abnormal fat deposits over their neck, rump, tail, and eyes," Wise said. "The disease is closely related to Cushing's disease. Technically it is different, but a lot of the signs are the same. Generally, the disease is not life-threatening, but it will probably shorten their lifespan if these horses are not managed properly."
Ponies, Arabians, and Paso Finos are among the common breeds that the condition is found in, but any horse can suffer from it. EMS also tends to occur in middle-age to older horses, and those that are obese and have a sedentary lifestyle.