Thehorse.com - Full Article
by: Tracy Gantz
October 31 2010, Article # 17166
Insulin-resistant horses are prone to laminitis, but owners and veterinarians can often successfully manage them through strict diet and exercise regimens so that they don't develop laminitis. Ray J. Geor, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, professor and Chair of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University, outlined some of those regimens at the Sept. 17-18 Laminitis West Conference in Monterey, Calif.
"We've got two opportunities for intervention," said Geor. "First, we've got animals that we know have had laminitis and also show evidence of obesity and insulin resistance (also called equine metabolic syndrome, or EMS). Second, we may identify a horse or pony with clinical features of EMS, even though laminitis has yet to be detected—in both situations, the goal is to manage the obesity and insulin resistance so that episodes of laminitis are avoided."
In designing a diet and exercise program, Geor first stressed the importance of a thorough baseline clinical assessment. That includes not only checking body weight and body condition score and blood-insulin levels, but also evaluating the horse's current feeding program, its level of physical activity, and whether or not it is sound for exercise.
Set realistic goals for weight loss and develop a monitoring plan...
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