Commentary: Considerations for the IR Horse

Eleanor Kellon, VMD, of Uckele Health & Nutrition, shares her thoughts on insulin resistance in horses.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, shares her thoughts on the state of insulin resistance in horses. (Editor’s Note: If you believe your horse is IR, work with your veterinarian to develop a management plan designed to best treat each specific animal.)

Equine insulin resistance (IR) has been so well publicized everyone has heard of it. However, few really understand what it is, what causes it, and what to do about it.

Parallels have been drawn between equine insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome and human type 2 diabetes. While some of them are indeed valid, others are not and this complicates efforts to treat the horses correctly.

There is nothing new about IR. What’s new is that we recognize it for what it is. The stereotype of an overweight pony as high risk for pasture laminitis is timeless. The existence of laminitis prone lines in horse breeds, such as Arabians and Morgans, has been more of a secret. Some lesser known breeds, like Peruvian Pasos, are highly prone to IR but their breeders and aficianados are very aware of their

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