Grasping Insulin Resistance in Horses

Two leading researchers explain insulin’s effects on the body and how to manage the insulin-resistant horse.
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Older horse standing near hay bales
To manage horses with insulin issues successfully, a critical first step is simply understanding what insulin is, what goes wrong, and why it matters. | Photo: iStock

Two leading researchers explain insulin’s effects on the body and how to manage the IR horse

Raise your hand if you’ve ever wondered, “Wait a minute, which is the bad one—insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance in horses? After all, if too much insulin is bad, wouldn’t we want our horses to be resistant to it? The whole talk of insulin sensitivity and resistance can seem pretty confusing. And it only adds to the stress of dealing with a horse who has or might have insulin-related issues.

To manage horses with insulin issues successfully, a critical first step is simply understanding what insulin is, what goes wrong, and why it matters. The second? Care for them according to the latest scientific findings.

How Insulin Works (or Doesn’t Work)

Glucose, a type of sugar we get from the foods we eat, supplies energy to all our cells—muscle, skin, brain, etc. But it needs help getting from the digestive system into the bloodstream and then into the body’s various tissues and cells

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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