Q&A: Metabolic Disorders

Question: I’ve been hearing a lot about metabolic disorders in horses, but the more I hear, the more confused I get! What’s the difference between IR, EMS and Cushing’s, and what can be done for horses with each condition?

Answer: Insulin Resistance (IR) is when the body doesn’t respond properly to insulin, a critical hormone that transports sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream into tissues. IR is one of the three hallmarks of Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS), obesity and laminitis being the other two. EMS is most commonly seen in middle-aged horses and in certain breeds prone to being “easy keepers”. Horses with EMS don’t metabolize carbohydrates properly, resulting in problems like weight gain and laminitis.

These horses are usually placed on a weight loss diet and an exercise program. Grain, sugary treats and even pasture are off limits. Instead, their nutritional requirements should be met with a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement like SmartVite EZ Keeper Grass Pellets. In addition, there are some high-quality metabolic support supplements available. SmartControl IR Pellets are formulated to support a healthy metabolism and provides antioxidants to protect against the cellular stress caused by this condition.

Cushing’s Disease is most commonly seen in senior horses and is caused by an overactive pituitary gland, leading to a hormonal imbalance. Signs of Cushing’s include a long, curly coat, weight loss and muscle wasting. A low-starch diet is critical to the management of a horse with Cushing’s, so they too can benefit from a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. Many veterinarians prescribe the medication Prascend as part of the maintenance program.

Because horses with Cushing’s can have compromised immune function, it’s important to keep a close eye on their health. For the same reason, horses with Cushing’s can benefit from a supplement that provides antioxidants and other ingredients that support the immune system, like SmartProtect Ultra.

Question: Help! How can I give my IR horse enough turnout time without letting him graze?

Answer: Great question! Adequate turnout is important to your horse’s mental and physical well-being, even if he’s not allowed to graze. Nip his nibbling in the bud with the Deluxe Grazing Muzzle. This combination grazing muzzle and breakaway halter will keep your horse from getting the grass, while offering plenty of ventilation and still allowing him to drink. With a plastic side-release buckle as a breakaway feature, you can set your mind at ease while your horse is turned out.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in How To, SmartPak Features

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Share it:
SmartPak is the Official Tack and Equipment Supplier of the USEF.
Members save 5% off all purchases.
You'll this

SmartCombo™ Senior Pellets

As Low As: $56.95
(113 reviews)
Have questions? Contact us »
Connect with us:

Jen and Tally
Apparently I've been obsessed with horses since I was born, and I used to beg for pony rides on a regular basis. I started showing in 4-H, progressed to equitation and jumpers in high school and rode on the IHSA team in college where I also discovered the joys...

Learn more »

Ask the Vet
Every week our staff veterinarian, Dr. Lydia Gray, answers tough horse health questions from riders just like you.

Read her latest answer now »

Download our mobile apps

Put SmartPak in your pocket with these awesome apps!

Check It Out »

Healthy horses, happy riders.
SmartPak is committed to a greener planet.
Sign Up Now!
Free Catalog Get Yours Now!

SmartPak Equine is the premier online provider of horse supplies and equine supplements.
Questions? Call us Toll-Free at 1-888-752-5171. © Copyright 2013 by SmartPak Equine LLC. All Rights reserved.