Insulin resistance (IR) is the main component of equine metabolic syndrome and an important risk factor for laminitis in horses. IR is defined as a clinical state in which insulin-responsive tissues (such as the liver, adipose tissue and muscle) are insensitive to normal or elevated levels of insulin and will accumulate high levels of glucose in their blood instead of transferring it for absorption by cells throughout the body. Low-grade systemic inflammation and oxidative stress are both features of obesity and insulin resistance.
Obese or overweight horses need to be put on a weight loss program by limiting caloric intake, restricting access to pastures with grass, and increased exercise. Hay should be selected with low NSC content or soaked in cold water for 60 minutes prior to feeding.
Select feeds that are low in starch and sugar. It is also better to feed smaller meals more frequently as opposed to two larger meals.
A drug often used however potential side effects include mild colic and hypoglycaemia when first started.
Used to induce weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity.