Diet and insulin response in metabolic horses examined – Horsetalk

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A study of how diet affects insulin response in horses with Equine Metabolic Syndrome is among more than a dozen research projects involving horses, part of the nearly $ 1 million grant from the Morris Animal Foundation have received.

"Understanding How Diet Influences Insulin Responses in Horses With Equine Metabolic Syndrome" is a $ 47,570 annual study by Amanda Adams, PhD, Associate Professor and Mars Equestrian Fellow at the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center.

Adams and her team will study how diet composition affects insulin levels in horses with equine metabolic syndrome in order to improve dietary recommendations to control this condition.

Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) is a growing problem in horses. The disease is a major cause of laminitis, a painful and devastating inflammatory disease of the hoof. Insulin dysregulation (ID), a condition in which insulin levels fluctuate abnormally in response to feeding, is part of the EMS. There is a lack of informative studies on ID and EMS nutrition management. The researchers plan to analyze data on EMS horses that have been fed five different feeds to better understand the insulin response. This new information will be used to improve the nutritional management of EMS-ID horses.

Other horse research by various institutions includes work on cardiac arrhythmias, gut microbiome, eye cancer, and horse air transport.

Janet Patterson-Kane, Chief Scientific Officer of the Morris Animal Foundation, said the charity was impressed with the quality of the proposals. “We believe they have the potential to significantly improve the wellbeing of our horse companions. We take great pride in supporting these enterprising researchers in their endeavors. "

With this year's scholarships, the foundation supports teams at 13 universities and institutions. The Scientific Advisory Board of the Foundation for Large Animals selected the studies with the greatest potential to save lives, maintain health and advance veterinary care.

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Ashton Miller, PhD, recently completed her PhD and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center.

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Research into the immune function of PPID horses

In a recent study by Dr. Ashton Miller von Gluck studied various aspects of endocrine and immune function in older horses with and without PPID. One of the most important findings was that horses with PPID changed immune function.

Miller recently completed her PhD and a postdoctoral fellowship and focused on understanding how the endocrine and immune function of horses is affected by pituitary-pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), also known as Equine Cushing's disease common in older horses.

An important article from her dissertation was published in Pet endocrinology.

One of the key conclusions in the study is that dormant ACTH or adrenocorticotropic hormone is likely the best choice to determine successful responses to treatment with pergolide. Neither PPID nor pergolide appeared to affect insulin, total cortisol, and free cortisol. Systemic immune function was measured in PPID horses and it is likely that these horses are at increased risk of opportunistic infection. Despite the reduction in ACTH, pergolide treatment did not appear to affect immune function.

A key finding from the work of Miller and the research team is that veterinarians and owners of PPID horses can benefit from increased biosafety precautions when caring for PPID horses, especially in higher risk situations such as transportation, large gatherings, or competitions . In addition, it is important for veterinarians and horse owners to recognize that PPID horses are likely to be at greater risk for opportunistic infections and to encourage regular testing for PPID in horses over the age of 15 to identify subclinical cases.

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.

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