Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Esmae Update: Equine Metabolic Syndrome

The bloodwork is finally in and Esmae has some issues that indicate Equine Metabolic Syndrome, a fairly new condition about which much is still being discussed. In brief:

Esmae's plasma cortisol and insulin levels were elevated. Also her serum iron was slightly high and her zinc was slightly low. The iron and zinc levels are not significant. Her cortisol and insulin levels are consistent with equine metabolic syndrome. This condition is similar to Cushing's disease but is different due to the cause of the condition. Cushing's disease also affects older animals. Equine metabolic syndrome is an insulin resistant condition. This increases blood glucose and cortisol levels. Current thinking and research indicate that the cause of this syndrome is chronic obesity. There is some suspicion of a genetic link as well, but this has not been proven. Having this problem makes them more prone to becoming obese in the future and increases the risk of laminitis or founder.

Her insulin is 70 and the high normal range is 25. This seemed REALLY high but the vet said he has seen horses with 800 levels. The cortisol should be 85 for high normal and is 93.7.

I was instructed to confine Esmae to a dry lot and give her 4 hours of turn out per day. In addition to this, she can have 1 flake of hay per day. Ideally, this should be about 5 lbs of hay. She also needs 1.5 lbs of Purina WellSolve W/C twice daily. Also, I'm to feed her 2 scoops of Metabolic Support twice daily. She will continue to get daily wormer as well. She will begin lunging daily, starting with 10 minutes daily, increasing by 5 minutes every 3-4 days until 25 minutes per day.

How overweight is she? I don't really know - everyone has said she is a "little heavy," no one said she was exceedingly overweight, and it fluctuates based on pasture and time of year and amount of riding. Since she is young (7) and otherwise in good shape, and this is an early and mild case, she can expect to recover and with careful dietary management she should be fine. I will get to learn a lot about monitoring her health to know how to track her weight, pulse and heart rate and hopefully get a lot more in tune with her. We will get to spend more time together. Neither of us like lunging much but I'll try and find some variety.

1 comment:

Roe said...

Sounds to me like a horse version of Cushings Disease in humans. Maybe she has a tumor on her pituitary gland (if she has a pituitary gland). Cushings is hard to diagnose in humans and has the same symptoms and is a fairly recent discovery, wouldn't surprise me if they haven't applied that knowledge to horses yet, sadly though you'd need to get an MRI of the gland to be sure.