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Possible explanation for so many IR horses?

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  • Possible explanation for so many IR horses?

    Recalling Deltawave's "hothouse flowers" thread, I wonder if this article gets at a possible reason we have noticed more metabolic issues. If pesticide exposure affects people, why not horses?


    First two paragraphs below...

    Type 2 Diabetes May be Linked to Pesticide Exposure

    CAMBRIDGE, UK, January 25, 2008 (ENS) - Cambridge University scientists are advocating more research into the possible links between environmental pollution and type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. At least 171 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, according to estimates by the World Health Organization.

    In today's edition of the British medical journal "Lancet," Drs. Oliver Jones and Julian Griffin highlight the need to research the possible link between persistent organic pollutants, POPs, and insulin resistance, which can lead to adult onset diabetes.
    Taco Blog
    *T3DE 2010 Pact*

  • #2
    I don't think we need look that far afield. Google : "grass sugar" and look at all the new varieties of grass specially selected for high sugar content.
    Know that improved species of grass have taken over most the good grazing land in the world, pushing out the low sugar native species even where they have not been planted purposely.

    Then, check out the Off Course forum for the thread: As I'm getting older I want shorter horses..anyone else?

    Improved grass, more pony and other easy keeper breeds, owned by women with empty nest syndrome who like to feed 'the very best'. That'll do it.
    Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


    • #3
      Add on: less exercise. Horses and people were in movement a lot more than today (no BBs to type to!!) and probably ate, as already mentioned, unadulterated foods. Of the two, though, it's the higher-glycemics that are more of a culprit than less exercise.


      • #4
        I'm voting with Katy.
        It's more the content of the diet than the contaminants in the diet.
        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


        • #5
          This is a perfect opportunity to wield Occam's razor: (paraphrased)

          "Given the choice between two (or more) causes of something, the simplest, least complicated, and most obvious cause is virtually always the correct one".

          We eat too much, we don't exercise, the stuff we DO eat is stuffed with sugar, and we wonder why diabetes is on the rise?? Oh yeah, it's mysterious toxins. Mmmm hmmm.

          If 170 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, that's probably because at LEAST that many people worldwide suffer from what is lovingly known in medical circles as "biscuit poisoning". Or, in the immortal words of one of my partners, overheard by me because he likes to yell, "There's no mystery here, Mr. So-and-so. You eat too &$*#@ much!".

          It's WAAAY too easy to be a human in this day and age. Or a horse. We are designed by nature to forage, be too cold, be too hot, starve for a while now and then, eat when we can (not when we like) and move ALL THE TIME. I don't know ANYONE with a lifestyle like that. Not that starvation is a good thing, but "lean" and "hungry" are not part of the 21st century, First World lifestyle unless we make an effort to make it so.
          Click here before you buy.


          • #6
            It's more the content of the diet than the contaminants in the diet.[/QUOTE]

            Now I am not insinuating that the OP is obese or in denial. But...those people are out there in plenty. Got a few in my own family, because carb intolerance runs strong. I have tendancies myself. Last time I was in my health food store, there was this morbidly obese women, who had to walk with a cane, on the verge of not being able to walk at all. filled up the whole isle. She was buying up organic ice cream and cookies and bread and chips. Well, duh. That's not going to fix your problem. But so nice to have pesticides to blame for your condition. There's plenty of quacks out there who will sell you expensive treatments to 'detox' your body and give you more time to deny your sugar addiction.

            Carb addiction is a real, physiological condition, with withdrawal symtoms that make the addict quite ill if they try to get off the sugar. The 3 days it takes to go into ketosis and start using other forms of calories are hell. I have had training as a drug abuse counselor, and I'm here to tell you that carb addicts exhibit all the same denial and excuses that crack addicts have. We are now passing on the syndrome to our horses. I've had people at my seminars say 'but grain is all my horse has to live for'. And these were horses with chronic laminitis. If eating is the only good thing in your horses life, and it is the cause of chronic laminitis, I say shoot the poor SOB now. Or find something else for him to live for. Food will not alleviate our guilt from not spending enough time with our horses, sharing a REAL life outside their pen or stall.
            Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


            • #7
              Katy, you are (as usual) so right. Our poulation is fat. Our dogs are fat. Our cats are fat. Our horses are fat. It's not quite that simple - but it's all relative.


              • #8
                You definitely have to consider Katy's information as one of the causes. We can't disregard, however, that contaminants definitely contribute to ill health in people, small animals, and horses. And by "contaminants", I don't just mean recognized toxins.

                Until recently, animal parts were used in feed for horses and livestock. The animal parts (providing they didn't come from road kill) came from animals that were fed anti-biotics and hormones for at least a third of their lives The anti-biotics are fed because CORN is not a natural feed for cattle, so sickens them. But that's what they get in the feed lots, and lately, in the dairies before they go to slaughter.) WE eat those animals (plus the anti-biotics and hormones) unless we go to the trouble and expense to find grass fed and finished beef and other livestock. Or raise our own. Or sucessfully hunt.

                How many of us lost pets because of melamine added to pet foods? Do you believe this contaminant and others were only used in dog and cat food? Me neither.

                Whether it's new, high sugar grasses or contaminated feed (and water and soil) or a combination of these forces, our fingers need to be pointed at the USDA and FDA, and the administrations that direct their policies. Keep that in mind for the new administration, and demand that it's not going to be business as usual.

                In my editing for crap spelling, I took the time to read the responses I missed while I was typing. I do agree that lack of activity is a BIG cause of obesity --> Diabetes 2 and carb addiction. But you do see lots of WBs and Qhs who are WORKED, yet develop IR.

                And we can't overlook advances in veterinary diagnosis. How many of you remember a horse that was on and off lame all of its life with no apparent cause?
                Barbaro Cultist, Metabolic Nazi


                • #9
                  Originally posted by I'm EBO View Post
                  And we can't overlook advances in veterinary diagnosis. How many of you remember a horse that was on and off lame all of its life with no apparent cause?
                  Agreed, and mostly with this statement! My newly diagnosed Cushing's and possibly IR horse is NOT fat. Never has been. Add to it all that mine grazes his concentrates...where's the insulin spike from that?

                  While I certainly agree that many IR horses are FAT and unhealthy, I really do wonder for some if the cause was elsewhere, or is it the veterinary advances? Or owner's initiative? Most people would have put down a horse that sunk like mine. Kind of like the idea that when a horse broke it's leg, the only option was to put it down. Today some horses are just fine after surgery (of course depending on the break).
                  RIP Bo, the real Appassionato


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by I'm EBO View Post
                    How many of us lost pets because of melamine added to pet foods?
                    I would say very, very few. I don't know of a single person who lost an animal to this.

                    But you do see lots of WBs and Qhs who are WORKED, yet develop IR.
                    And I'll bet they're ridden less than 2 hours/day, are heavily grained, fed large amounts of high sugar hay and get minimal turnout (if at all).

                    But let's blame it on the pesticides...


                    • #11
                      I think awareness is a big part of it.

                      But why is it occurring more? I mean, people fed sweet feed for years. And didn't test hay, and left horses out to pasture.....

                      The biggest difference I see is that horses are not worked like they used to be.

                      The horses with the highest propensity for IR like pasos, morgans, arabs, qh's??? Well, historically, they were raised in fairly arid climates where food was scarce and they were ridden a TON! They could (and still do) live off air practically.

                      To me, that's the biggest thing. We've moved horses from hard daily work to an hour of riding 3-5 times per week.

                      Of course, overfeeding plays into it. But if the horses were just worked more, that would help tremendously. With less feed and more consistent exercise, many IR horses can actually start to regulate their blood sugar better without the big spikes.

                      My mare was in bad shape this fall after an entire summer off due to my broken arm. I was able to move her to a new barn where the feed was more controlled and start riding her more and voila--the pounds came off and now we're just maintaining. But it takes a lot of work. And that's the last piece. I think we see a lot of IR due to pure laziness. People who aren't interested in doing what it takes.
                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                      • #12
                        Changing feed helped my IR horse go from a glucose reading of 100 + to a 64 with corresponding insulin readings. When my horse came to me, he was recovering from being put back into work too soon after a bad founder. He was being fed untested timothy and orchard grass. After several false starts, I put him on alfalfa and Bermuda, plus low carb pelleted feed, beet pulp, and adjusted minerals.

                        He was an upper level dressage horse who was ridden, hard, at least two hours every day, and as you know, upper level dressage is difficult for horses. He's now a couch potato (like me), but continues to do well.

                        Maybe the only true answer is: "It just depends."

                        rcloisonne--we lost one dog. The vets who treated him told me that they had quite a number of dogs and cats who were nqr, were mysteriously ill, or died during that period. Not unrelated, we had been feeding the brands that were subsequently recalled, and even had the packages with the specific stamped dates in our house when the recalls were announced.
                        Barbaro Cultist, Metabolic Nazi


                        • #13
                          Insulin resistance and Diabetes isn't that simple. Not all diabetics are fat. Heck, not all diabetics are insulin resistant! (type I) We can't cram every single horse, person or whatever into the same little pigeonhole.

                          Maybe the only true answer is: "It just depends."
                          Hear, hear. If we had more of an appreciation for how utterly complex this kind of stuff is, we'd see a lot less crazy talk about such-and-such a nutrient/toxin/management strategy being the "key" to this or that ailment, etc.
                          Click here before you buy.


                          • #14
                            I also wonder how many IR horses are actually officially vet diagnosed with IR. I have noticed on this BB that IR, EPM, and "evilshoesyndrome" are the three most common suggestions for a lame horse. No need to get a vet out, someone on a BB has diagnosed for you.

                            Does it seem more common now because it's a real diagnosed problem or is it simply the popular problem of the day?


                            • #15
                              I agree that there is a LOOOOOT of apparent self-diagnosis going on. EPSM, IR/Cushing's, ulcers, etc. are all diagnosed with very precise diagnostic tests, but I wonder how many horses are diagnosed casually by their owners? Not much harm in contemplating a diagnosis, and not much harm in making changes based on a presumptive diagnosis, but these ailments do seem to be awfully prevalent among BB horses.
                              Click here before you buy.


                              • #16
                                Why can't all of these issues contribute

                                I agree though that some are more than others. Nothing fails with one thing, our bodies, animals bodies, nature all have fail safe procedures built in. It is when there are multiple failures that we have an issue.

                                I think Pesticides are a huge problem, but I also think our diets are an issue.

                                My animals had no chance of Melamine poisoning as I feed them all a species specific custom diet.

                                The dogs eat whole raw chicken, rabbit, goat, deer, duck, pork, fish etc. Supplemented with vitamins and veggies.

                                The cats eat all raw fish, rabbit, chicken, with supplements.

                                The horses eat Rice Bran/Flax Seed with supplements mixed in.

                                I try to eat as naturally as possible too. I'm lucky I can go to one farmer for my eggs and milk, another for a cow and another for chicken, rabbit and duck.

                                I have entertained the idea of hunting some of my own food, but there is no way I can shoot a deer at this time in my life. Maybe if I were starving but so far I don't have too.

                                Recently I've stopped eating meat and fish so we will see how long that lasts

                                Corn is prevalent in our diet whether you can see it or not. For an interesting read check out Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma.

                                I think exercise is critical too just as it is with us.

                                Well my 2 cents, and I am glad that CookiePony posted the article. But do we need scientists to tell us that Pesticides are harmful Hellooooo (no offense CP )



                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                                  I also wonder how many IR horses are actually officially vet diagnosed with IR. I have noticed on this BB that IR, EPM, and "evilshoesyndrome" are the three most common suggestions for a lame horse. No need to get a vet out, someone on a BB has diagnosed for you.

                                  Does it seem more common now because it's a real diagnosed problem or is it simply the popular problem of the day?
                                  LOL..."evilshoesyndrome"...I love that one (it's so true!)

                                  I've had one horse (not mine but in my care) diagnosed by my vet - he did a series of blood tests and he called it "metobolic syndrome" not IR. Treatment was the same though, and the horse went on pergolide(sp). The other horse he just looked at - he's 41 inches tall and 60-some inches round...and he said "Let's just say that he is"....and so we have assumed he is to be on the safe side. But honestly, after knowing and seeing the signs of one (diagnosed by my vet), and the other which we are assuming is (or will be) I wouldn't hesitate to diagnose my own again. Changing the diet sure won't hurt anything....

                                  But yes, I think it seems more common because we are reading about it on BB's. We hear(read) 1000x more stories on BB's than the days when he had to *gasp* talk to our neighbors and such .


                                  • #18
                                    Well, I think it all starts with what you put in your (horse's) mouth. I agree with KatyW: Sugar/carb addiction is indeed a real thing -- I know very few people who happily turn away from sweets. Maybe other posters here know plenty of people who can dismiss the opportunity to grab that cookie without thinking twice. Much of the time, in my experience, it's a conscious decision to say 'no.' Speaking somewhat simply, carbs beget hunger for more carbs. Most foods that come in plastic wrap or a box or a jar have sweeteners added to them. It's, honestly, unbelievable. It's far easier to be sick in this society than it is to be well, and what is sitting on our supermarket shelves is a large contributor to this malaise (no pun!).

                                    Exercise is fine, but as the solution to moderating the deleterious side of carb intake, do we know that it will arrest the hormonal meltdown that comes with excessive intake of carbs? Don't know myself. At this point, I'm saying 'doubt it.'

                                    You'll also find my other foot in the environmental poisoning camp. It's also just a matter of ethics and respect for the world that keeps us alive. Humans (or governments under cloak of law) have been blithely poisoning our 'nest' since the dawn of time, but with our population at critical mass and the indiscriminate use of chemical substances, things are in a bad way...


                                    • #19
                                      The factors I run across the most frequently are (and not in this order!):

                                      1) lack of proper deworming leading to the horses inability to use the nutrients in the provided diet, this includes daily dewormer use without proper purge deworming based on WEIGHT

                                      2) use of corticosteroids creating an artificially increased cortizol level in horses who are in chronic pain and *already* have a raised cortizol level

                                      3) previous starvation

                                      4) the common practice of MORE grain and LESS hay, which leads to insulin spikes which is something that horses are simply not designed to handle (meant to graze free choice, eating a little all the time)

                                      This is just a brief overview.. I actually deal with very few overweight IR horses, mostly thin/emaciated ones. I think I get them LONG after the fat phase, and when they are basically shutting down and getting ready to croak.

                                      Environmental toxins may very well play a role, who knows? What about fly spray?

                                      I also think someday they will prove that Cushings can be provoked by an sustained, elevated cortizol level.

                                      Regarding the prevelance of IR in our day and age, I do believe there is more of it.. because we inject our horses to keep them working while the trainer is calculating how much dex the horse can have and not get popped on a drug test, because we underdeworm because horses got bigger and dewormer tubes didn't, because we don't pull their shoes and give them the winter off anymore (stress) instead we go to WEG all winter.. because a lot of IR horses have actually been rescues who were starved (try fixing THAT metabolism, it's not always easy!) and YES, because horses overeat AND are underworked.

                                      It is interesting to note tho' that I can maintain IR horses on turnout and no other exercise, on 24/7 hay and pasture, so forced exercise is not necessarily a big player.. stall time is, tho'.
                                      "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                                      • #20
                                        Cortisol is the ultimate double-edged sword. But I do not believe that the minuscule amount of corticosteroid that gets into the "system" in the process of joint injections is enough to do much harm. In fact, my STRONG suspicion would be that there is probably more cortisol generated as a response to pain than there would be by giving a small amount of steroids to RELIEVE the pain. Widespread articular (joint) injections of steroids in humans (serial, multiple sites, multiple courses) does not appear to affect the pituitary-adrenal axis even slightly. Of course none of this is possible to measure in horses, AFAIK. Still, I would guess that injected steroids play a VERY small role in the whole IR thing. Most Cushingoid/IR horses I've seen are FAT pasture puffs who don't do enough work to warrant joint injections!
                                        Click here before you buy.