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Brainstorm Session Needed: Metabolic Peeps Check In Please!

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  • Brainstorm Session Needed: Metabolic Peeps Check In Please!

    No.. not those of you who ARE metabolic, those of you who *deal* with metabolic horses

    I have a friend who has an Arab mare whose condition really freaks me out. She is a purebred Arab, 7 years old, and she is thin *underneath* her adipose fat pads. Huge crest, adipose pads everywhere. But otherwise the horse is almost skinny. She has almost no muscle at all, in spite of being worked and living out 24/7.

    My fear is that push is coming to shove w/this horse because her feet are starting to slowly lose concavity. There are no other signs of an imminent crash (I have been holding my breath for years waiting for it to happen) and I think it's going to be a slow burn situation if something doesn't change.

    She is fed NO CONCENTRATES - no soy, in case anyone is wondering and does get a vitamin/mineral supplement. She is on MagOx. She has been on a high dose of Quiessence w/no change, same for Remission. She gets free choice very low NSC hay. She has been rotated thru a variety of supplements with no change. She has been thoroughly dewormed.

    I think she should have her thyroid tested but of course there is no base line so that information may be irrelevant. I strongly suspect a genetic factor.. her half sister was the same way and did founder repeatedly - she was the first sinker/penetrated sole I ever trimmed.

    Thoughts?
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

  • #2
    Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
    She gets free choice very low NSC hay.
    what kind of hay?
    what if the WSC, ESC and starch content on dm basis?
    If any access to grass or weeds, what kind?
    Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      She doesn't test her hay as it's never the same. Orchard grass, she soaks it. Access to grass is minimal, it is fescue, we have had our fescue tested here and the endophyte level is very low (much to the labs surprise).

      What is really interesting is that the horse is actually THIN under her fat pads. I have encouraged her to put her on an amino acid supplement to see if she will then build muscle but she is paranoid to change anything right now.
      "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
      ---
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
        What is really interesting is that the horse is actually THIN under her fat pads.
        I believe you. Have seen quite a few thin horses with fat pads. Have one meself that has that tendency. Like the black horse at the top of this page?
        http://www.safergrass.org/articles/EMSgallery.htm

        Can you get Bermuda hay there?

        Do some Googling on 'fructose insulin resistance' or 'fructose liver toxicity'. They use fructose to induce IR in rats for study.
        Some university researchers been quizzing me on fructose levels in grass and hay. They acknowledge a difficult form of hepatic IR in some horses. They won't say too much because they know I blab all over, but I think they are looking at increased rates of gluconeogenesis in certain IR individuals. That would implicate both fructose and fructan fermentation products which can be converted to glucose in the liver. Orchard and fescue have higher levels of both compared to Bermuda, a C4 grass. Mine have been doing really well the last 5 years on a C4 grass hay.

        Just a theory, mind you, but may be worth an experiment on the ones that don't respond to the standard program. I think there are many ways for a horse to be IR, and they may require different methods for control.
        katy
        Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org

        Comment


        • #5
          My IR horse started building muscle as soon as I fed him some oil. I don't do the full-blown EPSM diet with cups and cups of oil, but even a modest amount made a noticeable difference - maybe 1/4 to 1/3 cup per feeding. I use alfalfa pellets since I can't get beet pulp without molasses here.

          I'm not in the camp that believes that feeding oil to horses gives them IR or diabetes or whatever. I'm more in agreement with Dr. Valberg that even a small amount of oil can make a positive difference with some horses.

          I think a blood panel and thyroid test might be in order for your friends' mare in any case.

          Comment


          • #6
            While I haven't dealt with nearly the issues you have, I would be inclined to do a thyroid panel, even though there's no baseline. Yes, the horse may be a little off, and that might be her normal, but if you find something that's REALLY out of whack, that could be addressed as a starter.

            I know Thyro-L is used for hypothyroid, but is it just a thyroid-regulating product that also works for hyper?

            What a crappy situation
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

            Comment


            • #7
              The more IR a horse becomes, the less nutrition the horse actually gets into the tissues, hence the general weight loss, but fat pockets. The body tries to deal with the excess blood sugar by pulling it out with the help of the liver and converting it to triglycerides. They are then safely stored away on those typical areas - crest, shoulders, rump, etc.

              I'd have her first tested to see where she's at- insulin glucose and ACTH levels, although you may want to wait for the ACTH test until spring, as it can be falsely elevated in the winter. Thyroid function is negatively affected in many IR horse and is often corrected when the IR is under control. Therefore I would not yet spend money on testing the thyroid. I'd start with insulin and glucose first and take it from there.

              I'd have the forage tested as well. What kind of mineral/vit supplement does she get and does she get any grazing?

              Arabs are notorious for becoming IR because many tend to be such easy keepers.

              Comment


              • #8
                Normally I would agree with not treating the thyroid as a primary problem. But in the case of a horse who isn't responding as it theoretically should to a solid IR diet, treating the thyroid directly may be what turns the horse around. I've read some studies on ponies that could not be controlled with a solid IR diet, but made giant leaps by treating the thyroid directly, and once weaned off the meds they were managed on the diet. Others needed the meds permanently as well as the diet.
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would follow the Equine Cushings group recommendations - they have tons of experience there about IR: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/EquineCushings/

                  Best wishes!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm not a metabolic guru... however, I think the premise behind adding oil to IR or otherwise metabolic horses is similar to the diet for hypoglycemic people.
                    Oil and fats block and/or slow the uptake/absorption of sugars. I don't know if it blocks all sugars or if it only blocks certain types. But it does slow them.

                    Having suffered for years from hypoglycemia I was quite frustrated as I also had VERY high cholesterol... which meant adding fats was a no-no. (but I also had SUPER elevated good choleserol along with high bad chol.) Obviously the cholesterol plays no part in the horse's dietary issue, but fats blocking absorption of sugars does. For hypoglycemics, we want to SLOW the absorption of sugar; otherwise the body quickly sucks up easily available sugars and then goes after every last bit in the body, depleting the body of needed sugars. Which specific type... I'm clueless.

                    I'm surprized that the added magnesium isn't helping... but that could be a strong indicator to someone who deals with this type of issue.

                    Are the sugars in Orchard grass diff than in other grass hays?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I thought that orchard grass tended to be higher in sugars than say timothy or bermuda. But I also realize that it can really vary. If you look at the test results of the different hays on on dairy one, the ranges overlap. So some bermuda hays can be higher in sugars than some timothy hays or even fescue or orchard grass.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Does the owner have any idea of the mineral profile of the soil where her hay is grown? Out here, we tend to have very low copper hay. It's also very high in iron. Also, orchard grass' NSC is all over the place.

                        Selenium--too much or too little can cause some severe problems.

                        Has your friend considered cushings? A friend of mine had a Morgan who developed cushings very early--as did her dam. This horse never did develop the long coat or dropped back, but foundered again and again.

                        Good luck to the horse and her connections.
                        Barbaro Cultist, Metabolic Nazi

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          no ideas but did u try asking on dr kellon's yahoo group?

                          Also, I can't imagine amino acid supplement doing any more damage than is already being done.
                          This must be so frustrating to the owner. Not knowing is awful. Leaves you feeling helpless. I was almost 'relieved' when Kip's ACTH came back elevated bc I finally had an answer to my questions.
                          http://www.eponashoe.com/
                          TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My thoughts...

                            full blood work-IR/glucose/thyroid/ACTH (after winter).

                            I would test batch or two of hay just to see SOMETHING. If anything I would go with a strict NO iron, high zinc/copper supplement just for fun.

                            And i agree with JB-I know of a couple of IR horses that did not test off on thyroid that are doing GREAT on thyroid meds.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think if this were my horse, I'd do a full analysis of her hay and water..maybe even hair.... to see what might be missing or possibly present at too high a level. She might be getting toxins in her in some form that no one suspects. I had a biochemist tell me this Fall when I was doing my feed research after my horses' problems that there are 70,000 more toxins in the environment now that negatively affect the thyroid than pre WWII. There could be pesticides or heavy metals that could be affecting this horse.

                              Edited to add that my vet also suggested thyroid supplementation as a possibility for an IR horse that did not respond to a dietary approach. While there is no proven relationship that low thyroid causes IR, it can improve by treating the low thyroid according to my vet.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I too have an Arab that (although never tested) because it so common in her breed I have her on the low carb foods and beet pulp. She can get cresty and when I talked to the vet about that she said to put on Magesium. I tried Quiessence at first - did nothing for crest so added some Mag oxide and the crest decreased and softened. I never stopped the Quiessence because it also has chromium which I've read is also important along w/ Mag. I'm careful about spring and fall grass sugars and increase Quiessence during those times. In the spring I plan to have her levels tested (vet said not needed in the pasted) because she will be on more grass this summer when moved home and want to know what I'm really dealing with. So just wanted to throw out the Chromium to see if other feel that might help.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                                  She has almost no muscle at all, in spite of being worked and living out 24/7.
                                  Needs to be worked MORE. Arabians aren't at the top of the list as endurance mounts for nothing. Most get far too little exercise for their metabolisms to function the way nature intended. These horses need more exercise on a regular basis than almost any other breed.

                                  Once they've foundered they can be hell to manage. In my experience, very few can be brought back to previous soundness levels - that's if they even survive a significant founder.

                                  If her soles are already losing concavity, I'd suggest you have her radiographed ASAP. As a baseline, if nothing else. She might be experiencing what has been described by some experts as "metabolic slow sinking".

                                  You're right in being very concerned. However, I'm not convinced her diet is as optimal as you believe (lack of forage testing, a GP supplement, unknown protein intake, 24-7 on possibly stressed pasture, etc.). And rather than pump her with drugs as some have suggested, get someone to ride the snot out of her daily if she's still sound (but losing concavity to the point it's noticeable doesn't sound good).

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    The first things that come to mind are dietary protein deficiency and liver pathology.

                                    I know that you understand the importance of amino acids for the digestive processes so you probably already thought of that. I like fenugreek seed as a lysine source due to its insulin protective properties.
                                    http://www.nature.com/bjp/journal/v1.../0706312a.html

                                    I also like grape seed extract for a number of reasons (and have been criticized for suggesting it frequently to others!), but especially with a horse who seems to be teetering on the verge of meltdown like the one you described. All mine are on it permanently.
                                    http://www.springerlink.com/content/w212l7832064067g/
                                    http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article...167-9/abstract

                                    Both are available cheap at herbalcom.com. Keep us posted on any diagnostics that get done and good luck.

                                    Comment

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