NIACIN DE­FI­CIENCY RULED OUT AS GRASS SICK­NESS CAUSE

EQUUS - - Eq Medicalfro­nt -

straight away, so that would re­duce the risk of high in­sulin caus­ing lamini­tis.”

Bai­ley stresses that obe­sity is al­ways un­healthy for horses. “Even though obe­sity does not di­rectly ap­pear to cause the in­sulin dys­reg­u­la­tion that leads to lamini­tis, usu­ally it is an in­di­ca­tor that in­sulin lev­els may be high be­cause in­sulin pro­motes obe­sity,” he says. “There­fore, aim­ing for a mod­er­ate body con­di­tion is go­ing to be the best ad­vice for long-term man­age­ment.” Bai­ley adds that this study un­der­scores the in­flu­ence of ge­net­ics on in­sulin sen­si­tiv­ity.

“Com­par­ing breeds, we saw marked breed dif­fer­ences be­tween the re­sponses. Even though the Stan­dard­breds be­came slightly more in­sulin re­sis­tant on the high-grain diet, the ponies and An­dalu­sians were rel­a­tively in­sulin re­sis­tant even at a mod­er­ate body con­di­tion score and be­came even more in­sulin re­sis­tant on the high-grain diet (but not on the high-fat diet),” he says.

Tak­ing these find­ings into con­sid­er­a­tion, says Bai­ley, “the gen­eral ad­vice for own­ers of EMS-prone horses and ponies would be to avoid high-grain con­cen­trate feeds and spring pas­ture which may pro­duce the sorts of high in­sulin lev­els that drive in­sulin re­sis­tance and in­crease the risk of lamini­tis. When an­i­mals are in work, then us­ing some oil or a pro­pri­etary lowg­lycemic sup­ple­men­tary feed may be the best way to sup­ple­ment calo­ries.”

As the search for the cause of equine grass sick­ness (EGS) con­tin­ues, Scot­tish re­searchers have ruled out niacin de­fi­ciency as a con­trib­u­tor to the mys­te­ri­ous and deadly gas­troin­testi­nal dis­or­der.

Char­ac­ter­ized by neu­ro­log­i­cal de­gen­er­a­tion that causes paral­y­sis of the di­ges­tive tract, EGS is a rare con­di­tion that oc­curs pri­mar­ily in Bri­tain but is also seen in north­ern Europe. Horses with acute EGS de­velop se­vere colic and typ­i­cally die within 48 hours of on­set; other cases un­fold more slowly and horses may waste away for weeks be­fore dy­ing or be­ing eu­tha­na­tized. There is no known treat­ment and

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