The Laminitis Link

EQUUS - - Eq In Brief -

Ex­actly how in­sulin can lead to laminitis is still un­known, but the link be­tween the two is cer­tain. “Re­gard­ing how in­sulin and laminitis are linked, there are sev­eral dif­fer­ent po­ten­tial patholo­gies,” says Shan­non Pratt-Phillips, DVM, of North Carolina State Univer­sity. “Research has shown that if you in­fuse in­sulin into a horse at high lev­els, this can cause laminitis.”

She adds that glu­cose it­self may also con­trib­ute to laminitis. “In other species, par­tic­u­larly hu­mans and ro­dent mod­els, when the glu­cose st up­ward, some­thing called glu­cose tox­i­c­ity oc­curs. Just hav­ing too much glu­cose in the blood­stream can dam­age mem­branes. This is when we see hu­mans with type 2 di­a­betes who de­velop gan­grene. It can be a re­sult of glu­cose caus­ing dam­age to the lit­tle blood ves­sels within the feet or within the eye—caus­ing glau­coma.”

Obe­sity as­so­ci­ated with EMS may also play a role. “In an obese horse, fat can ac­tu­ally pro­duce hor­mones and in­flam­ma­tory pro­teins that put the body into an in­flam­ma­tory state. This may di­rectly af­fect how that cas­cade hap­pens within the cells after in­sulin is present. Then the obe­sity and in­flam­ma­tion can sen­si­tize the ves­sels of the foot. If the horse is al­ready in an in­flam­ma­tory state and those blood ves­sels are al­ready some­what dam­aged by the in­flam­ma­tory pro­teins, then when you get a whammy of glu­cose or in­sulin or some­thing that is fur­ther dam­ag­ing, this can push the sit­u­a­tion over the edge.”

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