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Findings Pave the Way for Research into Sugar Metabolism and Obesity in Horses

Study Results:

Insulin sensitivity indicates how effectively the body metabolizes glucose (sugar). Body composition can influence insulin sensitivity. For example, decreased insulin sensitivity and obesity in horses have been recently linked to inflammatory conditions such as laminitis, but the relationship is not fully understood. Scientists at North Carolina State University investigated the relationship of body condition to insulin sensitivity. Results were contrary to their initial hypothesis. They hypothesized that insulin sensitivity would decrease with increasing obesity, but the results determined that insulin sensitivity neither increased nor decreased when horses gained weight. Their findings may pave the way for future research into sugar metabolism and the interactive effects of diet and obesity in horses. By knowing how body condition status (particularly obesity) affects insulin sensitivity, veterinarians may be able to help horse owners manage their horses in ways that optimize insulin sensitivity and minimize health risks. Funding from this study also helped a promising new scientist establish a lab and research program.

Dr. Shannon Pratt, North Carolina State University, D07EQ-305

Posted by MAFon February 14, 2011.

Categories: Animal health, Equine health, Horse health


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