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Using a Novel Feeding System to Decrease Obesity and Metabolic Disease in Horses

Obesity and metabolic disease increase a horse’s risk of developing laminitis, a painful condition of the feet. Researchers will evaluate a novel method for inducing weight loss and improving metabolic function (sensitivity to insulin) in overweight ponies. They will use a dynamic feeding system that requires ponies to walk in order to access food, thereby providing them with unsupervised, prolonged exercise. Reseachers will then evaluate how increased exercise affects body condition and insulin sensitivity and determine if the feeding system is an effective treatment option for obesity and metabolic disease in horses/ponies. Providing a safe, accessible and effective approach to managing and preventing obesity and metabolic disease in horses will reduce the incidence of diseases such as laminitis and osteoarthritis. 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Melody A. de Laat, Queensland University of Technology, Pilot Study

Sponsor: 

Study ID: D14EQ-813