The value of a tailored diet and exercise program for horses and ponies prone to laminitis due to equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) has been shown in a British study.

The researchers from the University of Edinburgh and University of Liverpool recruited 19 animals in the study.

Ruth Morgan and her colleagues set out to determine whether significant weight loss, accompanied by improvements in measures of insulin sensitivity, could be achieved in horses and ponies with their EMS managed by their owners at home under veterinary guidance.

Of the 19 horses and ponies used in the study, 17 had a history of laminitis. Those with Cushing’s disease were excluded.

Each owner was given an individually tailored diet and exercise program to follow for their horse for 3 to 6 months.

All the animals were found to have lower body scores, with 18 of the 19 animals recording a reduction in body weight.

The researchers, whose findings are reported in the Equine Veterinary Journal, found improved insulin levels on several measures, including a combined glucose insulin tolerance test.

They concluded that a diet and exercise program tailored to the needs of the individual animal and implemented by the owner resulted in weight loss accompanied by improvements in insulin sensitivity.

Treatment of Equine Metabolic Syndrome: a clinical case series
R. A. Morgan, J. A. Keen and C. M. McGowan.
DOI: 10.1111/evj.12445
The abstract can be read here.

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