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Do these situations sound familiar? • Your horse has been prescribed stall rest and you know you need to cut back on feed, however you notice your horse is losing muscle tone. • You...
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It has turned into a real challenge to find a supplement or a bag of feed without also finding the words “natural and artificial flavorings” among the ingredients. “Natural flavorings” sounds harmless enough —...
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Understanding the difference between non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) and structural carbohydrates, and how they are calculated, can be an important guide to maintaining healthy weight and a more balanced metabolism in easy keepers and metabolic horses.
There are two general categories of carbohydrates: non-structural and structural. Starches and sugars are known as non-structural carbohydrates. They are digested by enzymes and absorbed in the foregut. Although minimal carbohydrate digestion happens in the stomach, most of the digestion and absorption occurs in the small intestine.
Structural carbohydrates are fiber components like cellulose, pectin, fructan, and hemicellulose that are digested with the help of microorganisms in the hindgut.
Over the past several years as the number of metabolic horses has increased to almost epidemic proportions, I have been diligently studying, testing, and experimenting with plants and foods to see what can help bring balance to the metabolic horse’s system.
Every time a new supplement comes out for insulin resistant or Cushings horses, I immediately go read the labeled ingredients. Sometimes I think to myself, “Hmm, I need to do some research on that ingredient,” or often, when I’m familiar with the ingredient, ask myself, “Why would a company include that?”
Of course the basics for maintaining a healthy horse with metabolic issues, or one that could become metabolic begins with food and lifestyle.
[Thanks to Anna Eller for Allie’s story…]
Allie is a 13-year-old shire appendix quarter horse cross mare. She is my husband’s pleasure-horse but doesn’t get very consistent work. She is a very easy keeper and started to get a little cresty in the neck, as well as fat deposits over her tailhead. She has been barefoot her whole life, and has never had any health concerns.
Due to the fat deposits, our vet recommended that we test her for insulin resistance. In January 2015, we drew blood and then gave her 90ml of light Kyro syrup and redrew blood an hour later. The results were staggering. Normal insulin levels are 5-20 u/ml and Allie was 108.7 before the Kayro syrup. After the sugar spike, she was greater than 150 (the test only goes up to 150, so she was off the charts).