The purpose of this study was to determine how insulin and leptin concentrations varied in a large population of privately owned horses. Further, the study was designed to examine the relationships between insulin and leptin with innate (sex, age, breed) and managerial (diet, exercise) factors in these horses. Resting blood samples (for determination of glucose, insulin, and leptin concentrations), body condition scores, feed information, and health history were collected from 366 privately owned horses. In this group of horses, 48% were considered overweight (Body Condition Score ≥6) and 8% were considered hyperinsulinemic (insulin concentrations >30 μU/mL). Confirming the findings of studies within research herds, both insulin and leptin concentrations were found to be correlated with body condition score ( P < .001). It was also found that geldings had higher insulin concentrations than mares ( P < .05). Ponies were found to have higher insulin and leptin concentrations as well as higher body condition scores, than several other breeds examined. While not a specific measure of insulin sensitivity, resting insulin concentrations have been associated with quantitative measurements of insulin sensitivity and may be useful in large-scale studies for estimating insulin and glucose dynamics. Because of the association between insulin resistance and obesity with diseases such as laminitis, the findings of the present study may help owners identify horses that may be at risk for the development of such conditions.
Journal of Equine Veterinary Science – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2010
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