This study aimed to investigate endocrinologic test values and the response to treatment of two commonly encountered causes of endocrinopathic laminitis, equine Cushing's disease (ECD) and equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), in a veterinary practice setting. In particular, the study aimed to determine whether insulin concentration correlated to the severity of clinical laminitis in horses with EMS or ECD. Twenty-five horses were included in the study and assigned to one of three groups: ECD (n = 6), EMS (n = 10), and controls (n = 9). Blood samples were collected at an initial visit and then at regular intervals for the next 12 months. Plasma concentrations of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), cortisol, and insulin and serum concentrations of glucose and total thyroxine (T4) were obtained. Horses with ECD had significantly higher plasma ACTH concentrations than EMS horses or controls. Horses with EMS and ECD both had significantly higher plasma insulin concentrations than control horses, which was correlated with the Obel grade of laminitis ( r = 0.63). After treatment, there was a trend for a reduction in plasma ACTH concentration in horses with ECD. A program of diet and exercise for horses with EMS resulted in reductions in both plasma insulin concentrations and bodyweight, which was variable, depending on the individual. There was a significant correlation between the change in plasma insulin concentration and Obel grade of laminitis ( r = 0.69). This study has highlighted the importance of baseline plasma insulin concentration as a potential indicator of the susceptibility of horses to laminitis and the response to a program of diet and exercise.
Journal of Equine Veterinary Science – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2009
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