The objective of this study was to examine age-related differences in glycemic and insulinemic responses of horses that were fed various feedstuffs, with particular attention to method of feed processing. A 16 × 16 Latin square design was used with eight 2-year-olds and eight mature Arabians. Horses were maintained on a roughage diet and were subjected to a glycemic response test once weekly. A control treatment consisted of an oral dextrose drench (0.25 g dextrose/kg of BW). Ten treatments consisted of variously processed feed ingredients fed at the rate of 1.5 g/kg of BW. Five other treatments were commercial feeds of a proprietary nature and are not reported. Fasting blood samples were taken once a week for 16 weeks. Thirty minutes later, another baseline sample was taken and horses were administered their respective treatment. Further blood samples were taken every 30 minutes through four hours. Samples were analyzed for glucose and insulin concentrations. Differences in glucose response between 2-year-olds and mature horses were minimal. However, mature horses had a higher insulin response ( P < .01) suggesting young horses had greater insulin sensitivity. Additionally, differences ( P < .05) existed between treatments with pelleted steam-processed corn having the highest glycemic response and cracked corn the lowest. Results from this study confirm that mature horses have reduced insulin sensitivity and that both glycemic and insulinemic responses are altered with feed processing techniques. Thermal processing produces the greatest response; however, a low glycemic response may not be desirable if starch escapes into the hindgut.
Journal of Equine Veterinary Science – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2010
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