Common Symptoms of Equine Metabolic Syndrome

Common Symptoms of Equine Metabolic Syndrome

Every horse owner wants the best for their horse, especially when it comes to their health. If you’ve noticed your horse struggling with their health lately, experiencing unexplained weight gain, or having lower stamina, they may be suffering from Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). EMS is similar to type II diabetes in humans, and there are several warning signs you should look out for. Keep reading to learn about the common symptoms of Equine Metabolic Syndrome.

Insulin Dysregulation
The most common symptom of EMS is insulin dysregulation, formerly known as insulin resistance. This occurs when your horse’s pancreas produces too much insulin, which is supposed to help your horse absorb and use glucose. If the pancreas starts producing too much insulin for too long, your horse’s body can become immune to it. This makes the pancreas work harder to produce higher insulin levels that your horse isn’t immune to. Watching your horse’s sugar intake and carefully administering treats designed for insulin-resistant horses is key to helping your horse overcome this issue.

Weight Gain and Obesity
As a horse struggles with too much insulin and the inability to effectively process sugar, they can suddenly gain weight with seemingly no explanation. You can increase their exercise regimen and adjust their diet, but the weight will likely stay on until a vet can make the EMS diagnosis. Horses that are obese may already have EMS or may be at a higher risk of developing it. This extra weight can also affect your horse’s stamina while they exercise.

Excessive Thirst
Just like in a human body, your horse’s pancreas needs water to properly function. When their pancreas isn’t working correctly, you may notice that your horse is excessively thirsty. This is because the pancreas is working overtime, constantly trying to produce more insulin, and it needs more water than usual to keep up with this extra work. If you notice your horse is excessively thirsty and struggling with its weight, you may need to call your vet and ask for an EMS test.
The common symptoms of Equine Metabolic Syndrome are insulin dysregulation, weight gain and obesity, and excessive thirst. While you may not be able to see insulin dysregulation, the physical symptoms of this condition can alert you of an issue, allowing you to your horse’s vet and begin treatment promptly.


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