Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)

Published on 2024-03-13

Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) is a condition characterized by impaired insulin production and abnormal fat distribution in equines. Insulin, a pancreatic hormone normally responsible for the entry of glucose into cells, is ineffective in this case, leading to an accumulation of glucose in the blood and lymphatic circulation.

Horses with EMS often show signs of obesity or localized fat deposits, notably near the bun, shoulders, girth passage, base of tail, salt shafts, sheath in males and udder in mares. These equines are also more likely to develop episodes of laminitis.

Diagnosis of EMS is based on a series of clinical criteria, including obesity, abnormal fat distribution and a history of laminitis. Dynamic tests, such as insulin and glucose levels, may be required to confirm the diagnosis, especially in horses showing signs compatible with Cushing's syndrome, which may be associated with EMS.

Management of EMS usually involves changes in diet and housing. Horses should be fed a low-carbohydrate, high-fiber diet, and access to pasture should be restricted. Exercise is also recommended, except in cases of locomotor disorders associated with laminitis.

In cases where diet and exercise are not sufficient to control the condition, medication may be prescribed, such as levothyroxine to promote weight loss or metformin to reduce persistent hyperinsulinemia. Regular monitoring of body condition, weight and insulin levels is necessary to assess treatment efficacy and adjust if necessary.

In conclusion, management of EMS in equines involves a multidisciplinary approach, including dietary modifications, exercise and sometimes medication, with careful monitoring of the animal's health status.

Source : https://equipedia.ifce.fr/sante-et-bien-etre-animal/maladies/systeme-urinaire-et-maladies-metaboliques/syndrome-metabolique-equin-sme
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