Let’s talk about the EASY KEEPER horse.
Many times these horses are affected with a common syndrome called metabolic syndrome.
There are many names for this confusing and relatively newly discovered disease or syndrome. There are several characteristics that an animal affected with this syndrome shows. We will mention them and later on we will describe them for you.
Abnormal fat deposition i.e. fat over neck, back, tail head
High resting insulin levels in the blood (insulin resistance)
Lameness and/or laminitis
Usually the owners describe these horses as easy keepers. One of my least favorite phrases to hear during a lameness exam is: ” doc I barely feed this horse” . That’s my first cue that we need to do some metabolic analysis of this horse. Especially if the horse has a thicker neck and more fat over the tail head and rump than I would like to. If the horse is lame and/or have some foot pain, we take radiographs (X-rays). This will tell us if the horse has laminitis or a possible cause for the lameness. Our next course of action is usually getting a fasting insulin and glucose levels. This will give us another cue on whether this horse has high insulin levels and/or is insulin resistant, and most importantly, a possible reason for laminitis.
Once we collect all the necessary information and a diagnosis is attained, we establish a diet and treatment plan for this horse.