Confirmed: Specific Patterns Of Fat Associated With Laminitis, Similar To Human Obesity Issues

Though horse owners and equine veterinarians have long believed a cresty neck to be associated with equine metabolic syndrome and associated laminitis, there has never been scientific proof of the link—until now: New research out of Australia has confirmed the correlation, reports EQUUS magazine.

Fat tissue stores energy and plays an important role in the synthesis and release of hormones that assist with metabolism and insulin function. Abnormal insulin function is a key risk factor for horses that develop hormone-related laminitis.

Drs. Danielle Fitzgerald, Stephen Anderson, Martin Sillence and Melody de Laat used 26 ponies for a study to determine if there is a correlation between cresty necks and the incidence of horses developing equine metabolic syndrome. Each of the ponies was given a body condition score (BCS) and a cresty neck score (CNS), which objectively measures the accumulation of fat on the neck. The scale goes from 0 to 5, with 5 indicating that the crest is so large it had dropped permanently to one side.

The ponies were then divided into three groups: those with a CNS of 3 or greater, but moderate body condition; those with a CNS of 3 or greater that were obese; and  those that had moderate body condition and no cresty neck. The researchers used an oral glucose test to determine how each pony regulated insulin.

From the results, the scientists concluded that crestiness was a primary indicator of insulin dysregulation. Ponies that were not overweight, but that had a cresty neck score of greater than 3, were five times more likely than non-cresty neck ponies to have insulin dysfunction, and therefore be at risk of laminitis. Obese horse without a cresty neck were less likely to have an increased risk of insulin dysregulation and related problems.

These finding confirm what horse owners and veterinarians have suspected, that a cresty neck is a key indicator that a horse or pony has an insulin regulation issue. The results  are also consistent with human obesity studies that link specific fat accumulation patterns to health complications.

Read more at EQUUS magazine.

The post Confirmed: Specific Patterns Of Fat Associated With Laminitis, Similar To Human Obesity Issues appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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