Man-Made Chemicals Linked To Equine Metabolic Syndrome

Research from the University of Minnesota has shown that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in a horse’s environment may lead to the development of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS). Typically manmade, these chemicals are found in plastics, personal care products and pesticides. They are prevalent in the environment and mimic hormones, blocking a horse’s real hormones from accomplishing their roles. Horses most likely come into contact with EDCs through their feed.

Horses with EMS generally become obese and have pockets of fat on their body. EMS is one of the most-common causes of laminitis. The research team determined that EDC accumulation may explain some of the variance in EMS horses that cannot be explained by other factors like diet, season of year and exercise.

For the study, 300 horses on 32 farms were used. The study focused on Morgan horses and Welsh ponies as they are more likely than other horse breeds to develop EMS. The team collected data that included background on diet, illness, exercise and farm location; they also examined plasma for receptors that could be affected by EDCs.

The researchers also tested the horse’s blood for EMS, then compared the results to see if there were correlations between the EDC concentration levels in plasma and bloodwork. The precise role of EDCs is horses with EMS is not clear, but the goal would be to minimize a horse’s exposure to EDCs if they have metabolic issues.

Funded by the Morris Animal foundation, this is the first study to investigate the effects of EDCs in domestic animals.

Read more at HorseTalk.

Read the abstract here.

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