Insulin Resistance and Life Expectancy

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by buddytink, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. buddytink

    buddytink Senior Member

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    Anyone know about how long the average life span is for a horse with insulin resistance?

    I have a 17 yr old who foundered when he was 15. It wasn't a bad founder, just small rotation that was enough to make him sore. But ever since then he gets sore really easily. Like when I put out new hay I have to watch him because he'll get sore quickly if it's too rich. (I try to feed a mix grass)

    But I was wondering what do you do for these horses when they get older and start having a trouble eating hay? Do these horses usually end up with shorter life spans because of this? I have a 31 yr old mare who's NOT insulin resistance and she hardly eats any forage and is fed senior feed, if I fed my Insulin resistance horse this he'd be dead in a week
     
  2. palogal

    palogal Senior Member

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    What treatment plan did you follow to get him over the founder? Depending on how you treated the founder, he could have a perfectly normal life. He shouldn't "get sore" easily unless you have him on rocky ground without boots or something. Did you use sole paint at all? If you didn't take the steps needed to get him over it and change his diet considerably, the chances of him going so lame he isn't pasture sound are better.
     
  3. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I'm afraid I don't have such an optimistic view.

    I think that horses vary as to how long they are going to last with insulin resistance. I think a lot depends on how severe the insulin resistance is, how quickly it is becoming more severe, and if there are any additional problems the animal has that feed into IR.

    I'm not sure you can tell how it's going to progress. I think all you can do is keep monitoring it, doing everything you can to manage it. If the horse is getting sore when you get new hay, I think you need to talk to your vet and come up with a different program for the horse.
     
  4. gaitedboomer

    gaitedboomer Senior Member

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    Agree there are a lot of variables that go into life expectancy.

    My friend's Paso Fino developed both Cushings and IR. Her ground is rocky and even though she kept him drylotted and in front boots, the abscesses started coming, one on top of the other and she lost him when he was 22.

    My IR horse is so IR, Cornell asked for a second vile of blood when he was first diagnosed in 2012. The reading was equally as high the second time and they asked my vet if the horse was still alive.

    He foundered horribly on both fronts. On top of that the AFA certified farrier didn't listen to the vet on the third trim, took too much heel in one strike, and literally TORE the horse's tendons on both front legs ---- I spent money on ultrasounds to prove that.

    The rehab process took a grueling and labor intensive 11 months between the tendons and the founder.

    I thought I would lose that horse but here it is 2017 and he is still chuggin' along. He turned 22 this past August. The vet says he is one tough horse with a terrific will to live as long as I feed that will both mentally and in the feed pan.

    Fall is a worse founder time for him than Spring. As we now head further into Fall, I hold my breath twice as hard every morning.

    This is Joker, my now 22 yr old IR horse, taken earlier this year. He is a Tennessee Walker, which they are on the Predisposed List.

    I spend a lot of money to keep him healthy. If he ages to where he loses his teeth, I will hand mush hay cubes for as long as his eyes tell me he wants to keep trying.

    OP you can only do what YOU can do and that includes the money you are able to spend on the horse to help extend its life. When you are no longer able to finance the horse's needs then that is also a time to send the horse respectfully in to its ancestors, if the horse starts to deteriorate in health. There is no such thing as "Free to a Good home" for these sick horses ---- my friend tried that with her Cushings horse and he didn't make it six months.

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  5. buddytink

    buddytink Senior Member

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    Thanks for the responses. I've raised this horse from a baby and watched him being born, trained him and ran barrels on him and surprisingly he did very well with barrels. I had to retire him due to him starting to stumble and he fell with me twice. Took him to the vet and was told navicular and arthritis, and didn't really get any answers, and it was going to cost me a fortune to treat him and to do further test (I no longer use this vet - way way too expensive) I retired him from barrels (was told he was fine as long as i didn't run barrels, vet said he probably had pain of a 2 on a 1-10 scale) and he started to gain weight because I quit riding him. 5 or 6 yrs after that he foundered. He's been on a dry lot, fed "cruddy" hay compared to what he was getting. And I give him a few alfalfa cubes, not many (I'm told these are low nsc compared to other grains and hay?) He was put on aspirin, thyro-l, omega complete, bute, and the heiro supplement, and I tried some others as well. None seemed to do anything. And he was also shoed, vet told me I had to shoe him and put pads underneath. He's now shoeless. Now I just give him magnesium, a mineral block at all times and hay, with a few Alfa cubes just to keep him in a routine. He does well on this, except a few bales of hay ago idk if it was baled in a "sweet" part of the field or what but he got a little sore when turning. But he's now back to himself. I tried a muzzle but that just ticked him off and I was afraid he'd rip it off and then eat a tone of grass and founder badly.
     
  6. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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    Sounds like he shouldn't be without shoes if he gets sore easily. The bute can give him ulcers which messes up his immune system.

    I have a friend trying to save her horse from foundering and more than six months later he is still fighting abscesses. Her farrier took off his shoes and I still don't think he does a good job. He's part of the reason her horse even foundered. None of us can understand why she is still using him. He put tall heels on his fronts in the first place and now he is doing it to him in his back feet, pictured. You can even see the change in his system as his hooves grow out too. Have you been using the same farrier all this time?
     

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  7. gaitedboomer

    gaitedboomer Senior Member

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    Your may be crummy looking but it could also be high in sugar. If you are able to buy at least two months at a time and can buy from the same grower, have the hay tested.

    The hay I buy is great looking orchard/mix and is almost weed-free. It consistently tests between 8.1% and 8.9% NSC value. It is grown further NE in my county.

    Equi-Analytical in New York is the favored place to have horse hay tested. Your local Co-op may say they will test your hay for just a few dollars BUT they test hay for cows which is a completely different set of criteria than what is used for horses.

    There are different routes to manage the IR but the common ground is keeping the sugars as low as possible. You may also find what works today suddenly won't work tomorrow.

    It can be frustrating but it sounds as if you have started out with a fairly mild regimen and have been successful. You can get a lot more serious with supplements if you have to.

    Also, be careful what you supplement with for arthritis. No glucosamine, yucca or Devils claw. I did have my horse on pure hyalouronic acid but switched him to Equi-Thrive joint at my vet's suggestion.

    Equithrive

    The primary ingredient is Resveratrol which is also good for controlling insulin.

    Do you now have a different vet that is more up to speed about metabolic issues?

    Everyone will have different ideas --- none of them are wrong if they work for a certain horse. Keep in mind each horse's metabolism is involved so successes will likely be different.

    The beloved Tennessee Walker in my avatar was diagnosed with Equine Metabolic Syndrome in 2007. He never even had a bout of laminitis, never needed a muzzle; I just reduced his pasture time and changed his feed pan diet. He made it to 27 in 2014 when I lost him to strangulating lipomas.

    Hang in there and possibly start a notebook because there is so much to remember when it comes to supplements. I had a great Excel spreadsheet until that computer crashed in a huge way so I am back to keeping things the old fashioned way.
     
  8. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    It is really important to test your hay, grass hay can be as high as 25% NSC, and looking cruddy does not equate to low NSC...it just means that it is lacking other vitamins/protein and not cured well. You need to be bellow 10% by low NSC gay or soaking hay to remove sugar.

    I have started to feed Teff hay it is very similar in nutrition to Timothy but what I have been getting test below 8% NSC. IR horse still need protein and other nutrients to be healthy. If you cant get a low NSC hay then look at a low NSC complete feed like Triple Crown Senior or Well Balance.

    Every time you horse has a laminitis flair, more inflammation occurs and more damage is done. So every flair shortens the life of your horse.

    Magnesium, Chromium, Cinnamon, Psyllium, Resveratrol are all common supplements to help regulate insulin in IR Horses. I also had one on Metformin.
     
  9. buddytink

    buddytink Senior Member

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    Oh wow, Metformin. Makes sense, but I've never heard of one being on it before lol. Where do you take the hay to be tested? I have 2 different kinds, both mixed grass but from different pastures cut at different times.
     
  10. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    I buy from a hay dealer who test all of the Hay before they contract to buy out a crop, and then they post all of the test on the hay that they carry. The lab they have been using is Equi-Analytical
     

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