I have two IR horses. One is 21 and early PPID, well-controlled. When her insulin spikes she is extremely depressed & lethargic. However, my 8yo gelding, who's also repeatedly documented severe IR when on pasture, manifests completely opposite symptoms when hyperinsulinemic: he becomes frantic w normal stimuli, constantly agitated, and frankly dangerous to handle. When he's extremely upset he begins to self-mutilate (biting his chest & sides until there's large welts). Its impossible for my vet, farrier, dentist, etc to work on him when his insulin is high. And forget riding--its just dangerous (hence my ER trip/concussion last Feb). However, when his insulin stabilizes (strict diet/off pasture) he is a lovely animal: ground ties for farrier, lets me draw blood/give vaccines by myself w/o even a halter on, is wonderful to ride, etc
It has taken me over four years to figure out wth was "wrong" with my gelding, why the Jekyll & Hyde routine, like an old dude ranch pony one day and a dangerous freakshow the next. Ive had exhaustive diagnostics done over the years trying to find an orthopedic reason, chiro, acupuncture, calming supps...you name it, Ive done it. It was only by a fluke chance after I joined this group for my mare and learned that lab "normals" for insulin are now considered too liberal that I realized my gelding was in fact IR (i run monthly bloodwork on my IR mare and decided to run my gelding's also, mostly on a hunch). His insulin during one of his worst crazed episodes this past fall--while on pasture--was 'only' 43uU/ml (or 'pretty good' as my regular local vet interpreted it to me). I thank the stars that i had joined this group by that time and knew otherwise. DDTE has finally 'cured' what ailment I'd been chasing for over four years.
It is not an exaggeration to say that this young horse would likely have been euthanized if I hadnt had the knowledge to recognize that a 43 insulin is not 'normal'. He is truly a dangerous animal to handle when in crisis. I bought him out of the killpen at New Holland as a 3yo. After all these years, I think I now know why he was there.
My point is hyperinsulinemia can present with very different clinical symptoms (ie, my mare vs my gelding). This group and its DDTE philosophy have literally saved both of my horses' lives. I am eternally grateful for this bastion of knowledge and the support of its members.
Kerry in NY
Pinky Sept 2014
Tofurky Nov 2014