excess protein and insulin resistance

Leah Bartel

Hello everyone,

Despite the NSC + starch levels being appropriate for my IR-prone horses at 5.8% (NSC) + 0.6% starch for a total of 6.4%, they have seemed to gain all the weight back in their cresty neck and fatty tailhead. I'll admit, I have been lax about just feeding a certain amount of bales and not worrying about measuring out hay exactly, but I will have to start doing that now to hopefully get their weight back to a 4.5-5 BCS. 

One thing I've noticed while balancing their minerals is the crude protein content in the hay is double their needs. For example, if I feed 12.14 kg hay/day to get the 21.97 Mcals/day for my 659 kg draft mare, then she gets 1,565 g CP from those 12.14 kg of hay when she only needs 830 g CP. Seems like the hay we bought just has too much protein and it's really affecting the insulin resistant horses in my herd which leads to my question, do we know the mechanism for why excess protein can exacerbate IR symptoms? 

In humans, I believe its been shown that when people eat too much protein, excess amino acids will turn into glucose via gluconeogenesis. Could a similar mechanism be at play for horses? Is there some other proposed mechanism explaining why excess protein can be problematic for equines with EMS/IR?

Scooter's Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Leah%20and%20Scooter
Scooter's Photo Album: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=240467

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