My 4 year old Morgan gelding was diganosed this morning as insulin
resistant. My vet suggested this group, so here I am! I'm in need of a
new diet. The last 6 months his daily diet has been grass/alfalfa hay
(soaked) and a mash of beet pulp, senior feed, whole oats, rice bran,
clovite and a weight builder. Any suggestions on a new diet?? Any help
would be greatly appreciated. Thanks...Jamie
Joan and Dazzle
Welcome to the group. You've certainly come to the right place. There
are tons of people to help. And this list is cutting edge with regards
to metabolic issues in horses - both Cushings and Insulin Resistance.
As you probably realized by now, insulin resistance is controlled by
diet. Some horses are more likely to be insulin resistant than others.
Our list philosophy are the DDTEs - diagnosis, low sugar/starch/fat
diet, hoof trim, and exercise if your horse is able.
We're glad you're here. It sounds like your vet is really on the ball
to get the diagnosis of insulin resistance. Did you have blood work
done to confirm this diagnosis? The bloodwork that we recommend is a
glucose and insulin test from the same blood draw. This will tell you
where you are and when you test periodically, it tells you how
successful you are with the diet plan that you are using.
Is your boy currently laminitic? I'm assuming not. If he is, you'll
have to jump straight to the emergency diet that was emailed to you
when you joined.
Let's jump straight into dietary concerns. We suggest a diet low in
sugar, starch, and fat. This means that you need to review every
single thing that goes into his mouth.
First, you have to know how much hay you're feeding him. Is he a
little overweight? On an orchard alfalfa mix, you probably do not want
to free feed him. How tall is he? How much does he weigh? You will
want to feed 1.5-2% of his ideal weight. If he's overweight, you will
want to feed 1.5% of his current weight or 2% of his ideal weight,
whichever is greater.
You will need to get a scale to weigh his hay. Walmart sells fish
scales that will work. We can help you determine the amount that he
should be eating every day. You don't ever want to put your horse on a
starvation diet to lose weight. Fat will be mobilized from the cells
for energy, resulting in hyperlipemia. This is very dangerous for a
It's good that you soak the hay. You need to be sure that you soak it
for either 1/2 hour in hot water, or 1 hour in cold water. That can
reduce the sugars up to 30%. Do you also pour out the water someplace
where he can't get to it? The water will have a lot of sugar in it,
which some horses think tastes great. But if they drink the water with
the sugar, you've defeated the whole purpose for soaking.
Can you get your hay tested to know exactly what's in it? That way,
you will know the sugar and starch content of the hay. We recommend
hay that is less than 10% sugar and starch. That's low, but we've
found that horses usually do better on the lower sugar/starch hay.
Beet pulp. We like beet pulp here. But it has to be the kind without
molasses. Then, you need to rinse/soak/rinse until the beet pulp water
comes out clean. Otherwise, you will have too much sugar still in it.
The senior feed usually isn't appropriate for insulin resistant
horses. The sugar and starch content is just too high. I'd eliminate
this from his diet.
Whole oats. Is he at work? What's his body condition score? Oats are
also high in sugar and starch. I would eliminate this until you have
his insulin resistance under control.
Rice bran. You will want to eliminate this and add ground flax seed to
his diet instead. Flax seed is high in omega 3s, which are very anti-
inflammatory. You will want to feed 2 oz daily. High levels of fat
tend to make the insulin resistance not come under control. Rice bran
has high fat levels.
Clovite. Clovite is also high in fats. You will want to eliminate this
I don't know what weight builder you're using. So I can't comment on
Additionally, you will want to eliminate all treats that are over 10%
sugar/starch. This means no carrots, no cookies, no Mrs. Pastures. Dr.
Kellon has said many times, horses don't need treats. That one is a
hard one for me. I've been very lucky to find a couple of places that
have low sugar starch treats. Skodes is one of them. I also found an
alfalfa treat that I've tested that is fairly low. Most treats are not.
You will want to be sure to feed him iodized salt, and add vitamin e
gel caps. The liquid is better utilized by the body. The powder is not
So, that would be my suggestions until you get your hay tested. Then,
you can add minerals that are necessary.
Help yourself to the files. There is a ton of information. Once you
get used to a new routine, it's really not that hard.
Just ask if you have more questions.
Joan and Dazzle
--- In EquineCushings@..., "lloydequestrian"
clovite and a weight builder. Any suggestions on a new diet??
--- In EquineCushings@..., "lloydequestrian"
hay (soaked) and a mash of beet pulp, senior feed, whole oats, rice
bran, clovite and a weight builder. Any suggestions on a new diet??
Hi JamieWelcome to the group! Our files are packed with new information that
you can read and learn lots concerning I.R. The list philosophy is
DDT/E. Diagnosis by bloodwork, Diet being low carbohyrdate/fat and
Trim a balanced foot, and exercise when horse is able.
Have you had bloodwork done on your Morgan insulin,glucose tests or
was the diagnosis by clinical observation. If blood work post untits
and reference values and if clinical can you give us some information
on how the this came about and what are your concerns?
For now I would follow the emergancy diet and cut out the grass,
senior feed, whole oats and rice bran. We recommend flax instead of
the rice bran as the fat content is very high for I.R equines same
with the other feeds. Some horse who are I.R can tolerate some
Alfalfa others can not. In the files are some low s/s feeds and hay
cubes for suggestions. The beet pupl is excellent provided the
molasses is r/s/r/ rinsed, soaked, rinced until the water runs clean
or purchased non-molassed beet pulp. We treat per diagnosis.
Medication for Cushings gold standard is Pergolide and Diet for IR.
It is not to hard once you get the hang of it. When you joined you
would of recieved temporary emergency diet and it works because it is
VERY LOW sugar/starch. No grass until you know what the tolerance
level is for your gelding. Some I.R equines can never eat grass or
Alfalfa again. Have a read at www.safergrass.org to see how dangerous
grass is this time of year. When the case histories are back up and
running fill one in for us all, this enables us to efficiently help
you located at
Diagnosis: We deal with primarily two different metabolic disorders
on this list. The first is Cushings disease, which is a pituitary
adenoma. This is treated with drugs, the norm is Pergolide
The second disorder is insulin resistance or I.R. This is
treated with diet LOW S/S/ and exercise if and when your horse is
Diet: We recommend a low sugar/starch diet. This means no cookies,
no carrots, no treats or grrains or senior feed. These are all high
s/s/ and often molasses and usually iron. If you don't
know the sugar and starch content, we recommend soaking your hay to
reduce the sugars. One hour cold water and thirty minutes hot water
to leach out as much s/s/ starch as possible. Try the temp emergency
diet until you can have your hay tested and can organize the correct
minerals to balance diet and know s/s in the hay.
We recommend that you weigh her hay. It's important that you do not
try to starve your horse to lose weight as it is counter productive
to I.R. Feed at 1.5% to 2% of ideal body weight.
Walmart sells fish scales that you can easily weigh your hay with.
They also carry the Vitamin E Human gelcaps and you need some flax
and salt. Table salt is fine. Trim: It's important to have a good
trim - heels down, toes back.The hoof gurus can jump in for more
information if you post picts for advice.
The care and prognosis for horses that are cushings and/or insulin
resistant is a lot different from years ago. We've come a long way
in our understanding on how to care for and treat our horses.
Help yourself to the files read lots learn lots and fire away with