First cutting hay

rosalyn meng

My Haflinger mare with controlled Cushings and normal insulin 22 and glucose 79 has always been on first cutting.   Owners tested their hay from Dairy one to find out first cutting of NSC was 13.76 and 2nd was 8.57 and third was 7.36.   I would like to transition her to second cutting.  I don’t want her gaining weight with too much protein.   

she eats hay with muzzle on all day and in at night to maintain and lose a little bit of weight.   She is on dry lot otherwise and tx with Prescend.   She’s exercised 3-4 x weekly.  No grain.  Supplements are California Trace and HA powder; Vit e and omega oil.  

please let me know what your thoughts are.   I don’t see where I can upload the hay results of all the hay otherwise I would so you have more info.   Please let me know and I will upload.  

thank you so much.  
Rosalyn in IL, 2017

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

You need to go to follow the wiki instructions for the case history group to upload your hay analysis  (and start a history). Insulin 22 is not normal for a horse on a hay only diet. It's not in a laminitis danger zone but it's not normal.

NSC isn't what you need to look at for insulin - it's ESC + starch. The fructan in NSC doesn't increase insulin and levels in our hays are much too low to cause a hind gut laminitis.

She won't gain weight from protein calories (ever heard of Atkins?)
Eleanor in PA 
EC Owner 2001
The first step to wisdom is "I don't know."

Kirsten Rasmussen

Hi Rosalyn,

Your glucose result is a bit low for a horse on hay.  This suggests to me the sample was compromised and your insulin might be a bit low, too.  Not a big deal but something to be aware of.  You want to make sure the sample arrives at the lab chilled and on a week day.  My vet freezes blood overnight or, the weekend then ships via overnight courier with ice packs on the Monday or early in the week.

Even at 22 uIU/ml she has an abnormal result.  Normal would be <13 or so for a horse on pasture/hay and no grain.

NSC = WSC + starch. 
WSC = ESC + fructans
As Dr Kellon said, fructans do not raise insulin, only ESC and starch do.  You can use NSC to look for hay but because it's always higher than ESC+starch, you could be eliminating good hays inadvertently.  We generally use a cutoff of 10% ESC+starch, and if your horse isn't overly sensitive then she will do well on hays that fall below that cutoff.  The second and 3rd cuts look much safer for your horse from that respect because if NSC is <10%, then ESC+starch are, too.  I once had a hay with 24% NSC; most of that was due to fructans though and it was actually safe to feed with about 10% ESC+starch.

Crude protein should be between 8-11% on the hay test.  If it's higher you might have problems, not because of calories but more because horses with EMS do not do well on high protein hays.  

Kirsten and Shaku (EMS + PPID) and Snickers (EMS) - 2019
Kitimat, BC, Canada
ECIR Group Moderator
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