Laminitis caused by Insulin Resistance

posted in: Blog, Health Issues | 0

What if your horse has lamintis and IR?

It has been estimated that 80% or more of laminitis cases fall under the category of those caused by hormones, such as in the case of horses with PPID and EMS.

Laminitis is now considered to be a clinical syndrome associated with systemic disease (endocrine disease, sepsis or systemic inflammatory response syndrome, SIRS).

The cascade of tissue destruction caused by inflammation does not occur in laminitis related to this hormonal disruption.

Meaning that; Laminitis in IR horses is not inflammatory. This is important because it explains why the response to NSAID drugs (such as ‘Bute’) for pain in IR horses is typically poor and why these drugs do not “treat” anything.

(See research –  Suagee et al 2012 found no correlation between insulin levels and inflammatory cytokines like TNF-alpha and IL-6 that are elevated in IR humans. Vick et al 2007 found a correlation between IR and TNF-alpha levels but only in mares older than 20. No other cytokine changes.  Burns et al 2010 found higher inflammatory cytokine levels in the neck crest fat but no difference between normal and IR horses.)

It also does not mean that heat processed grains or co-product foods like brans or wheat midds cause IR. Food does not cause insulin resistance and many of these co-products are lower in sugar/starch and higher fiber than the whole food.


What else can you feed?

You should also feed potent antioxidant supplements containing both plant based e.g.

  • Rosehips,
  • Grape Seed extract,
  • Boswellia

and nutrient sources

  • N-acetyl-cysteine,
  • vitamin C,
  • lipoic acid,
  • vitamin E

also, pain relief, the liquid herbs Devils claw and meadowsweet together work just as well, if not better, in controlling pain in acute episodes compared to NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) drugs and without the potent side effects.

Supporting blood flow to the hoof is also important.

The herbs which are circulatory stimulants such as:

  • Ginko biloba,
  • Nettle
  • Rue,
  • Jiaogulan, (Gynostemma pentaphylluma)

are extremely potent vasodilators and should only be administered by a qualified equine herbal practitioner.

The proportion of each herb in the mixture and dosage rates varies enormously dependant on each horse and the stage of laminitis.

Laminitis in a nutshell

  • Weakening of the laminae in the hoof
  • Can cause the coffin bone to rotate
  • Extremely painful condition for the horse
  • Can be caused by endocrine (hormonal) factors e.g. PPID or EMS
  • Can be caused by overload of grain or high sugar/starch feeds and pasture
  • First take horse off pasture and stand in a sand pit to alleviate pain of standing on hard ground
  • Feed water soaked hay (leaches out excess sugar)
  • Feed a diet formulated by a nutritionist to give necessary vitamins and minerals
  • Feed liquid herbs prescribed by equine herbal practitioner
  • Feed Flax seed oil
  • Provide pain relief specific to the cause of the laminitis – i.e. NSAID for inflammation caused by sugar/starch. Give Devils claw and Meadowsweet for endocrine related laminitis.