Why Do Horses Get EMS?

What causes EMS? EMS is a result of genetic predisposition combined with environmental and physiological factors such as obesity, high sugar diets, lack of exercise, and concurrent illnesses. Horses and ponies with EMS are often described as being “easy keepers” and have a tendency to become overweight.

What does EMS do to horses?

Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) is a disorder associated with an inability to regulate blood insulin levels (insulin dysregulation). Affected horses commonly show increased regional fat deposition and a reduced ability to lose weight. It often affects “thrifty” equids such as ponies, donkeys, Arabians, and mustangs.

Can horses recover from EMS?

Unfortunately, an EMS horse can never be fully cured, but the disorder can be managed through proper nutrition and exercise. “The key is to recognize the risk, mitigate the risk and prevent them from developing laminitis,” Dr. Frank says. As is often the case, the best treatment is prevention.

What is the best hay to feed an insulin-resistant horse?

Timothy grass hay is a good choice for insulin-resistant horses because it tends to be lower in starch, and Orchardgrass and Alfalfa are also great selections when you need to monitor the amount of starch that your horse is consuming.

Is EMS same as Cushings?

In general, Cushings affects older horses, whereas EMS first develops in young and middle-aged animals. Although they are two separate conditions, they can overlap. All breeds are susceptible but ponies are most at risk.

Is equine metabolic syndrome the same as Cushings?

“Equine metabolic syndrome is a disorder relating to increased metabolic efficiency and obesity that develops in young and middle-aged horses and ponies, whereas Cushing’s is more common in older horses and ponies and is caused by a small tumor developing in the pituitary gland.

Can all horses get laminitis?

Any horse or pony can be affected by laminitis, but certain circumstances can contribute to the likelihood of your horse developing the condition. Overweight horses or those that have previously suffered with laminitis are more susceptible.

Is Cushing’s in horses hereditary?

Equine Metabolic Syndrome

This can occur in horses or ponies of any age, but is most common in native breeds. A mixture of genetic and environmental factors combine to predispose horses or ponies to weight gain, and insulin resistance.


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