Equine metabolic syndrome, a common equine condition, often proves difficult for veterinarians to diagnose and treat. Recent UF/IFAS research into genetic factors contributing to the disease provides guidance on how to manage horses so owners can prevent the disease.
The syndrome, also known as EMS — is a serious disease. It’s a collection of clinical signs including obesity, difficulty regulating blood sugar, high blood insulin concentrations and sensitivity to carbohydrates in the diet. It is the leading risk factor for laminitis, commonly known as foundering, which is noted as a common reason for euthanasia in horses by the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
“Clinically, we don’t have a great consensus for what defines abnormal versus normal factors for diagnosing EMS,” said Samantha Brooks, UF/IFAS associate professor of equine physiology. “The condition is defined as many shades of grey. Every horse is unique, and its environment is, too. We need more research to better define the disease and what is normal versus what is dangerous. This research used new methods to give us fresh clues to the mystery that is EMS.”Learn more about UF Research Provides Insight to Equine Metabolic Syndrome.