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High Glucose Levels

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Keri

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I've been having trouble getting weight on my gelding. So we took him in for blood work last week. Everything came back normal except his glucose levels were really high. The vet is going to do an in-house check again today to be sure that they were right and then discuss treatment.

Does anyone know what this means?? I'd like an idea of what I may be facing before heading to the vet. All I could find on the internet is cushing's disease in horses and the prognosis isn't too good.
 

Jill

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In a person it would mean diabetic probably. Your guy may be insulin resistant. Hosscrazy here knows A LOT about this situation in horses, which is not CAUSED by diet but if a horse has it, then special diet (low starch is part of it, I think) is needed.
 

Keri

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That thought came to mind about him being diabetic. Never had a problem in the 4 years I've owned him. So its just weird something would pop up. I can do special diets.
 

Jill

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I don't know about in horses, but in people, Type 1 diabetes does just "pop up". It's an auto immune disease so it just happens pretty suddenly. I do know there is at least one member here who has a diabetic horse (Frankie).

You may find some threads on this board searching for Insulin Resistance that could give some insight if that is the issue with your boy.
 

Keri

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Thanks. I'll do a search. Do these people still show their horses or are they retired??? He was my main show horse until this happened.
 

Hosscrazy

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Hi Kari:

Your horse could be Insulin Resistance and NOT be Cushings so please keep that in mind. Do you know what tests your vet is running? You need to ask for an ACTH test as well as a T4 and T3 tests.

I also moderate the Yahoo Cushings/IR (Insulin Resistance) site and I highly recommend that you join our group. Below is part of the Newbie primer that we send out to members, which defines IR.

BIG question -- is your horse displaying any symptoms such as inappropriate sweating? Are his feet at all sore? Another HUGE question - what are you feeding him right now? I cannot stress enough how important diet is right now to your horse. If he is IR, he can develop laminitis very, very quickly. He needs to be on a low starch, sugar free diet right now.

INSULIN RESISTANCE: A condition where the cells of the body do not respond to insulin like they should. As a result, the pancreas needs to produce more insulin than normal to get glucose and protein into the cells. This is similar to early type 2 diabetes in people – the type that does not require insulin. People with insulin resistance commonly also have an elevated blood sugar (blood glucose) level, which we don’t see in horses except in very severe cases. Insulin resistant horses will have abnormally elevated insulin though. Insulin resistance may be seen as a result of the high cortisol production in classical Cushings Disease. Might also be found in association with hypothyroidism.

Ponies and “easy keeper” breeds of horses appear to be genetically programmed to be insulin resistant. In that case, it probably should not be considered a disease or disorder per se but does mean you have to be careful with their diet.

Here is the link to the group:

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/EquineCushings/

Liz R.
 

Keri

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My vet was going to re-test the glucose just to be sure it was an accurate number and then he told me he'd go from there. I have him on unlimited hay, 6 cups of beet pulp, 6 cups of equine senior and a cup of power phat. But I left for the weekend for a pony show and just put him on strict grass hay (unlimited). And he dropped a ton of weight. He has no signs of inappropriate sweating (or any type of sweating) and he's walking fine on his feet. I go to the vet in a couple hours. So I'll know. Thanks on the invite to the group. I'll check it out tonight.
 

Hosscrazy

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It is very possible you had a false positive and with a high reading, it's a great idea to retest. Glad to hear he is not showing any signs of IR right now. If he does come back with a high reading, it can be managed with diet and medication. You would need to get him off the equine senior (it's 23% NCS - non-structural carbs) and you would want to be between 10% - 15% but the retesting will answer your question.

Please keep us posted on the results.

Liz R.
 

Miniv

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In a person it would mean diabetic probably. Your guy may be insulin resistant. Hosscrazy here knows A LOT about this situation in horses, which is not CAUSED by diet but if a horse has it, then special diet (low starch is part of it, I think) is needed.
Was thinking the same thing as Jill......... Your vet may have some suggestions on a change in diet.
 

Keri

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The diagnosis is not good. The vet thinks its cushing's disease.
But we're doing a couple more tests to confirm it. But the outlook doesn't look good.
 

Keri

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Thanks Jill. I've been balling my eyes out all day! He was my first registered show mini and was going to be my sons.
 
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Cathyfraz

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Cushing or IR can be controlled and you should be able to continue to show him. I have a big horse with IR and a mini with cushings. Both do great. You have to be careful of what you feed them. Take extra care of their feet. Watch their weight like a hawk. I have kept both off real meds. I use some more natural stuff to help level blood sugars. Don’t give up on him yet!!
 

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