Assessment of Owner and Veterinarian Awareness of Equine Insulin Dysregulation and Available Treatments in Southeastern United States

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© 2017 Elsevier Inc. Insulin dysregulation (ID) refers collectively to horses afflicted with fasting hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance. Although there is no current data indicating the percentage of equines afflicted with ID, it appears to be a common subject among equine enthusiasts. In order to gauge public awareness of ID in horses and its available treatments, 122 horse owners and 18 veterinarians, representing 25 states, participated in a self-administered online survey. Questions were postulated to ascertain participant's awareness of the symptoms, management techniques, current treatments and medications, and knowledge acquisition associated with ID. The study revealed more than half of participants were “moderately aware” (34%) to “very aware” (25%) of ID in horses; however, when identifying symptoms of ID, some reported symptoms of pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction as those of ID. Many owners recognized current management strategies for ID; however, actual implementation strategies did not reflect standard management methods. Treatments mentioned for ID include supplements (14% of owners), thyroid supplement Thyro-L (13% and 72%), and pergolide/Prascend (21% and 61%) of owners and veterinarians, respectively. Veterinarians recommended diet and exercise as their main management strategy. Both owners and veterinarians reported using published research and veterinarians as a main source of information. The findings of this survey suggest that although awareness and recognition of the condition is high, proper identification, treatment, and management of ID varies. Moreover, research addressing the efficacy of pergolide as a treatment for ID is lacking. Additional education and research is needed to address these shortcomings.

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Journal of Equine Veterinary Science

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