Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) is a commonly recognized condition in horses. EMS is characterized by obesity, insulin resistance (IR), increased risk for laminitis as well as abnormalities in glucose and fat metabolism.
The purpose of the study is to determine abnormalities in the intracellular insulin signaling cascade in horses with EMS. A second objective is to study these horses on a 6 month weight reduction program with respect to changes in IR, insulin signaling and metabolism of fat and glucose. By increasing our knowledge about the mechanisms behind IR in horses it is possible to prevent diseases such as EMS and laminitis. Weight reduction is probably an important treatment in horses with EMS, but some horses are weight loss resistant. The results from this study will provide information on where the insulin signaling defect is located and this in turn could lead to medical therapeutic interventions that are aimed towards the specific defect.