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Six equine diabetes symptoms

Diabetes is quite a common condition in horses both young and old. It can cause a number of problems for appearance, performance and wellbeing, so it’s important every horse owner knows how to identify and solve the problem. This guide highlights the symptoms that indicate a case of equine diabetes, and what to do if a horse contracts the issue.

What Causes Diabetes and What Does it Mean?

Just like in humans, equine diabetes is a result of the horse being resistant to insulin. It’s insulin in the body that allows blood cells to carry and deliver glucose, which is sugar used for energy. When a horse has diabetes, they are unable to transport or provide sufficient insulin to the working muscles in the body.

This can be caused by over feeding your horse which causes the body to start rejecting insulin. Diabetes can also signify something more serious such as Cushing’s disease. This is when a tumor forms in the pituitary gland, which fluctuates the secretion of different hormones.

Horse Eating Carrot

Diabetes can cause a horse to be overweight, which is a danger to their overall health as additional stress is placed upon their skeletal system and vital organs. Obviously, this would in turn affect their performance and mobility.

It can also lead to spasms inside the blood vessels which contributes to the onset of Laminitis. These are progressions that could be potentially life threatening to your horse, but can be easily avoided by caring for your horse as well as knowing the symptoms.

How Can You Identify Diabetes?

Spotting the clues prematurely is essential to prevent more serious developments in your horse. These six symptoms below are easy to spot and allow you to be certain that your horse is in full health.

  • Thirst and Urination - One of the primary ways that you can spot a problem with horse’s health is with excessive urination and thirst. After you’ve bought a horse, you will soon learn how much is normal for the animal to drink and urinate. If this changes, it could mean that something is wrong and you are wise to seek a professional opinion.

  • Weight Gain - As mentioned above, Horses that are overweight and remain so despite less feed and more exercise, could be displaying signs of equine diabetes. Lower the amount of feed and increase exercise to see if the weight lessens. If nothing changes, seeking expert advice is suggested.

  • Fat Deposits - This is in addition to general weight gain. Visible excess fat deposits, particularly in the crest, back or rear of the horse could signify diabetes too. These occur when the horse cannot process glucose properly. Look out for these when brushing and grooming.

  • Less Energy - Reduction in energy levels should be clear to see. You may notice that you have to try much harder to get your horse to work or exercise. If it is appearing more lacklustre than usual then you may also want to seek help from a vet.

  • Skin Conditions - Horses with diabetes tend to fall victim to skin horse health conditions. These include pasture scald and rain rot. These conditions might take longer to heal, even with your best horse care provided.

  • Laminitis - As mentioned before this is common in diabetic horses and is very serious. Laminitis can also be described as inflammation of the hoof. If you spot this then it is worth getting your horse treated quickly.

Vet Checking up On Horse

Those are the outstanding factors to look for when checking your horse for the presence of diabetes. It is important that you organise regular general check ups for your horse so that you can consistently keep tabs on their overall health. This is the most efficient way to prevent any nasty surprises due to a lack of care.





6 Symptoms Of Equine Diabetes Infographic