Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Carbohydrate pellets to assess insulin dysregulation in horses

Background

A glycemic challenge test is used for the diagnosis of insulin dysregulation (ID) in horses and ponies. Different forms of the test exist where the administrative route and dose of glucose vary, which makes interpretation of results challenging.

Hypothesis/objectives

To evaluate the palatability of, and blood glucose and insulin responses to, carbohydrate pellets fed as an oral glucose test (OGT), and to establish the diagnostic threshold for ID when using the pellets.

Animals

University and privately-owned horses and ponies (n = 157) comprised of 31 breeds and both sexes.

Methods

Multicenter cohort study. A custom-produced glycemic pellet was offered for free intake at 0.5 g/kg BW soluble carbohydrate and serum insulin and blood glucose concentrations measured before and after (60, 120, and 180 minutes) the pellets were offered. Pellet acceptance and intake time (those that finished within 10 minutes) were determined to assess palatability.

Results

The pellets were palatable to 132/157 animals, and ponies found the pellets more (P = .004) palatable than horses. The median intake time (4 [3-6] minutes) was positively correlated with acceptance grade (r = .51; P < .0001). Consumption of the pellets elicited peak blood glucose (6.6 [5.8-7.8] mmol/L) and serum insulin (40.5 [19-99.8] μIU/mL) responses at 120 minutes. At 120 minutes the optimal cut-off was 83 μIU/mL (95% CI: 70-99 μIU/mL) for the IMMULITE 2000XPi assay.

Conclusions and clinical importance

The pellets were palatable and a suitable, novel carbohydrate source for the OGT.

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