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Helpful Resources


Insulin Resistance (IR)

Insulin Resistance (IR) is the inability to respond to and use insulin the body produces as a result of insulin not functioning properly.  IR is characterized by a loss of insulin sensitivity at the cellular level. The IR horse is carbohydrate intolerant.

Cushing's (PPID)

Cushing’s, also known as Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID).  A collection of symptoms when there is an excess of cortisol.  Caused by an enlargement of a benign tumor in a portion of the pituitary.  One common symptom is laminitis.  A diet low in sugar and starch is important.

Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)

Believed to be one of the causes of laminitis, EMS is a term that describes a sub-set of high risk horses.  Characterized by IR, obesity and/or fat deposits and laminitis.  Believed that high insulin levels may lead to laminitis.

Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM)

Also known as Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (EPSM or EPSSM) is common in Quarter Horses, Warmbloods and draft breeds.  Muscles of a horse with PSSM are unable to properly store glucose (sugar) so it is unavailable when needed for energy.  PSSM horses are sensitive to insulin and can store more glucose in their muscles than normal.


A neuromuscular disorder characterized by an unusual gait, holding up hind limbs, muscle tremors, shaking, trembling and sometimes raising of the tail.  A diet low in carbs and sugars is important.


A condition in which a horse is overweight and it is believed to lead to serious problems such as tissues that secrete hormones and inflammatory proteins that can impact a horse's health and lead to conditions such as IR, Cushings, etc. There is a Body Conditioning Scoring system for horses measuring from 1 (poor) to 9 (extremely fat).