Equine veterinary journal2020; 53(5); 923-934; doi: 10.1111/evj.13378

Equine metabolic syndrome in UK native ponies and cobs is highly prevalent with modifiable risk factors.

Abstract: The epidemiology of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) is poorly described. Objective: To estimate the prevalence of EMS in native UK ponies and cobs in England and Wales and identify associated risk factors. Methods: Cross-sectional study. Methods: Breeders registered with UK native pony breed societies and registered riding schools and livery yards within a set radius were invited to participate. All native UK ponies and cobs aged 3-14 years and not diagnosed or being treated for conditions likely to affect insulin regulation at participating premises were eligible. Animals underwent a clinical examination and an oral glucose test while their owner or keeper completed a questionnaire by face-to-face interview. Data were analysed by multilevel uni- and multivariable modelling using insulin concentration and EMS diagnosis as outcomes. Results: A total of 354 animals were examined at 64 properties (19 studs, 19 livery yards, 26 riding schools). The overall prevalence of EMS adjusted for clustering within yard was 23.3% (95%CI 17.9%-29.8%). Risk factors associated with a diagnosis of EMS included age, being female, more sedentary main activity, obesity, and shorter periods on pasture during the summer. Compared to the Welsh section A, the other Welsh, Connemara and cob breeds all had decreased odds of EMS. Clinical manifestations of hoof growth ring and supraorbital fat scores of 3/3 were more frequent in EMS ponies and animals with a history of laminitis within the last 5 years (9.7%) were 14.4 (95% CI 5.9-35.3) times more likely to be positive for EMS than those without. Conclusions: Results may not be transferable to other breeds or age groups. Conclusions: Equine metabolic syndrome is highly prevalent in UK native ponies and cobs with modifiable risk factors including obesity and sedentary activities. Modifying risk factors could help reduce the risk of laminitis in susceptible animals.
Publication Date: 2020-12-03 PubMed ID: 33128277PubMed Central: PMC8451835DOI: 10.1111/evj.13378Google Scholar: Lookup
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  • Journal Article

Summary

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This research aimed to determine the prevalence of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) in native UK ponies and cobs and identify potential associated risk factors. The study found that EMS is common in these animals, with factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, and obesity contributing to the likelihood of diagnosis.

Research Methodology

  • The study employed a cross-sectional design. The participants of the research were breeders registered with UK native pony breed societies, and registered riding schools and livery yards within a predetermined radius.
  • The study focused on native UK ponies and cobs between the ages of 3 and 14 who were not diagnosed with or being treated for conditions likely to affect insulin regulation.
  • Data was collected through a clinical examination of the animals, an oral glucose test, and a questionnaire completed by the animal’s owner or keeper. The answers were given through an interview.
  • The analysis was performed by multilevel uni- and multivariable modelling, with insulin concentration and EMS diagnosis as the outcomes.

Findings

  • A total of 354 animals from 64 properties (19 studs, 19 livery yards, 26 riding schools) were examined. The study found an overall prevalence of EMS of 23.3% after adjusting for clustering within yards.
  • Associated risk factors for an EMS diagnosis were age, being female, a more sedentary main activity, obesity, and shorter periods of time spent on pasture during the summer.
  • Compared to the Welsh section A, the Connemara and cob breeds all had decreased odds of EMS.
  • Ponies and cobs with EMS more frequently exhibited clinical manifestations of hoof growth ring and a supraorbital fat score of 3/3.
  • Animals with a history of laminitis within the last 5 years were 14.4 times more likely to test positive for EMS than those without.

Limits of Findings

  • It is noted that these results may not be transferable to other breeds or age groups. Further research would be necessary to determine if these findings hold true across different pony and cob groups.

Conclusion

  • EMS is highly prevalent in UK native ponies and cobs. Notably, several of the risk factors associated with the syndrome are modifiable. This suggests that changes in areas such as animals’ weight and activity levels may help reduce the risk of EMS and related conditions such as laminitis.

Cite This Article

APA
Carslake HB, Pinchbeck GL, McGowan CM. (2020). Equine metabolic syndrome in UK native ponies and cobs is highly prevalent with modifiable risk factors. Equine Vet J, 53(5), 923-934. https://doi.org/10.1111/evj.13378

Publication

ISSN: 2042-3306
NlmUniqueID: 0173320
Country: United States
Language: English
Volume: 53
Issue: 5
Pages: 923-934

Researcher Affiliations

Carslake, Harry B
  • Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, UK.
Pinchbeck, Gina L
  • Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, UK.
McGowan, Catherine M
  • Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, UK.

MeSH Terms

  • Animals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Foot Diseases / veterinary
  • Horse Diseases / epidemiology
  • Horse Diseases / etiology
  • Horses
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / veterinary
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology

Grant Funding

  • University of Liverpool
  • Boehringer Ingelheim

Conflict of Interest Statement

No competing interests have been declared.

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Citations

This article has been cited 8 times.
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