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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Test for insulin resistance?

Dr. Getty, is there a test for insulin resistance, or is it diagnosed from its symptoms? I'm beginning to suspect that my 2yo colt Tooter may have that problem. The trainer says he's feeding less and less and the colt just keeps getting fatter. His neck is too cresty for his age. The colt is fed 10% Martindale sweet feed, daily dewormer, Actiflex powder, and alfalfa hay. I'm not sure how much sweet feed Tooter is getting now, but it used to be about 4-5 pounds per day. He is fed twice a day. Tooter is a stallion in reining training that is ridden 5 days a week, so I wouldn't expect him to gain weight. I should mention that Tooter was plump before he went into training. At that time I fed Safe Choice, alfalfa pellets, and coastal hay. So, I guess the rest of my question is Where do I start?

Where are you from? Poolville TX

How did you locate this forum? my equine DDS

Re: Test for insulin resistance?

Hi Pam,

I think it would be very helpful for us to arrange for a phone visit, if you are agreeable. However, in the meantime, here are a few tips:

First, he is still growing, so I recommend that you remove grain and sweet feed from his diet. Too much starch and sugar may impair his bone and joint development.

Next, insulin resistance can be tested by a blood test that checks for circulating insulin levels. You'll want this to be taken when he hasn't eaten for 2 or 3 hours, otherwise the results may be skewed due to a recent meal. But, the fact that he has fat deposits may simply mean that he is getting too much to eat for his level of exercise. Give him grass hay and some alfalfa, and a low starch feed. Purina makes a performance feed called Ultium, which he would be a better choice.

Hope this is helpful. Take a baseline weight to see how he's doing and if he's not showing any improvement within a few weeks, let me know.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO