Dietary management for EMS or Cushing’s Disease

For a pony or horse suspected of having Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) or diagnosed with Cushings Syndrome, diet and exercise management is essential.

  • Try and keep them fit with a target body condition score of 5 (out of 9) on the Henneke Body Condition Scale for horses.
  • Feed little and often, and encourage them to eat slowly, to avoid large peaks and troughs in blood glucose and insulin – keep meal sizes small (less than 1kg for ponies, 2kg for horses).
  • Manage the diet to ensure a low starch and sugar content – the target is below 10% total starch and sugar in the overall diet:
    • Use feeds that are high in fibre and low in starch and sugar – Laminitis Trust approved main meals are a good indication of these nutritional parameters.
    • Feed low sugar forage
      • Hay and haylage can contain up to 10-15% sugar (they contain little starch).
      • The sugar content can be checked by feed analysis, or alternatively the forage can be soaked. 12-16 hours soaking will deplete the sugar content by half. (However in warm weather reduce this significantly to prevent the soaking water becoming foul and smelly.) Soaking haylage may seem counter intuitive given it is already moist, but the purpose of soaking is to remove readily soluble sugars from the material, which will not happen otherwise.
      • (Steaming doesn’t reduce the sugar content by as much as soaking)
    • Ensure the diet is fully balanced and contains plenty of antioxidants

 

Simplyirresistible fruit and vegetable varieties in the diet of EMS and Cushings animals

Simplyirresistible is a feed topping, designed to be fed at between 50 and 100g per day.  Both varieties supply fibre, antioxidants and probiotics, and they also supply some starch and sugar due to the nature of the fruit and vegetable ingredients used.

Dietary management of EMS and Cushings animals means maximising fibre and limiting starch and sugar intakes but can mean a very restricted and basic diet for animals prone to the conditions.

A small sprinkle or handful of simplyirresistible will only add a few grammes of sugar and trace amounts of starch, whilst brightening up a small and often quite boring feed offering, as per the table below that compares the sugar and starch contents of each with carrots and apples.

  Simplyirresistible Five fabulous fruits (50g) Simplyirresistible virtuous vegetables (50g) One Carrot (130g) One Apple (240g)
Sugar content 13g 8g 5g 23g
Starch content 1g 3g 0.4g Trace
Antioxidant Wide variety of plant sources Single plant source Single plant source
Probiotic Yes No No

 

By comparison 500g of a low starch and sugar pellet or chaff would supply 50-100g of starch and sugar.

In summary, Simply Irresistible does contain starch and sugar but only trace amounts are supplied at typical feeding rates that are likely to be insignificant compared to the starch and sugar supplied from elsewhere in the diet, even if that diet is heavily monitored for these nutrients.

However the ultimate decision to feed is with the owner or keeper of the affected animal, as each case is unique in terms of severity, age and condition of the horse or pony.

 

Low Sugar Nutrition from Equilibrium Products: 

 

Vitamunch Heavenly Hedgerow

Vitamunch  is a unique healthy, tasty, high fibre, low calorie, low sugar, cereal free snack that your horse or pony can enjoy at any time. Made from top quality Timothy grass , slow dried at a low temperature to maintain a fresh succulent flavour and nutrient level

  • Enriched with essential vitamins and minerals
  • With added Rosehips, Hawthorn Leaf and Cleavers
  • Suitable for those prone to laminitis or obesity
  • Can be served wet or dry, in a munch net, in a feed bucket, in the stable, field or trailer/horsebox
  • Airtight packaging keeps that ‘just harvested’ smell and freshness
  • Provides 50% of the published daily requirement of these essential nutrients for the average size horse
  • Low sugar, high fibre content makes a suitable snack or boredom breaker for horses and ponies prone to laminitis or obesity.

Manufactured under the BETA NOPS scheme

Vitamunch Marvellous Meadow

Vitamunch  is a unique healthy, tasty, high fibre, low calorie, low sugar, cereal free snack that your horse or pony can enjoy at any time. Vitamunch is made from top quality Timothy grass, which is slow dried at a low temperature to maintain a fresh succulent flavour and nutrient level.

  • Enriched with essential vitamins and minerals
  • With added dandelion, red clover and nettle
  • Suitable for those prone to laminitis or obesity
  • Can be served wet or dry, in a munch net, in a feed bucket, in the stable, field or trailer/horsebox
  • Airtight packaging keeps that ‘just harvested’ smell and freshness
  • Provides 50% of the published daily requirement of these essential nutrients for the average size horse
  • Low sugar, high fibre content makes a suitable snack or boredom breaker for horses and ponies prone to laminitis or obesity.

Manufactured under the BETA NOPS scheme

Crunchits

Naturally healthy, low sugar, bite-sized horse treats providing a wonderful variety of flavours, texture and aromas that horses and ponies love.

Made with strawberry, beetroot, parsnip, carrot, banana, pea and spinach, crunchits can be fed daily as a tasty treat or reward.

Low in sugar – Can be fed to all horses and ponies, including those prone to laminitis. Crunchits horse treats are manufactured under the BETA NOPS scheme.

  • Molasses free
  • Adds variety, flavour and crunch
  • Natural fruit & veg flavours
  • Great value horse treat
  • Suitable for horses and ponies prone to laminitis
  • manufactured under the BETA NOPS scheme