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RE: [RC] [RC] flax seed question/thyroid? - Eleanor Kellon

Susan already gave a very thorough answer to the flax question. Agree Chia is an option, so is Perilla seeds - but both of them cost a good bit more than flax. The new fish oil for horses (Wellpride) is another possibility, but there are no studies comparing it side by side with flaxseed or flax oil and its VERY expensive.
"Pre-Cushing's" is a very vague and not too helpful term. It dates back to the time before it was recognized that insulin resistance can exist in horses without Cushing's Disease. There are some horses in the early stages of Cushing's that don't test positive for it (yet) but develop problems with insulin resistance, but not every horse with insulin resistance is in an early stage of Cushing's Disease.
IR is very easy to test for and testing should be done before you get wrapped up in worrying about diet changes. Need to draw blood for insulin and glucose testing, with the horse being fed hay or pasture only on the day of testing. Do NOT fast for this test. Hay or pasture should be available through the night before and on the day of testing. Using G:I ratio figures (glucose divided by insulin, with glucose in mg/dL and insulin in uIU/L units. A value less than 10 = insulin resistance. Less than 4.5 and the horse is at high risk for laminitis. There is another calculation developed by the researchers at Virginia Polytechnic called RISQI. This only requires insulin. It is 1/[square root of insulin]. RISQI below 0.32 is IR, below 0.2 is IR and high laminitis risk. Working backwards from those numbers, any insulin value above 10 uIU/L in a horse allowed hay or pasture only is IR.
Symptoms alone are very unreliable. Not all easy keepers/overweight horses have insulin resistance. Many are simply overfed and underworked. Some breeds, including Arabians, are more prone to insulin resistance but the best approach is simply to test.

Eleanor M. Kellon, V.M.D.
Equine Nutritional Solutions
58 Maple Farm Road
Ephrata, PA 17522