Managing Practices for Horses With PPID or EMS, Presented by Kentucky Performance Products

Spring is the time when horses with metabolic issues often struggle. Here are some supportive management practices that can help out your horse with PPID (Cushings) or Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS):

This is the second post in the series “Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) or Cushing’s Disease (PPID).” You can find the first post here.

Spring is often the time that horses with PPID, commonly known as Cushings, or Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) struggle to stay comfortable. Much of that is due to the increased sugar consumption that can come with growing pastures. Here are some basic management tips to help you support your horse with metabolic issues.

  • Pasture should be eliminated or severely restricted by using a grazing muzzle.
  • Pasture is particularly dangerous in the spring and the fall in areas where cool-season grasses ­flourish. WARM DAYS (60° or above) + COOL NIGHTS (40° or below) = More sugars stored in leaves
  • NSC = nonstructural carbohydrates, aka simple sugar and starch
  • Choose feeds with a nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) level of 10% or less.
  • Limit dietary NSC in forage to 12% or less. 10% is optimal, particularly in horses with a history of laminitis.
  • Avoid high starch and sugar in feeds and treats.
  • Soak hay that is above 10% NSC to reduce sugar content.
  • Completely submerge hay for 60 minutes in cold water, or 30 minutes in hot water.
  • Drain well before feeding.
  • To encourage weight loss, slowly reduce forage intake from
  • 1.5% to 1.25% of ideal body weight over 30 days.
  • Do not feed less than 1% of ideal body weight.
  • Once ideal weight is attained, increase level fed to 1.5% to 2% of ideal body weight.
  • Exercise has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity.
  • Use caution with laminitic horses. Exercise should be restricted until the horse is sound and then introduced slowly to protect damaged laminae.

You can find a printable version of this infographic here.

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Neigh-Lox Advanced provides a scientifically advanced blend of ingredients that work synergistically to maintain your horse’s digestive tract in peak condition by supporting both the gastrointestinal tissues and the beneficial bacteria that populate the gut. Maintaining a healthy digestive tract reduces the risk of colonic and gastric ulcers, colic, laminitis related to hindgut acidosis, and oxidative stress that damages digestive tract tissues themselves. Horses with a well-balanced GI tract have good appetites, absorb more nutrients from their diets, maintain a strong immune system, and stay healthier.

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