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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2009 Apr 1;234(7):915-9. doi: 10.2460/javma.234.7.915.

Characterization of hypertriglyceridemia and response to treatment with insulin in horses, ponies, and donkeys: 44 cases (1995-2005).

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  • 1Mount Vernon Veterinary Hospital, 14110 Bradshaw Rd, Mount Vernon, WA 98273, USA.



To characterize signalment, clinical signs of disease, and clinical response to insulin in equids with hypertriglyceridemia.


Retrospective case series.


20 horses, 17 ponies, and 7 donkeys with hypertriglyceridemia.


For analysis of medical record data, horses, donkeys, and ponies with multiple serum or plasma triglycerides measurements were separated into groups. Hypertriglyceridemic equids that were (HT-I; n = 14) or were not (HT-N; 10) treated with insulin consisted of equids with an initial triglycerides concentration > 44 mg/dL but < 500 mg/dL. Equids with an initial triglycerides concentration > 500 mg/dL, all of which were treated with insulin, constituted the lipemic group (LIP-I; 20). Each group included a full range of ages. Pretreatment and posttreatment values from serum or plasma biochemical analyses were compared among groups.


No age predilection for hypertriglyceridemia was apparent. Of the 29 female equids, only 7 (24%) were lactating or pregnant. Multiple illnesses were diagnosed in hypertriglyceridemic equids, including colitis (14/44; 32%) and colic (9/44; 20%). Many breeds were affected, including 16 (36%) American Miniature Horses and 9 (20%) Arabians or Arabian crossbreds. The mean posttreatment triglycerides concentration was not significantly different from the initial value in HT-N equids (175 vs 125 mg/dL) but was significantly lower than the pretreatment triglycerides concentration in HT-I (252 vs 55 mg/dL) and LIP-I (872 vs 87 mg/dL) equids.


Equids of all ages and sexes with various diseases had hypertriglyceridemia. Insulin treatment decreased the triglycerides concentrations in affected equids.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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