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Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2013 Jan;44(1):19-25. doi: 10.1016/j.domaniend.2012.07.003. Epub 2012 Aug 10.

Comparison of a 2-step insulin-response test to conventional insulin-sensitivity testing in horses.

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Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


Equine insulin resistance is important because of its association with laminitis. The insulin-response test is described to diagnose insulin resistance in clinical settings. Practitioners may be reluctant to perform this test because of the time needed for the test and the fear of inducing hypoglycemia. The objective of the study was to compare a 2-step insulin-response test with a complete insulin-response test. A complete insulin-response test was performed on 6 insulin-resistant horses and 6 controls. A 2-step insulin-response test consisting of an intravenous injection of 0.1 IU/kg human insulin and blood glucose determination at 0 and 30 min after injection was performed on the same horses. Times to reach a 50% reduction of glucose baseline were compared between tests and horses. All the horses tolerated both tests well. No significant difference was observed between baseline glucose concentrations of insulin-resistant horses and controls (P = 0.09). Time to reach 50% reduction of glucose baseline for controls was not significantly different with the use of the complete insulin-response test or the 2-step test (P = 0.98). For insulin-resistant horses, the time to reach 50% reduction of glucose baseline with the use of the 2-step test was significantly longer than for controls (P = 0.004). With a cut-off time of 30 min, the 2-step test had the same characteristics as the complete test. The 2-step test provided a safe, rapid, and low-cost method to diagnose insulin resistance in horses in a clinical setting.

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