Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Horses Suffer From Obesity, Just Like Humans

Date:
April 25, 2007
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Horses are inheritably couch potatoes. An overeating, slothful horse leads to an obese horse. Unlike humans, however, horse owners often don't see the dangers of an obese horse. Caretakers may see no harm in giving their horses rich foods, but obesity in horses is just as unhealthy as obesity in humans and can lead to fatal diseases.

The equine obesity risks have been less studied, but researchers believe horses have similar risks as humans, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Credit: iStockphoto/George Clerk

Horses are inheritably couch potatoes. An overeating, slothful horse leads to an obese horse. Unlike humans, however, horse owners often don't see the dangers of an obese horse. Caretakers may see no harm in giving their horses rich foods, but obesity in horses is just as unhealthy as obesity in humans and can lead to fatal diseases.

Related Articles


"There is a striking parallelism between humans and horses when it comes to obesity," said Philip Johnson, professor of veterinary medicine and surgery at the University of Missouri-Columbia. "Some of the very same problems humans encounter with obesity may also occur in horses."

Obesity in horses not only causes weight gain but also endocrine problems, including insulin resistance. The equine obesity risks have been less studied, but researchers believe horses have similar risks as humans, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Obesity in horses also can cause laminitis, a painful condition that often affects the front hooves. The weight of the bone is suspended in the hoof with connecting tissue forming a structure similar to a swing on a swing set. The extra weight in obese horses forces the connective tissue to tear and the bone breaks through the nail-like texture of the hooves. Veterinarians have yet to find an effective treatment for the condition. In the worst cases of laminitis, veterinarians are forced to euthanize the horse. Horses that develop insulin resistance are at an increased risk for laminitis, Johnson said.

Although society views human obesity as a harmful condition, horse owners often want their horses to look well fed. Some horse owners may view a healthy weight on their horse as too thin and try to feed them more. According to Johnson, not only do owners often over feed their horses, but what is fed to horses is genetically altered grass meant for food animals.

"The paradigm is that we feed horses the same grasses we are feeding food animals," Johnson said. "The genetically designed grass we feed horses was designed to fatten food animals quicker."

The genetics of horses, like many species, allows for the extra storing of fat in preparation for winter, when there is typically less food available. In nature, horses would eat less in the winter and lose the weight by spring. Under human care, horses are fed generously year round and never lose the extra weight.

"Horses need to be exercised daily in meaningful ways," said Johnson. "When exercising horses, owners should push their horses for a more strenuous exercise. It's not enough to ride your horse twice a week for 20 minutes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Horses Suffer From Obesity, Just Like Humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070424121744.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2007, April 25). Horses Suffer From Obesity, Just Like Humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070424121744.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Horses Suffer From Obesity, Just Like Humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070424121744.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins