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Define obesity. What about in Humans?

A medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems.

In humans, it is defined by BMI wherer 25-29.9 is overweight, 30-39.9 is obese and >40 is severely obese. It is also defined using waist circumference (>94cm in men, >80cm in women)


2 ways to recognised fatness in horses = ?

BCS or CNS (crest neck scoring). BMI not useful as most owners don't have accurate scales. BCS is measured on a 1-5 or 1-9 scale. CNS emphasises regional rather than general adiposity.


Describe the epidemiology of equine obesity.

In a study of scottish riding establishments, 45% animals were fat or very fat and in a study in the south east 16% horses and 83% ponies were overweight (4/5)


4 circumstances where obesity is more common

- breed (draught, cob, native and welsh)
- 'good doers'
- pleasure and not athletic uses
- summer> winter


What stimulates the summer gain in adiposity?

Increased POMC secretion by pituaitary pars intermedia which stimulates appetite and adipogenesis.


Why does obesity develop? 2

husbandray practices promoting excess calorie intake and physical inactivity


Result or excess adiposity and chronic persistence

Adverse effects including generating an insulin resistance and a mild pro-inflammatory state.


Name 3 equine conditions associated with obesity and NOT IR

- exercise intolerance
- abnormal reproductive performance
- mesenteric lipoma (may strangulate)


Name equine conditions associated with obesity AND IR (5)

- laminitis
- hyperlipaemia
- DOD (developmental orthopaedic disease)
- PPID (=Equine Cushing's)


How may obesity lead to laminitis? 3

Changes due to obesity in insulin signalling, inflammatory cytokines and endothelial dysfunction


What is pre-programming of genes dependent on?

Maternal diet


What happens in mares who are obese?

maintain increased concentrations of glucose and NEFA which induces epigenetic changes and possible permanent changes in appetite control, neuroendocrine function, fuel metabolism and energy partitioning during early development. Leads to greater adiposity and risk of obesity in later life.


What happens with sub-optimum nutrition in utero? Why? 2

Increases risk of obesity in early childhood due to decreased total pancreatic weight and decreased number of B cells. These structural changes may contribute to impaired glucose homeostasis.


What should be maintained in a horse's diet when controlling calorie intake?



What are the welfare concerns associated with restricting DMI? 4

- stereotypies
- colic
- gastric ulcers
- dental problems


What predisposes gastric ulcers?

low fibre diets


What predisposes simple obstructive and distension colic?

horses that chew wood


Can grass provide a horse with all the DMI?

Yes but can contain excess calories


How can an owner restrict a horse's intake? 2

Time or geography


Will a grass only diet be mineral deficient?

Yes --> add balancer


How much hay should be fed if stabled?

1.5% body weight


How can you slow the consumption of hay?

small holed hay nets, hay bags, hanging hay net from ceiling centre. Can substitute hay with chaff or unmolassed beet pulp (1lb of beet pulp for 1.5lb hay)


Why is exercise the best way to promote weight loss?

promotes glucose uptake and use by skeletal mm by insulin-independent route that persists for 24 hours; improving insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammation and decreasing feed intake.


List some other ways of increasing energy expenditure

clipping, not using rugs, having hay and water at opposite ends of field, circumferential strip grazing.