Best Practices for Implementing the Wellness Ready Insulin Test
Now that you are ready to join us in the fight against laminitis, the next step is putting the Wellness Ready Stall Side Insulin Test to use. To help you fully optimize this new technology, and solve for the best patient outcomes, here are three common areas of practice for which Wellness Ready should be applied, as well as other helpful information and tips.
1. Annual Wellness Exams: Aged, Overweight, Previously Foundered and/or Genetically Predisposed Horses
Scientific research studies have determined that the incidence of insulin dysregulation increases with aging. Therefore, many practices include insulin testing as part of a comprehensive annual wellness exam for horses 12 years or older. Younger horses (≥ 5 years) that are overweight, have foundered previously or which are from a breed genetically predisposed to metabolic syndrome are also good candidates for insulin testing during annual wellness exams.
Overweight or Obese Horses
Overweight or obese horses are at increased risk of insulin dysregulation and laminitis. Over 30% of the equine population in the US is considered overweight or obese, offering the veterinarian ample opportunity to utilize the Wellness Ready Insulin Test to consult their clients about best management practices to maintain appropriate body conditioning, support metabolic health and control laminitis risk.
History of Laminitis
Horses with a history of laminitis should have their insulin levels tested at least annually. Many horses with a history of laminitis should be tested quarterly or even more frequently, especially when insulin dysregulation persists and/or laminitis episodes recur despite appropriate management.
Genetic Predisposition, “Easy Keepers”
Horses deemed “easy keepers” or of a breed with genetic predisposition to metabolic disorders should also be frequently tested.
Nutrition: Lush Pastures and “Sweet Feed”
Horses with regular access to lush pastures and horses fed “sweet feed” or large quantities of grain are at increased risk of laminitis.
2. Prior to Steroid Administration - New Standard of Care
Steroid injections are proven to cause spikes in blood insulin. With our new stall side insulin test, veterinarians can now quickly determine a horse’s blood insulin concentration prior to steroid administration. If a horse has elevated insulin, a biologic should be used rather than a steroid when appropriate.
3. Broodmare and Stallion Fertility
Broodmares and stallions also are candidates for routine insulin testing. Insulin dysregulation is proven to reduce fertility in mares and stallions and can be a significant factor in unsuccessful breedings. Pregnancy, particularly late term, also predisposes mares to insulin dysregulation and laminitis. In stallions, high insulin can cause foot soreness and an unwillingness to breed. With Wellness Ready, vets can quickly check insulin levels in “difficult breeders” and manage these horses through diet, exercise, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals to promote fertility and reduce laminitis risk.
Spread the Word
Horse owners are concerned about insulin levels and laminitis risk, even if they do not fully understand cause and effect. They need to be made aware that routine insulin testing and appropriate management can prevent laminitis. Wellness Ready was not developed to simply confirm that a horse foundered because it has high insulin levels. It was developed to identify horses at risk before they founder, so they can be managed through diet, exercise, nutraceuticals and/or pharmaceuticals.
We recommend reaching out to your clients to let them know this new technology is now available. Whether emailing your client list, posting on your practice’s social media channels, or discussing during calls, most horse owners would be glad to know this service is available.
"The ability to test at the consult is invaluable. We have found clients now want to retest insulin levels for horses and ponies that have a high reading. They like seeing the change in the insulin result after instigating management changes. This has led to a better patient outcome."
-Dr. Michael Tweedie, Tweedie & Associates Equine Veterinary Services
Consider incorporating insulin testing into annual wellness packages. For example, Motion Equine Centre in Victoria, Australia, has created a Laminitis Monitoring Program, which bundles a vet consultation, foot x-rays, and a Wellness Ready Insulin Test into one flat-rate package.
We Can Help
Our services do not end after purchase. We are willing and able to help veterinarians with client outreach and education. Please contact us for more information.