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Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica

Open Access

A modified oral sugar test for evaluation of insulin and glucose dynamics in horses

  • Sanna Lindåse1Email author,
  • Katarina Nostell1,
  • Ida Askerfelt1 and
  • Johan Bröjer1
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica201557(Suppl 1):O4

Published: 25 September 2015


Insulin SensitivityScreening TestInsulin ConcentrationSensitivity IndexInsulin Sensitivity Index


An oral sugar test (OST) using Karo® Light Corn Syrup has been developed in the USA as a field test for the assessment of insulin sensitivity in horses but the syrup is not available in Europe.


The aim of the study was to compare the results of a modified OST between horses with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and healthy horses using a Scandinavian commercially available glucose syrup (Dansukker glykossirap). In addition, the effect of breed and the repeatability of the test were evaluated.


Clinically healthy horses of different breeds (7 Shetland ponies, 8 Icelandic horses, 8 Standardbred horses) and 15 horses with EMS were included. The Icelandic horses and Shetland ponies underwent the OST twice. Insulin and glucose data from the OST were used to calculate several parameters e.g. peak insulin concentration (PI), area under the curve for insulin (AUCins) and insulin sensitivity index by Matsuda (ISI-Matsuda).


There was no effect of breed in the group of healthy horses on PI, AUCins and ISI-Matsuda. The EMS horses had 5 - 7 times as high means for PI, AUCins and ISI-Matsuda as the clinically healthy horses. Coefficient of variation for repeated tests was 19.8 %, 19.0 % and 17.6 % for PI, AUCins and ISI-Matsuda respectively.


The modified OST appears to be a useful field screening test to determine whether the horse is IR or not. Estimates derived from the OST may also be useful to estimate insulin sensitivity but requires further evaluation.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden


© Lindåse et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.