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AVC researcher recruiting horses for equine metabolic syndrome study

Dr. Emily John is looking to recruit horses with suspected or confirmed EMS that live on PEI for a study on equine metabolic syndrome.
| Atlantic Veterinary College
Rachel Cutcliffe
Atlantic Veterinary College's horses in pasture.
Atlantic Veterinary College's horses in pasture.

The Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) at the University of Prince Edward Island is recruiting horses for a new study that will investigate equine metabolic syndrome (EMS).  

“EMS is a disorder that is associated with an inability to regulate blood insulin levels or the equine equivalent of Type II Diabetes in people,” explains Dr. Emily John, assistant professor, Department of Health Management, AVC. “Horses with EMS commonly show increased regional fat deposition and have difficulty losing weight. They are also at a higher risk for laminitis, a form a lameness related to impaired blood circulation in the hooves.”

Dr. John and her team are looking to recruit horses with suspected or confirmed EMS that live on Prince Edward Island and live on a property with at least one horse without EMS. The study is free for owners to participate in. Participants will need to commit to repeated blood testing every two months over the course of 12 months. All owners will be provided with the full results of all the testing performed.

“Through this study, we will be trying to discover if the time of year affects blood levels of insulin, leptin, and triglycerides and whether it also affects the results of insulin sensitivity testing,” explains Dr. John. “The results will help us develop specific reference ranges for monitoring horses with EMS during different seasons. This will hopefully help owners with preventing laminitis episodes in horses with EMS.”

To determine eligibility, Dr. John will visit your property to perform an initial physical examination, including blood and insulin sensitivity testing on horses with EMS and a normal horse on the same property. Please note that horses with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (equine Cushing’s) or active or recent laminitis are not eligible to participate.

If you would like your horses to participate in this free study, please contact Dr. Emily John at 902.566.0848 or by December 16, 2022.


Emily John
Assistant Professor
Department of Health Management

Media Contact

Rachel Cutcliffe
External Engagement Officer
Atlantic Veterinary College

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