First ever case of equine type I diabetes diagnosed in Kentucky
When newborn colt Justin Credible appeared on 19 October 2008 it seemed to be like any other equine birth although there were some “small” complications. Initially there were concerns that the colt was not receiving enough milk from its mother who was “bagged-up” during and after the pregnancy. However, when the vet arrived and administered milk to the colt via manual means there was still no marked improvement in the newborn’s awareness and health.
It was at this stage that the vet decided to take a number of blood samples to see if there were any viral infections or medical condition of some kind affecting the colt’s development. It was at this point that abnormal levels of glucose were found and the horse was taken away for further tests. During the four days that Justin Credible spent at the clinic the horse experienced a number of seizures and the final diagnosis was type I diabetes.
This is the first ever documented case of type I diabetes in a horse and there are concerns that this may also be just the tip of the iceberg as with the human equivalent. While the colt has now been returned to its home there are more complications expected as the colt’s glucose levels need to be monitored on a regular basis with blood tests every four hours. The horse also needs insulin injections every eight hours which means that it is literally a full-time job ensuring Justin Credible does not suffer a seizure or some kind of diabetic incident.
At the moment it is a testing time for the colt’s owners who are concerned about the long-term health and potentially short lifespan of their new arrival. The problem with equine diabetes is the fact that the patient is unable to self manage it, make those around aware of the situation and the change in diet is also a major concern. All horses by nature eat almost continuously and it will be very difficult to ensure that a new dietary regime can be encouraged in the longer term. There are also concerns that kidney failure, circulation problems and potential blindness may well come into play in the short to medium term.
While this is the first documented case of equine type I diabetes there is a high probability that other animals have suffered in the past which have maybe gone undocumented. However, now that Justin Credible is the first officially documented case of equine diabetes there may well be a substantial increase in research budgets for this particular ailment.
Diabetes is a problem which can hit any form of life and while it is unclear how and why this case of equine type I diabetes has appeared it is no surprise to those in the veterinary industry. Now that the situation has been highlighted in the worldwide press there may be more cases diagnosed in the short to medium term as diabetes starts to impact on another form of life on the planet.