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Mammals (other)
Can the outcome of an impaired oral glucose absorption test in horses be improved with fat supplementation and dietary modifications?
  1. NIcolas Cayetano Galinelli1,
  2. Wendy Wambacq1,
  3. Laurence Lefère2,
  4. Ellen Paulussen2 and
  5. Myriam Hesta1
  1. 1Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Fac. Vet Sciences, Ghent University, Gent, Belgium
  2. 2Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Biology of Large Animals, Universiteit Gent, Merelbeke, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr NIcolas Cayetano Galinelli; nicogalinelli{at}


Malabsorption syndrome results in impaired nutrient digestion/absorption. Diagnostic tests in horses are focused on reduced carbohydrate absorption demonstrated by abnormal oral glucose tolerance test. However, to determine the definitive diagnosis a biopsy should be performed. The objective was to evaluate the progress of horses believed to be suffering from malabsorption syndrome without other infectious conditions, following institution of appropriate dietary advice. Medical records of 15 horses admitted to the equine hospital of Ghent University (2014–2017) were reviewed. All horses had received corticosteroid treatment and individual dietary advice. All horse owners were contacted in 2017 for a follow-up. Most horses (86 per cent) had tolerated the recommended diets well and gained weight. Owners noticed the greatest improvements at three and six months after starting the diet. Adequate dietary formulation may therefore be a valuable adjunct to medical treatment. However, it may take several months before increases in bodyweight and condition are seen.

  • gastrointestinal
  • horses
  • intestinal disease
  • nutrition
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  • Contributors All authors contributed to the writing of this paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author, [N.G.], upon any request.

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