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  • Author or Editor: Martin N. Sillence x
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Objective—To determine pharmacokinetics and plasma steady-state kinetics of metformin after oral or nasogastric administration in insulin-resistant (IR) ponies

Animals—8 IR ponies

Procedures—Metformin (30 mg/kg) was administered to 8 ponies via nasogastric tube Blood samples were collected at intervals for 24 hours. Plasma concentrations of metformin were measured via liquid chromatography-electrospray tandem mass spectroscopy Pharmacokinetic variables were determined via noncompartmental analysis. Metformin (15 mg/kg, PO, twice daily [8 am and 5 pm]) was administered to 4 ponies for an additional 20 days, and blood samples were obtained every 2 days. Plasma concentration at steady state (Css) was determined.

Results—Mean ± SD elimination half-life (t1/2) of metformin was 11.7 ± 5.2 hours, maxima plasma concentration was 748 ± 269 ng/mL at 54 ± 32 minutes, mean area under the curve was 355 ± 92μg•h/mL, and apparent clearance was 90.6 ± 28.1 mL/min/kg. The Css was 122 ± 22 ng/mL.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Metformin reportedly enhances insulin sensitivity of peripheral tissues without stimulating insulin secretion, but bioavailability in horses is low. The t1/2 of metformin in IR ponies was similar to that in humans. Actual clearance of metformin adjusted for bioavailability in IR ponies was similar to that in humans; however, during chronic oral administration at dosages reported in efficacy studies, the Css of metformin was less than values associated with therapeutic efficacy in humans The apparent lack of long-term efficacy of metformin in horses is likely attributable to low bioavailability, rather than to rapid clearance. (Am J Vet Res 2010;71:1201-1206)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To determine the effect of a starch-rich treat, added to the daily diet of ponies for 10 days, on enteroinsular responses to meal consumption.


10 mixed-breed adult ponies owned by Queensland University of Technology were used in the study. Six ponies were metabolically healthy, and 4 were insulin dysregulated at the start of the study, according to the results of an in-feed oral glucose test.


A bread-based treat was offered twice daily for 10 days, adding 0.36 ± 0.04 g/kg body weight (BW) carbohydrates to the daily diet. Before and after treatment, the intestinal capacity for simple carbohydrate absorption was approximated with a modified D-xylose absorption test. Plasma glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2), blood glucose, and serum insulin responses to eating were also measured before and after treatment.


The absorption of D-xylose (area under the curve [AUC]) increased 1.6-fold (P < .001) after 10 days of eating the treat. In addition, while basal (fasted) GLP-2 concentrations were not affected, GLP-2 AUC increased 1.4-fold in response to eating (P = .005). The treat did not change blood glucose or serum insulin concentrations, before, during, or after eating.


A small amount of additional carbohydrate each day in the form of a treat can cause a measurable change in the enteroinsular responses to eating.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association