Cushings - advice please

LOZHUG

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I haven't had my little mare tested yet but am not sure she is your typical cushings looking pony what do you think? Her coat has highlights but is jot long or curly. Her eyes are a bit bulgy and she suffers with laminitis.

Here is a pic taken the other day.....
9fd3321be88719501cda1aa3a11db8be.jpg


What medication do you treat your cushings sufferers with?

Also has anyone heard that Tumeric can help?

I would appreciate your advice and experiences. The vet will be coming next week to test her.

Thanks in advance
 

spookypony

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I am not a vet, and all I know about Cushing's is from friends with sick horses...but from that photo and your description, I'd be extremely surprised if she doesn't test positive. From my understanding, the classic curly coat is one of the last symptoms to show. The horses I know of are mostly on Prascend/Pergolide, though I've heard of people using chasteberry, and I think some less severe cases are managed through diet and exercise.

Problems that I've heard of have included poor condition, unusual worm burdens, laminitis, loads of abscesses, unusual fatty deposits, lack of energy/reluctance to go forwards, coat retention, and eventually the long curly coat.

I think you're doing the right thing having her tested! I hope your vet is on the ball, and you will be able to come up with a good management programme! :)
 

jam14

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Good advice above so nothing to add as havent experienced it first hand.

I hope if tests positive your vet can help you xx
 

Shay

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If she does test positive she looks small enough that you might still be able to get away with pergolide. You can't break the prascend tablets so vets can still prescribe pergolide if the dose is 1/2 per day or lower.
There are alternative therapies - but having managed a cushings pony for many years I would say don't. They live longer and have a better quality of life for longer with the proper medication. Normally I'd be all for alternatives; but not for this.
 

JillA

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There are alternative therapies - but having managed a cushings pony for many years I would say don't. They live longer and have a better quality of life for longer with the proper medication. Normally I'd be all for alternatives; but not for this.

I second this - I saw some research for chasteberry (Vitex) versus pergolide and the chasteberry managed the symptoms, nothing more. Pergolide (Prascend) slows the progression as the dopamine goes some way to lowering the high ACTH levels which cause the symptoms. Turmeric may well manage the symptoms to a degree, as it is anti inflammatory etc but it won't affect the ACTH levels IMO.
Cushings is usually accompanied by Insulin Resistance so a low sugar/starch (i.e. cereals) diet is also important to manage this aspect. My old mare has had them both since she came here at 29, and she is now 35. The hardest thing she is coping with is unrelated to her Cushings (she has very few molars left) so the accepted treatment is very effective.
 

_HP_

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If she does test positive she looks small enough that you might still be able to get away with pergolide. You can't break the prascend tablets so vets can still prescribe pergolide if the dose is 1/2 per day .

Prascend is pergolide and is designed to be split...:)
 

LOZHUG

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Thank you for all your replies it's very much appreciated.

Spookypony - ha ha lack of energy and reluctance to go forward she certainly doesn't have!! She is is small paddock at the moment due to a bout of laminitis and she was racing round like a little race horse the other day and bucking and prancing bless her x

I believe that they are bringing in the free tests again?

Suby2 - my local vets were doing free testing last year as the vet thought one of my other Shetlands had it but he was tested and was negative. Sadly not doing free testing this year probably until the autumn but never mind it needs checking and will cost a lovely £65 but she is worth it as she is one of three I rehomed as their owner died x
 

MurphysMinder

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Prascend is pergolide and is designed to be split...:)

Whilst you are right, Shay is also correct re small doses. We have a pony who is on 250mcg of pergolide a day, which would be quarter of a prascend tablet. Its almost impossible to split a tablet into 4 so pony is on 1- 250mcg pergolide a day which is a lot easier to give. My other pony is on 2.5 prascend 1 mg) tablets.

ETS. Liphook are definitely doing the Cushing tests free again this year up until October 2014 .
 

lelly

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Vets are not allowed to prescribe pergolide anymore. I have a Cushing's Shetland pony and she is also insulin resistant. Its been very hard with her but two years down the line it is under control with one prascend a day and 5g of magnesium oxide. The prascend controls the ACTH and the mag ox sorts the insulin resistance. I have come very close, a few times, to pts but I am so glad I kept going as I now have a happy pony. Be prepared for big vets bills at first, if she does have it, but when you get it controlled its not so bad.
 

shortstuff99

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Whilst you are right, Shay is also correct re small doses. We have a pony who is on 250mcg of pergolide a day, which would be quarter of a prascend tablet. Its almost impossible to split a tablet into 4 so pony is on 1- 250mcg pergolide a day which is a lot easier to give. My other pony is on 2.5 prascend 1 mg) tablets.

ETS. Liphook are definitely doing the Cushing tests free again this year up until October 2014 .

Just a random point here it is possible to split prascend to 1/4's quite easily,as I do it for mine!

I treat my old pony with mild cushings with Equine America Cush Treat which has worked wonders! In general care I treat them as a laminitic.
 

glinda

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My pony was diagnosed with Cushings at christmas when she suddenly went down with laminitis- she showed NO other symptoms at all, the laminitis was our first clue.

Apparently about 90 % of all horses who are laminitic with have either Cushings or Insulin resistance so it is vital to get her tested.

My pony (shetland) is on 1/2 a tablet (Prascend) daily, she also has Cushins Crumbles (chaste berry) and Laminshield (magnesium). At her last test her ACTH levels were still too high, she has another check up and test booked for next week.
She also had quite bad side effects on the tablets to start with…. this took time and effort to resolve but she is fine now.
Would really advise the correct medication- don't just rely on supplements. Its normally caused by a benign tumour to the pituitary gland (part of the endocrine system) causing a increase in steroid production in the body….. medication that acts to control this is needed….. supplements can help but they are never going to do the job of suppressing the steroid production like proper medication can.

Her laminitis is just about managed at the moment- no grass paddock for about 6 hours per day, then in with a small amt of high fibre horsehage, she is fed Top Spec Lamilight and tiny bit of high fibre cubes (she has always had this diet its nothing new) and she now she is sound she is lunged every day. Overnight she has hay soaked for 8 hours and carefully weighed out to her weight.

She wasn't over weight to start with so her weight hasn't really changed- i've always treated her as if she was laminitic so its just unfortunate that she got the cushings…… I had all my other 5 tested as well as I got a bit paranoid about it but they were all negative (at the moment!!)

Good luck…… my advice- any doubt at all GET TESTED and while the free testing is on- there is no excuse no to even if you don't suspect a thing.
 

glinda

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Vets are not allowed to prescribe pergolide anymore..

Vets can prescribe 'human' drugs not licensed for animals under the cascade system….. this means that either there is no licensed animal product produced OR the animal product is not suitable for that particular animal for a clinical reason.
The licensed product not being available in the right dose would be a valid reason under cascade and as such the vet would be allowed to prescribe the human equivalent drug
 

Gloi

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The only real symptom I noticed with mine was increased thirst/urination. However since being treated not only has that stopped but his body shape, where I was putting changes down to ageing, has gone back to looking like a younger pony again.
 

HappyHooves

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Although Cushings is the first thing one thinks of, my companion mini Shetland went down with laminitis for no apparent reason - there had been no change in feed or grass amounts and quantity was extra restricted anyway to help with weight loss. She was tested and was found to be Insulin resistant only. This we have attempted to manage with metformin but it doesn't seem to be helping yet. Like yours she is happy and now moving well and in good spirits though her long coat is taking its time to go. The main thing is to keep weight down so she is on chaff type mix with special nuts, and 12 hour soaked hay. She is off her tiny paddock at night. There are ways to help IR ( or human diabetes!) which act in 4 different ways so try choosing one thing from each group which is a additively helpful.

A. Ginseng/panax, flaxseed
B. Soy protein, grapefruit, beet or beetroot, brindleberry
C. chasteberry, milk thistle, curcumin ( turmeric)
D. Fenugreek, aloe vera juice, prickly pear cactus.


Magnesium should always be fed to equines with IR problems as it is used in the metabolism of sugars. Be careful which magnesium you use though as oxide, Epsom salts etc are not well absorbed by horses. Check out chelated magnesium etc at www.equineanswers.co.uk.
 

STRIKER

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I thought the legs were the last place for the hair to fall off yet her legs are clean, i would say she just had a heavy coat and its taking its time to molt, some brushing would help. How old is she. Is she eating okay. She doesnt have a swollen belly which is anoth sign of cushings. Get her tested then you will know for sure
 

LOZHUG

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I thought the legs were the last place for the hair to fall off yet her legs are clean, i would say she just had a heavy coat and its taking its time to molt, some brushing would help. How old is she. Is she eating okay. She doesnt have a swollen belly which is anoth sign of cushings. Get her tested then you will know for sure

Thanks for the replies - sorry not been on for a few days.

postputasocinit - we are not 100% sure of her age as I rehomed her a year and a half ago. Dentist seems to think about 12. Her coat isn't long and had been brushed it just has the highlights on the belly. She is eating and drinking normally. She has slight boggle eyes but I wouldn't say it's fat deposits above or below the eyes they are just sticky out kind of eyes lol bless her.

Sadly my vets aren't doing the free testing as I phoned and asked before booking and I am not close enough to the one mentions which a re still doing it x but needs must so she will be tested anyway x
She will be tested after next week as I am unable to get time off this week to meet he vet, but she is on a bare paddock with soaked hay until we find out what's going on x
 

kerrieberry2

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If she does test positive she looks small enough that you might still be able to get away with pergolide. You can't break the prascend tablets so vets can still prescribe pergolide if the dose is 1/2 per day or lower.
There are alternative therapies - but having managed a cushings pony for many years I would say don't. They live longer and have a better quality of life for longer with the proper medication. Normally I'd be all for alternatives; but not for this.

my mare is on prascend and the tablets do break in half? which is really annoying when you need to fit 3 whole ones into slices of apple! so 6 if they all snap in half! haha
 

kerrieberry2

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Thanks for the replies - sorry not been on for a few days.

postputasocinit - we are not 100% sure of her age as I rehomed her a year and a half ago. Dentist seems to think about 12. Her coat isn't long and had been brushed it just has the highlights on the belly. She is eating and drinking normally. She has slight boggle eyes but I wouldn't say it's fat deposits above or below the eyes they are just sticky out kind of eyes lol bless her.

Sadly my vets aren't doing the free testing as I phoned and asked before booking and I am not close enough to the one mentions which a re still doing it x but needs must so she will be tested anyway x
She will be tested after next week as I am unable to get time off this week to meet he vet, but she is on a bare paddock with soaked hay until we find out what's going on x

The vets charge for taking bloody and sending it off for testing but the actual testing is free, if you go to the lami society site you might still be able to get a voucher for the free tests!

my mare has it but she doesn't have the typical signs, she as a thick coat, but not curly, she moults like crazy but she has an extra layer of long white hairs that don't seem to want to drop out! so needs clipping all year round so she looks neat! but she's been on meds since Oct so I'm seeing how she gets on this summer, have put off clipping her since Dec!!
 

MagicMelon

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You'll have to see what your vet says OP. But they dont have to be obviously cushings looking. I had 2 with cushings until recently (sadly had to put one to sleep a couple of months ago because of it), one got diagnosed with cushings about 4 years ago but visually he looks like any other pony (isn't fat or thin), doesn't drink excessively, doesnt have a curly coat although doesn't fully shed his coat at this time of year etc. and he (touch wood) we've managed to keep lami at bay - only reason we had him tested was our barefoot trimmer thought his feet suggested it and she was right! He's on prescend. He suffers no issues at all and is actually very sound even at his age of 27 but I know of course eventually it will catch up with him. Our shetland who we sadly lost was only diagnosed last year, again she never had the other symptoms but she kept getting laminitis. We tried chaste berry and then prescend on her but it didnt work and her laminitic episodes got worse and closer together at which point I couldn't keep putting her through it.

So yeah, I wouldnt ever assume a pony has to LOOK as though it has it. Generally I think most ponies over a certain age probably have it. If you do go onto prescend, you must also try to look at how you manage the horse so keep diet as low in sugar as possible, that sort of thing.

Fingers crossed yours doesn't have it because it is a horrid disease.
 

soloequestrian

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Just a random point here it is possible to split prascend to 1/4's quite easily,as I do it for mine!

Ooh, how do you do it? Mine is on half and it would be interesting to try him on 1/4 - the advice is the lowest dose possible is the best for long term treatment of the disease. My boy is 17.1hh!
 
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