Cushings and rolling

hellfire

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Mini was diagnosed in Autum as been showing mild symptoms for a while. He's 16 this year and still regularly ridden but it's getting less as he has started to slow down a bit and Ive found he's much more lively and enjoys it more when it's only once a week now. It's a shame as don't want him gaining weight as he's a good doer. The odd thing is the last few rides on 3 occasions he's tried to roll with Caitlin on!! (I don't ride him as he's a Shetland ๐Ÿ˜‚. I do however drive him!!) This has never happened before and was wondering if it's anything to do with his condition being uncomfortable under the pony pad? I've had him since he was 4 broke him myself and he's taught many kids to ride and I've done a lot of driving. It's really worried me if he does it in harness!! I know they can sweat in dffetent places BUT the only clinical signs he shows with his condition is he fails to shed properly, he had a bout of lami years ago and he became a little lethargic so I clip him as the weather warms, he gets a bit extra energy with his feed and his coats no different to a normal healthy Shetland. He's never massivly sweaty under his saddle so can't work it out. It's always at the end of the ride as he's coming through the forest gate into the field before my yard. Caitlin is old enough to leap off or stop him luckily. I'm hoping it's just because they've started to moult!
 

be positive

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He is probably getting a bit too warm and has now learned if he tries to roll the rider hops off, I would give him a bib or irish clip so he has less hair under the girth area at least and see if that helps, small ponies usually learn far too quickly so if he ever tries in harness I would be very sharp with him and nip it in the bud but it may be that having less hair will help anyway.
 

splashgirl45

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agree, he is too hot...this is something which happens with cushings horses as they have difficulty controlling their body heat. you dont mention if he is being treated, being lethargic is also a sign but once my mare was being treated she got her usual energy back, it may be worth speaking to your vet if he is not being treated...
 

hellfire

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Maybe I need to start clipping earlier then just don't really want to rug him as only gets rugged in extreme weather as he hates rugs, gets too warm in a lightweight and he also gets fat easily as I use the winter to my advantage to keep his weight in check. No my vet advised to put off treatment for the moment as he's not too bad. He's not lethargic as in a plod. He's always been a little rocket of a Shetland but he's just slowed up a bit. He's now quite happy to walk where as before he wanted to trot everywhere or gallop with Caitlin every day given the chance. He's still like that if she only takes him out once a week. Where as before he was like that every time he went out! Now if taken out regularly he will go but she's sometimes had to push him more into a trot or canter. So as said his exercise has been reduced a bit. I did out of curiosity try a tiny handful of oats and he was back to normal! I recently started him on some linseed oil to see if that helps him. If not I'll look at low cal feeds with a bit more energy as the vet said for now treat him naturally as we can with diet. I will give him a early clip anyway and will just have to put his lightweight on if needed. He hasn't learnt the rider jumps off as she only done that once and got him up quick. The other times after she's given him a sharp kick and stern word and he's stopped in time.
 

mule

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My elderly Cushing's mare despises rugs and point blank refuses to wear one. Despite her ridiculously long coat she doesn't get overheated because she's no longer ridden. I approached her with a rug during the recent cold weather and if looks could kill...
 

splashgirl45

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i would be very careful with feed as a cushings pony is very likely to get laminitis and you said he did have it years ago ... if you want to keep his weight down it may be better to keep riding him regularly. running out of energy is a sign of cushings and if you dont keep on top of his weight before the spring grass you may have laminitis again. ... why not put him on a very low dose of prascend and see if that helps with the rolling and lethargy
 

be positive

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If you just partly clip he will be fine without a rug and it will help with his weight so it is a win win for him and you, I would do a high bib and take under his girth off with no need to rug.
 

splashgirl45

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agree tiddlypom, but op's vet says no, i find that very odd and having had a cushings horse i would never risk laminitis and i managed to keep her in normal activity and normal turn out for all of her life, with no laminitis,so i am pretty sure i was doing the right thing...
 

Pearlsasinger

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agree tiddlypom, but op's vet says no, i find that very odd and having had a cushings horse i would never risk laminitis and i managed to keep her in normal activity and normal turn out for all of her life, with no laminitis,so i am pretty sure i was doing the right thing...

That was then, this is now. I would be talking to bet again and explaining (in words of one syllable, if necessary) that things had changed and as the owner *I* felt that the time had come for Prascend now. I would also if necessary, remind the vet who pays the bills.
 

hellfire

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Ha ha they are funny. Horses don't feel the weather as bad as us. My neighbour makes me feel bad saying how it's 9deg and surely they want to be in with a nice thick rug. No!! Open barn hay and bed come in take a dump and bugger off out into rain!
 

hellfire

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Just to be clear he's in a bare paddock most of the year on low sugar rationed hay. I have 4 natives and they all live like this. He was diagnosed in Nov last year and had just started to show these symptoms but the coat not shedding has been going on for two seasons. He had laminitis not long after I got him as he was disgustingly over weight. I trust my vet very much and he's said to put of treatment for the mean time and try other approaches first. If anyone has suggestions I greatly take them but shoving him straight on meds is not something I want to give into right away without trying a different approach. I'd only asked about the rolling to see if it was common with Cush ponies and sounds like a clip will help him. Considering the other day him along with my other Shetland were bombing around the paddock flat out them playing intently for a good half hour I don't think he's feeling bad enough to warrant putting drugs in his system just yet.
 

splashgirl45

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i oinly suggested putting him on medication as you said he is only ridden once a week as he was lethargic if ridden more. the first sign that my mare showed was being very quiet to ride( she was normally very forward going and jolly) this carried on for a few months and i got the vet to come and test her. vet said she didnt look like a cushings horse but tested her anyway. her reading was 172 and we put her on prascend immediately...she went from being depressed and lethargic to her normal nutty self in about 5 weeks. your boy sounds like he was the same sort of ride as mine, the answer isnt to ride him less, it is to find out the cause and treat it...i realise you dont want to go against your vet but am just trying to give you more info as i had over 5 years of dealing with this horrible condition which will not get better and even with treatment i had to make that decision in 2016 due to advanced cushings....
 

hellfire

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The OP said that her vet wanted to put off treatment while he wasn't too b
I wonder why my vets opinion differed so much as he said it's better to put meds off untill really needed according to very recent findings. He also stated some will go on without the meds no problem.

My own vet favours putting them on Prascend early on before they get sick, they last better that w
i oinly suggested putting him on medication as you said he is only ridden once a week as he was lethargic if ridden more. the first sign that my mare showed was being very quiet to ride( she was normally very forward going and jolly) this carried on for a few months and i got the vet to come and test her. vet said she didnt look like a cushings horse but tested her anyway. her reading was 172 and we put her on prascend immediately...she went from being depressed and lethargic to her normal nutty self in about 5 weeks. your boy sounds like he was the same sort of ride as mine, the answer isnt to ride him less, it is to find out the cause and treat it...i realise you dont want to go against your vet but am just trying to give you more info as i had over 5 years of dealing with this horrible condition which will not get better and even with treatment i had to make that decision in 2016 due to advanced cushings....
I'm very sorry to hear that. It is so hard to know what to do for the best. It seems to come in random waves. One moment he's bombing about then another ride he's a bit slow and just not his normal self. It's not all the time which is why maybe my vet said leave it. He goes against the grain at times but has treated many of my farm animals without drugs with great success.
Weird thing is driving he's the same as always happy to trot it out without asking. Makes me wonder sat here now thinking about it and people saying he may get hot is having a rider, saddle pad and pony pad on him making it worse at times and that's the recent reason for this rolling and slowing in hacking. Maybe as her weights crept up its a little much now. He was totally fine when we went out Thursday but it was bloody cold!! I'm so confused as no change in his behaviour in the field either.
 

Tiddlypom

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With Cushing's, there's a lot going wrong internally that doesn't show externally.

I am managing two neds with Cushing's. My vet is also very pragmatic, an Irish lass who doesn't treat anything unnecessarily. She puts Cushing's horses straight on Prascend though to prevent them getting too sick to respond later.

ETA If these warning signs are ignored there's a real risk of a sudden turn for the worse, eg laminitis, which could be fatal.
 
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oldie48

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I would definitely put on prascend. Further to cushings horses struggling to control their temperature, they are also very prone to skin infections and getting hot and sweaty exacebates this, so I'm another who would bib clip.
 

Micky

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HAve a look at the laminitis site ..lots of good info on there regarding laminitis, cushings and ems, management etc. Alternatives donโ€™t seem to cut it with cushings though from what Iโ€™ve read and experienced..prascend seems to be the only real solution. Obviously it is completely your decision.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I'm sorry I don't understand your, or your vet's, reluctance to medicate, unless it is related to the cost. Prascend will not affect your pony adversely, except possibly at the beginning when it can be introduced gradually, all it does is treat the symptoms unfortunately, it can't stop the progression of the disease. Neither do I understand what alternatives your vet thinks there are to medication, I know of no alternatives and we have had 2 horses with Cushings, sadly we lost them both last year.
 

_HP_

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Prascend can help slow the progression of the disease so to hold off medicating doesn't seem to make sense. Why wait for the symptoms to get worse and then medicate, when you can medicate now and he may not even show the symptoms for a long time.
 

splashgirl45

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i only said about spring grass as that could make his weight more, but cushings horses get laminitis even in the middle of winter because cushings changes their metabolism so the fact he isnt on grass will help to control his weight but not cushings...
 

hellfire

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Looks like I need a new vet then as mine must be mis informed about the condition as seems everyone thinks he should be on meds straight away. As soon as his pos test came in I asked about the meds and his reasoning for not jumping into it right away was he wasn't showing bad clinical signs the test wasn't high only slow patchy shedding and a slight lack of energy. He said the way I keep him is perfect as no grass my own late low sugar cut hay. He said to try giving him some extra energy in the form on feed and that we will see how he goes as treatment doesn't stop the condition or prolong life only treat symptoms and make them comfortable if they need it. He said treating to soon I may end up having to increase the dosage in the near future. That was his reasoning. He also suggested light therapy as a trial.
 

mule

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Looks like I need a new vet then as mine must be mis informed about the condition as seems everyone thinks he should be on meds straight away. As soon as his pos test came in I asked about the meds and his reasoning for not jumping into it right away was he wasn't showing bad clinical signs the test wasn't high only slow patchy shedding and a slight lack of energy. He said the way I keep him is perfect as no grass my own late low sugar cut hay. He said to try giving him some extra energy in the form on feed and that we will see how he goes as treatment doesn't stop the condition or prolong life only treat symptoms and make them comfortable if they need it. He said treating to soon I may end up having to increase the dosage in the near future. That was his reasoning. He also suggested light therapy as a trial.
I know a vet who isn't keen on treating it either for the same reasons your vet gave. Perhaps quite a few vets feel this way. Another thing that a vet would take in to consideration is the levels of the hormone that the test detects.

The vet I use has prescribed it for the cushings mare. It's a relief to have her on it because it does reduce the chances of laminitis and it's a horrible illness.
However, I'd say the chance of yours developing it is quite low given your management. I'm not keen on giving veterinary advice, as I'm not a vet but if you're concerned you could get a second opinion.
 
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Pearlsasinger

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I assume that your pony had the ACTH test. Before making any further decisions, I would ask for the TRH Stim test too. One of our mares had consecutive low ACTH tests, although her levels rose slightly then, because we were concerned about her we had the other test and her level was * 8 times* the acceptable level. ACTH isn't always accurate.
Our other mare had been ACTH tested and found to be within normal range but she had a recurrent hoof abscess, so we had her tested again. This time her ACTH reading was over the normal range, although not massively. As soon as she was established on Prascend, the abscess cleared up and didn't return. If I could have foretold the future, I would have put her on Prascend sooner and saved her 3 months of pain/discomfort, poor girl.

But I would certainly ask for a 2nd opinion vet.
 
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