Cushings, can I pick your collective brains please

MyBoyChe

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Recently bought a little Sec b and I suspect he has cushings, 16 years old and the only classic symptom is he is still holding onto his coat. I have no previous experience and am not overly bothered as he seems happy and content, no lami at all and is in very very light work and is perfect at the job he was bought to do. I didnt have him vetted when I bought him and havent spoken to my vet about him but would like a few opinions please so I am armed with a little more knowledge. Im not sure I want to medicate long term, is it absolutely necessary. He is out 24/7 atm on a very dry bare paddock, he has hifi lite twice a day, a round scoop each time and about 8 kgs hay per day mixed with a bit of straw. He was 300kg on the tape when we collected him in March and is now 290kg on the same tape, he is 13hds and a very lw pony but Im thinking he needs a little more feed, his paddock really does have no grass in it, a hedge and a few hedgerow plants but no real grass growth. I also think it might be worth clipping him, his coat is still coming out in handfuls and looks dull, Im thinking it might make him feel better and I can rug if necessary. Should I be treating this more seriously, as I said, he appears happy and cheerful, is eating fine and totally sound, he just hasnt grown a lovely summer coat
 

Gloi

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Not all native ponies have lost all their coats by now even without Cushings. It doesn't cost a lot to have him tested and is well worth while. Depending on what his reading is the medication works well and kept my pony looking well for several years, though he was a lot older than yours. Other early signs can be excess drinking, sweating and urination and a tendency to skin infections and foot abscesses. These things usually resolve very quickly once medicated. Mine stopped the excessive drinking within a week. A high fibre low sugar diet will be good for him whether he has Cushings or not.
 

Micky

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As above really, testing is worth it for peace of mind, and if needed medicate with Prascend, go with your vets recommendation, if you feel he would be happier more comfortable clipped, then clip..other signs can be lethargy, footiness, loss of muscle and a pot belly, though if worked he might not have that. Prascend isn’t really the only thing that works in treating Cushings along with good management.
 

Ownedby4horses

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D&H Cushcare has turned my little 30 year old around. Vet agrees no need to medicate as he is doing so incredibly well. I wanted to try the Cushcare before thinking about meds as it was recommended to me. It has been a complete life change for him and he has a new lease of life.
 

Wheresthehoofpick

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You should definitely test. It's highly subsidised by the drug companies so not expensive. At least then you can proceed informed.

Our 22 yr old pony failed his vetting a few years ago as tested positive. The owners gave him to us for the price of his tack and he is a total superstar. It's worth every penny of the medication cost to keep him well and happy. He had no symptoms other than coat. We have gone for a preventative approach as he is invaluable to us.

I posted on a forum about whether we should take him
On. The overwhelming opinion was yes. They were right.
 

Ownedby4horses

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Ownedby4, do you use the feed or the supplement, or both please.
Just the feed in quantities as per the bag. His coat is amazing, he has a sparkle that he’s lacked for years and he is full of energy again. The vet was absolutely stunned in the change in him as we really did think it was the end for him after his last laminitic attack.

I would definitely recommend the feed, I’m pretty sure I read of other people online who had said how amazing it is.
 

meleeka

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I’d test. It’s better to know I think so you can prevent any symptoms that may come. In the meantime micronised linseed is excellent for coat condition, although it won’t stop him holding onto it. I thought my pony was just getting old. Once she was diagnosed and treated she lost about 10 years! She’s 27 now and doesn’t remotely look or act her age.
 

Ownedby4horses

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If it’s is cushings, be aware cushcare will only work for so long...
Can you explain your experience as my boy has been on it for 18 months and the vet has indicated that he may well never need meds as the Cushcare is helping him have a new lease of life. I've never read anything to say it only helps short term so would be interested to know why you think that.
 

dogatemysalad

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The voucher for Cushing tests, is only for the first test, but you still pay for the vet call out, taking the bloods and vets interpretation of results.After that, you have to pay every 6 months for a vet call out and tests in order to continue recieving prescriptions.
There is an increased likelihood of abscesses, immune related problems and a horse with decreased ability to regulate their temperature.
My experience with a Cushing mare was not good. She's been caught early, having tested negative 6 months previously and on a routine check, then returned a positive result. Despite close monitoring and management, she declined over the next two years before she was euthanized.
For some horses, the disease can progress slowly and medication and management may give them a good quality of life, but it's not the case for everyone.
 

shortstuff99

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Can you explain your experience as my boy has been on it for 18 months and the vet has indicated that he may well never need meds as the Cushcare is helping him have a new lease of life. I've never read anything to say it only helps short term so would be interested to know why you think that.
It's more that cushings is a progressive disease that in the end the agnus castus in the feed wouldn't be enough to keep the steroid levels down. You would then have to move to the medication which eventually wouldnt be enough either. Just be aware that end stage cushings can be very distressing to witness.
 

Ownedby4horses

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It's more that cushings is a progressive disease that in the end the agnus castus in the feed wouldn't be enough to keep the steroid levels down. You would then have to move to the medication which eventually wouldnt be enough either. Just be aware that end stage cushings can be very distressing to witness.
Thanks, it is interesting as my boy definitely proressed very slowly and perhaps my vet is thinking that at the age of 30 based on how slowly it has progressed, something else may be likely to arise and him be needing to be PTS before the cushings reslly took hold. Hence his comment that he may never need meds for it.

We would have no hesitation to PTS if it progressed to meds and his quality of life was starting to deteriorate, as hes had 13 years of exceptional care with us having been a rescue and feral.
 

Cheeky Chestnut

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The voucher for Cushing tests, is only for the first test, but you still pay for the vet call out, taking the bloods and vets interpretation of results.After that, you have to pay every 6 months for a vet call out and tests in order to continue recieving prescriptions.
There is an increased likelihood of abscesses, immune related problems and a horse with decreased ability to regulate their temperature.
My experience with a Cushing mare was not good. She's been caught early, having tested negative 6 months previously and on a routine check, then returned a positive result. Despite close monitoring and management, she declined over the next two years before she was euthanized.
For some horses, the disease can progress slowly and medication and management may give them a good quality of life, but it's not the case for everyone.
I didn’t have to pay every six months for a repeat test I just had my free one and one other then the vet just came to see him every six months checked him over and issued a 6months meds order.

If he is uncomfortable then I’d clip him. I was lucky that my boy didnt have the curly coat however in winter I had to clip him fully as if he got wet his coat was so soft that it would mat under rugs but the coat was too soft and he couldn’t regulate temp
To go without a rug.

I medicated and after two years of back and forth and agonising decisions I don’t think I would do it again. If it couldn’t be managed without the prascend then I wouldn’t be keeping going.

Just my first hand experience of having a (much older pony than your boy) pony with it.
 

MyBoyChe

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Had a very helpful and useful chat with the D&H nutritionist, Cushcare feed ordered. IT seems that it would be quite a good feed for him whether he has Cushings or not, am going to up his feeds to 3 small ones a day rather than 2. Have also had a chat with my vet and Im still toying with doing the blood test and medicating if hes positive. She assures me he could take Prascend for the rest of his life, however long, with no ill effects which was a worry. I didnt want to start it now and have to stop in the longer term, just waiting for them to call me back to confirm cost of testing and a date they can come out
 

Gloi

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Had a very helpful and useful chat with the D&H nutritionist, Cushcare feed ordered. IT seems that it would be quite a good feed for him whether he has Cushings or not, am going to up his feeds to 3 small ones a day rather than 2. Have also had a chat with my vet and Im still toying with doing the blood test and medicating if hes positive. She assures me he could take Prascend for the rest of his life, however long, with no ill effects which was a worry. I didnt want to start it now and have to stop in the longer term, just waiting for them to call me back to confirm cost of testing and a date they can come out
The sooner you test and if the count is high start Prascend the better. Don't put it off.
 

MyBoyChe

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Vet visit booked for this Friday, thank you to the poster who mentioned the voucher scheme, saved me a few pennies. I was going to clip him this week but I will wait till after hes been seen. Its odd because his neck, head and backside are lovely and sleek, its the middle bit that is still hairy and shedding, he looks like a little cut and shut!
 

splashgirl45

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as cushings is progressive, it is the luck of the draw if a horse has a very slow progression. mine was diagnosed at 20 with a reading of 172 and we never managed to get her levels down to the right area even though her dosage was increased gradually to 4 daily. i had her tested twice a year and followed the advice of my vet and leahurst. she was PTS age 25 as her levels were still rising and laminitis was likely to be the next problem and as she would have been unhappy kept in imade my decision thinking of her quality of life..
 

meleeka

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Mine’s been on Prascend for many years (I think around 7?)and is still going brilliantly. Everyone comments she doesn’t look her age and she has no symptoms apart from not really growing a winter coat (she had to be different. She only ever had laminitis in her hinds too, never the fronts).
 

Micky

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Had a very helpful and useful chat with the D&H nutritionist, Cushcare feed ordered. IT seems that it would be quite a good feed for him whether he has Cushings or not, am going to up his feeds to 3 small ones a day rather than 2. Have also had a chat with my vet and Im still toying with doing the blood test and medicating if hes positive. She assures me he could take Prascend for the rest of his life, however long, with no ill effects which was a worry. I didnt want to start it now and have to stop in the longer term, just waiting for them to call me back to confirm cost of testing and a date they can come out
I dont mean to offend or be rude but D&H would say that, they’re selling their product..personally I wouldn’t put mine on this as it has glucosamine in it, and if I have read correctly, it isn’t good for laminitics? Someone correct me I forgot I’m wrong..
if you start Prascend, you don’t stop it in the longer term..good luck with the the bloods
 

HufflyPuffly

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Agnus castus has no proven ability to help manage Cushings, it has anecdotal evidence to help some symptoms but that's it.

Doodle was treated with Prascend for approx. 5 years, her levels remained fairly stable on one tablet a day until we lost her to an unrelated field injury. I was slightly more careful with her on very lush/spring grass but the medication meant she could have a pretty much normal life, which as she was partially retired was important to me, I didn't want to restrict her turnout and then need to work her more.
 

splashgirl45

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exactly my thoughts HP .my mare lived a normal life apart from having soaked hay and no sugar in her feeds, she also was semi retired until 6 months before she was PTS when i stopped riding her completely. if i had to keep her stabled just so i could keep her longer ,i would not have taken that option, it was september 2016 when i lost her and would love to still have her plodding around in the field if she had been comfortable... i must admit i dont miss the worrying although i have a dog who is almost 14 so still worry about her!!!
 

MyBoyChe

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Not offended Micky, all thoughts appreciated. Ive ordered one bag as weirdly, I do need to get a little bit of condition on him, Im hoping the oil in it will help with this initially. It may not be a long term feed option. I also agree with the posters above who say quality of life is important...he does and always will do, very little work so he has to be turned out as much as possible for his wellbeing (imo). If we ever got to a point where he had to stay in 23 out of 24 hours, it wouldnt be happening :(
 

Gloi

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We had 3 oldies on Prascend at one point. They all went on it in their mid 20s. 2 had had previous laminitis, one had skin infection issues, and one was drinking, peeing and sweating more. When tested all had counts from 95 - 120. We started them on Prascend 1/2 tablet a day.
They lived out 24/7 on a strip grazed paddock with little grass, topped up with a bit of hay if needed. None had any further laminitis or skin issues and looked pretty well. One went down to a count of 15 by the next test, the others 50-60. One was PTS with dental issues 2 years later. One had an increase in his count by the following year and went to 1 tablet a day which stabilised it and he had 6 more years
until he was PTS at 31 from arthritis deteriorating. The other stayed well on 1/2 tablet for 6 years until he was PTS ar 30 with dental issues.
 

MyBoyChe

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Thanks Gloi, thats all pretty positive. Hes a sweet little chap and although we havent had him long we have become very attached. As long as we can make sure hes happy and enjoying life will do whats best for him
 
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