Cushings test - or something else?

emfen1305

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I am probably panicking over nothing but I got my gelding out of the stable this morning and he had what looked like a great lump protruding on his left side, around his stifle/flank area. Once he was stood up properly it looked like it had gone down so I gave it a poke and it felt squishy and didn't seem to bother him at all. I thought it might have been a kick or a fly bite but I checked his right side and it seems he has one there too and actually it seems like they are fat pads that seem to have appeared overnight! I sort him myself everyday so I definitely would have noticed them before. He's an OK weight at the moment, perhaps slightly on the podgy side but the weather seems to making our usually bare field quite green in places.

I'm slightly worried about these two fat pads and had a quick google (more fool me) and looked at the symptoms for cushings and it seems he does have them minus the fat pads round the eyes and the laminitis, plus he is only 10 - I noticed last week he seemed to be randomly quite fluffy despite being fully clipped in May, he's become quite lethargic lately, has a bit of a belly on him and now these fat pads appearing have made me worry.

I was planning on getting a blood test for him anyway to see if there is anything going on that is causing him to be lethargic but do i need a separate test for the cushings or will they test as part of a general blood test (supplementary question: do they just do a general blood test or do you need to tell them what you want them to look for?)

Sorry it's long, google has me panicking. Perhaps the extra bit of grass has just made him pack it on a little bit.. Any advice? I think i'll call the vet in the morning
 

splashgirl45

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lethargy can also be a sign of cushings..not all horses get all of the symptoms...my mare was very lethargic and didnt shed all of her coat, she didnt get fat pads till later and thats when i got her tested for cushings and it was positive..i would call the vet anyway and tell him the symptoms you have noticed . if you look on the laminitis trust website i think they are still doing vouchers for free cushings testing, you will still have to pay your vets fees but it makes it a little bit cheaper to get tested....
 

emfen1305

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lethargy can also be a sign of cushings..not all horses get all of the symptoms...my mare was very lethargic and didnt shed all of her coat, she didnt get fat pads till later and thats when i got her tested for cushings and it was positive..i would call the vet anyway and tell him the symptoms you have noticed . if you look on the laminitis trust website i think they are still doing vouchers for free cushings testing, you will still have to pay your vets fees but it makes it a little bit cheaper to get tested....
Thank you! The lethargy has been pretty prominent for a couple of months now, especially noticeable in my lessons, he's had all of the checks so just put it down to him being a bit lazy. He's always had this kind of bed head style curly bit of hair at the top of both hind legs and i've noticed he's been constantly moulting for weeks yet is still a bit fluffy, again i put it down to the weird weather! I found the voucher on the talk about laminitis page so going to generate the code and call the vet in the morning. Someone new to the yard made a comment about his swollen sheath the other week and I thought it did look a bit swollen but a couple of people said it would likely be fly bites so i just brushed it off but that can be a sign too so i have learnt! I think he has enough things going on for me to warrant calling, the vet is due out for a checkup anyway as I still have some insurance money left from the ulcer treatment when he was diagnosed last year so hopefully insurance will pay for the visit and then the voucher will make it a bit cheaper!
 

Pearlsasinger

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It is far better to find out that your horse has Cushings *before* he gets laminitis, it's not inevitable with correct management. You will need to ask your vet for the specific test, I lost a young horse to what I now believe was Cushings but the vet I had at the time did blood tests which weren't specifically for that and nothing showed up.
 

emfen1305

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It is far better to find out that your horse has Cushings *before* he gets laminitis, it's not inevitable with correct management. You will need to ask your vet for the specific test, I lost a young horse to what I now believe was Cushings but the vet I had at the time did blood tests which weren't specifically for that and nothing showed up.
Sorry to hear about your horse. He hasn't had laminitis that we know of (I've had him for 2/12 years now) but he did have some horizontal ridges in his hooves that I thought indicated a change in something. I mentioned to farrier and he said they were normal and not to worry as he wasn't lame. I'll mention the symptoms, it's something I'd considered a while ago but pushed it to the back of my mind as he is only 10 so wasn't sure it was the most likely explanation for the symptoms!
 

noblesteed

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If you do get him tested don't go for the cheap test. Go for the more expensive one. I had mine tested using the regular blood test by the vet and got a negative result. He then said "but there's a better and far more accurate test that costs about £200 that we could try." I said if I had known that he could have done the more expensive test first!!!! I was not happy.

Another vet had a look at my horse and she was pretty certain it's EMS that he has and not cushings anyway. So treating him as EMS at present and saving up for more tests...
 

Zuzzie

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My horse was diagnosed with EMS last year but had two negative Cushings tests (they are not part of a general blood test). He continued to be lethargic even though he had been on diet (prescribed by vet) and had shed loads of unnecessary weight. He had a cresty neck and fat pads. However, in the Spring his coat was reluctant to shed so I asked my vet if he could put him on a trial with Prascend (Cushings medication). Result, new horse. Now has plenty of energy and coat looking shiny and sleek. I think my vet is offering a free Cushings test between now and October which is probably universally available to all. The Prascend takes about six weeks to show any effect so if you do try it, be patient. If your horse does have Cushings then he will be predisposed to laminitis so it's important not to ignore the signs. For more information go to The Laminitis web site which is brilliant. Loads of info on there about EMS and Cushings.
 

emfen1305

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My horse was diagnosed with EMS last year but had two negative Cushings tests (they are not part of a general blood test). He continued to be lethargic even though he had been on diet (prescribed by vet) and had shed loads of unnecessary weight. He had a cresty neck and fat pads. However, in the Spring his coat was reluctant to shed so I asked my vet if he could put him on a trial with Prascend (Cushings medication). Result, new horse. Now has plenty of energy and coat looking shiny and sleek. I think my vet is offering a free Cushings test between now and October which is probably universally available to all. The Prascend takes about six weeks to show any effect so if you do try it, be patient. If your horse does have Cushings then he will be predisposed to laminitis so it's important not to ignore the signs. For more information go to The Laminitis web site which is brilliant. Loads of info on there about EMS and Cushings.
Thank you! My vet is coming to do a general blood test next week to check for deficiencies and the cushings test at the same time. I am also wondering whether he is having some issues with his hock again as he has become very reluctant to pick it up! I've downloaded the voucher for the free test as saw it when I was browsing the Laminitis site! I have put him on a diet and increased the faster work where he can manage on vet's advice to get the weight off him. He definitely doesn't have a cresty neck, quite the opposite, it feels like he has no neck at all, there is no muscle there despite all of the work we do he still looks ewe necked. I do think the cushings test will come back negative, i don't think he has enough of the symptoms but need to start somewhere. He has been perkier over the last week and looked very well on the lunge last night so I'm at a bit of a loss of what to think!
 

Micky

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Have a look at thelaminitissite..has all the info you need on there...you treat the symptoms presented before you rather than solely relying on the blood results..mine was borderline on the blood test, prascend trail and 5 yr on, I have a shiny, happy horse who's turning out to be more energetic than the previous 5 years! Change to feed and general management is a must too..
 

NOISYGIRL

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The test is free at the moment you 'd still have to pay your vet to come and take the blood but the actual test is free
 

emfen1305

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Just a quick update, vet came today and wants to wait to do the cushings test until after we get the bloods back from the general test. He had a look over him today and watched him on the lunge and isn't 100% convinced he is showing many clinical signs and after we had been through all of the symptoms, he felt that we should try and get him to lose some weight over the next couple of months and then reassess. He has given me some equitop myoplast to help with the loss of muscle over his topline and told me to up his workload. After taking a proper look at him, I think i was being a bit ignorant to how overweight he is, he was fat coming out of winter as i panic fed loads of different feeds and gave him unlimited haylage when he was diagnosed with ulcers and then he wasn't worked for 4 months whilst we were trying to find out what was wrong and then went straight onto the spring grass, vet condition scored him today at a 4/5 so no wonder he doesn't want to go forward if he's carrying all that extra weight so feeling like a bit of a bad mum at the moment, i just didnt want the ulcers to come back!

Anyway, long ramble but going to try and get him to lose weight and see where we are at, it would explain why he was perkier last winter! I will definitely keep looking on the laminitis site and keep an eye on him, if no improvement the vet is definitely happy to do the cushings test!
 

Tiddlypom

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Seeing as the Cushings test is currently free, it is disappointing that your vet didn't pull bloods for it today whist he was there. So many horses are now testing +ve for PPID despite the vet insisting that the horse doesn't look the type. And equitop myoplast is sugar coated, which doesn't sound ideal.

Your horse is a condition score 4/5, but with a poor top line? Can't quite picture that.
 

Micky

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Agree with tiddlypom...equitop myoplast isn't ideal to be feeding if he is overweight...the test won't be free for long now and vets cost for taking bloods are minimal...
 

emfen1305

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Seeing as the Cushings test is currently free, it is disappointing that your vet didn't pull bloods for it today whist he was there. So many horses are now testing +ve for PPID despite the vet insisting that the horse doesn't look the type. And equitop myoplast is sugar coated, which doesn't sound ideal.

Your horse is a condition score 4/5, but with a poor top line? Can't quite picture that.
Maybe I should have been pushier, I don't like it sound like I am telling him what to do, as silly as that sounds! He is coming back in a month so I will ask him to do the test then, the voucher will still be valid and as I understand, the test should be done before Autumn?

Sorry I should have been clearer, he has a a bit of a ewe neck (he came totally upside down so better than he was) so no crest and very little muscle across his back but he has fat pads on his shoulders and you can't feel his ribs easily, he also has a pot belly. It's almost like his neck and body belong to two different horses. Yes I did express a bit of concern about the myoplast being sugar coated but we have tried the active ingredient in it by itself before and he wouldn't go anywhere near his bucket even with a pinch so vet seems to think we may have more of a chance with this.. he said for the amount of work he's doing he should have more topline than he does!
 

emfen1305

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Thanks all, I should have been pushier, I regret that now. He is due back in a month so I will tell him I want the test whilst it is free. I'm disappointed with myself really, I have done loads of research on it and felt like i had a strong enough case to have the test but let him just do the general test. You live and learn I suppose!
 

splashgirl45

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why cant you get the vet to come back and do the test now? we are coming up to a bad time of year for cushings horses to get laminitis and you will not forgive yourself if he gets it.....if he has fat pads and loss of top line and being lethargic, these are symptoms of cushings. can you post an up to date pic of him?
 

Pearlsasinger

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You NEED to tell your vet what you want him to do. It just doesn't make sense that he took some blood but not enough for a Cushings test as well. I am not convinced that this vet has your horse's best interests at heart. It sounds to me as though he sees your horse as a very good source of income. I am guessing that you are insured?
 

vanrim

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The free ACTH test often gives false negatives for Cushing. The TRH test is far more accurate and worth doing.
 

Micky

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If your vet is worth his/her salt, she will know that a borderline reading with symptoms presented in front of you warrants a trial with prascend, generally the blood tests don't come back true but you treat what the horse is portraying..i.e. Lethargy, pot belly, laminitis, fat pads etc etc...
 

southerncomfort

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If your vet is worth his/her salt, she will know that a borderline reading with symptoms presented in front of you warrants a trial with prascend, generally the blood tests don't come back true but you treat what the horse is portraying..i.e. Lethargy, pot belly, laminitis, fat pads etc etc...
No symptoms in my mare's case and the advice from the lab was to test again in the Autumn. If she had any symptoms I would definitely ask for Prascend.
 

emfen1305

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why cant you get the vet to come back and do the test now? we are coming up to a bad time of year for cushings horses to get laminitis and you will not forgive yourself if he gets it.....if he has fat pads and loss of top line and being lethargic, these are symptoms of cushings. can you post an up to date pic of him?
Sorry for the delay, I was away at Equifest! I don't have any recent pictures of him without tack/ridden which I don't think would be helpful really, I will try to get one to see if I can show what I mean about his topline!
 

emfen1305

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I am speaking with the vet today as the results from his blood panel have come back in so I will speak to him about the different tests, having read about them TRH sounds like it may be more accurate - is this still free with the voucher or does the voucher only cover the ACTH?
 

emfen1305

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This is a photo from last night! It's the most square I could get him to stand!



And an iffy one from the front!



Not sure how useful these are in showing his belly and lack of neck muscle but the vet's concern is with the lack of muscle across his back and his neck.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Sorry for the delay, I was away at Equifest! I don't have any recent pictures of him without tack/ridden which I don't think would be helpful really, I will try to get one to see if I can show what I mean about his topline!
The voucher is for ACTH testing. If it comes back positive, obviously the horse needs Prascend, if it comes back borderline/negative, it would be worth retesting for TRH.
 

Zuzzie

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For your information and something which I found extremely helpful, there is a short FANTASTIC video clip on The Laminitis Site on how to fat score your horse. Dr Teresa Hollands shows 3 different horses, normal, fat and thin. Watching this film will give you all the information you need to fat score your horse EASILY. I can't emphasis enough how great this video is! Here is the web link http://www.thelaminitissite.org/articles/body-condition-scoring-video

I think the free test for Cushings is available until October but, as someone else said, there is always the possibility of laminitis lurking. There will be another flush of grass growth coming up which will be risky. I would say you definitely need to test for Cushings sooner rather than later.
 

ester

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He doesn't look at all metabolic to me.

However there is absolutely no way I would be feeding a horse of that type equitop myoplast, I would see if they would eat spirulina on it's own (the active ingredient).
 

emfen1305

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For your information and something which I found extremely helpful, there is a short FANTASTIC video clip on The Laminitis Site on how to fat score your horse. Dr Teresa Hollands shows 3 different horses, normal, fat and thin. Watching this film will give you all the information you need to fat score your horse EASILY. I can't emphasis enough how great this video is! Here is the web link http://www.thelaminitissite.org/articles/body-condition-scoring-video

I think the free test for Cushings is available until October but, as someone else said, there is always the possibility of laminitis lurking. There will be another flush of grass growth coming up which will be risky. I would say you definitely need to test for Cushings sooner rather than later.
Thankyou! I had a quick click on it and will watch it properly with sound later at home! The vet is coming back out in 2 weeks so hopefully we can do the test then before the Autumn!
 
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