Cushings

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by Dream27, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Dream27

    Dream27 Senior Member

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    I've seen a lot of threads mentioning Cushings in horses, and have done a little research, but nothing really explains what it does to a horse long-term if not treated. Eg. if you have a pasture pet horse who is never ridden (but does have regular hoof trims), turned out 24/7 on grass hay and seems happy and content otherwise (and in good weight), would testing for Cushings (and treating) be worthwhile? Is the testing and/or treatment expensive? What are the implications of not treating it?
     
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  2. doublelranch

    doublelranch Senior Member

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    Chronic laminitis is the biggest factor.
     
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  3. Mcdreamer

    Mcdreamer Senior Member

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    Whew buddy, let me tell you about cushings. I hate it.
    It usually develops in older horses and certain breeds seem to be more susceptible to it. The reason you can't get a clear idea on what it is and implications of treatment is because it's such a weird thing that happens to horses. It's a pituitary issue. And the pituitary gland regulates a lot of things in horses and when it malfunctions, weird things happen but hardly ever in a predictable pattern.
    Here is just an assortment of symptoms I have come across in my dealings with cushings:
    -dull affect and lethargy
    -peach fuzz-like winter coats
    -large consumption of water
    -suddenly losing a lot of body weight and muscle mass
    -lactating in non-pregnant mare
    -frequent occurring abscesses
    -severe heat cycles
    -cresty neck and fat deposits
    -weird allergies

    Essentially, the medication (Prascend) is to stop the tumor growth on the pituitary gland and often really improves the horse's quality of life. Body mass and tone go back up, moods improve, and overall the horse seems more comfortable. It all depends on when you catch it. Ive had horses as early as 15 diagnosed. It usually isn't caught until much later when the horse is aged and showing (possibly) more typical sines like a shaggy coat and pot belly. Cushings rarely ever presents itself in a way that you say "this is totally cushings" which is why it is always a good idea to have a horse tested who is of age and displaying random symptoms that don't seem to make sense. If you can catch it early, you can very well improve the horse's overall quality of life and they generally can live perfectly normal happy long lives.
     
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  4. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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    Had a friend who's horse got laminitis in all four legs last year after injections. Only hint they had prior was the last couple of months the horse ballooned in weight and got a huge crest. Tested the horse, advanced Cushings. They put him down. Age, 16.

    Him, just before he got the laminitis.

    Caryn Hill Photo
     
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  5. tlwidener

    tlwidener Senior Member

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    ^like a lot of show horses... that horse is fat. He's got a crest in that photo! Bet you couldn't feel his ribs all. Bet he had fat deposits on his tail head.

    He'd likely been fat a long time...and no one noticed because a great many all around QH/stock horses are fat.
     
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  6. turnnburnlynx

    turnnburnlynx Senior Member

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    Long term if you dont treat, you will have a horse who will not be able to regulate their body weight (either too fat or too skinny) most cushing horses are also linked to insulin resistance, so they wont process sugars appropriately, which then leads to the lamanitis.
    The horses wont be able to regulate their temperature , so over summer they will have shaggy, dull coats which will cause over heating, excessive sweating, and being super uncomfortable . The horse will drink and pee excessively, so I hope they are out on pasture XD

    I know a really rude woman who had a 30 something , amazing babysitter horse who had Cushing's and she didnt treat because "it wasnt worth the money" , he was sweating all the time, uncomfortable, and he was so sad. He was miserable :( she was just milking money out of him giving lessons on him even when he was having lamanitis flareups
     
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  7. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    Agreed it takes on all forms, because it is Pituitary dysfunction, meaning hormones are all out of whack. I pay $315 for 160 days of Prascend (one pill/day... Some require less, some require more). I can't imagine not treating it. It is expensive, but less expensive than a couple big vet bills related to complications of the disease. Some horses albeit the vast minority, cannot tolerate Prascend, but if it is built up very slowly most horses tolerate it well and the benefits far outweigh the risks. Laminitis is a huge concern, temperature regulation is a huge concern, and chronic and unrelenting infection is another big concern. Most suffer muscle wastage, connective tissue degeneration, and often have a hard time keeping weight on at some point. Levels should be checked regularly, but most recent evidence suggests dosing based on symptoms rather than ACTH numbers. Prascend slows the progression of the disease, but will not cure it. I wish I had tested my mare a year before I did, because I bet she'd have been positive but I was in denial. I'm grateful she didn't get laminitis or anything again in that year. If you suspect it, the test costs me ~$65, which is worth it imo.
     
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  8. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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