blood tests for cushings and EMS

notpoodle

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to hell with good intentions!

since i can claim on the insurance still and that pesky lami keeps coming back for no apparent reason (pony is in good shape etc), i have booked her in for a bloodtest to find out if she has cushings or EMS or anything else of that nature.

has anyone had these things done? how useful are they? how much did you have to pay (roughly?). what kind of blood test is it? and how does it differ from your bog standard kidney/liver/protein/whatnot blood test?

Julia
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notpoodle

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uhm, bump!

i went to a lecture/talk thing on lami/cushings/EMS last night. interestingly, they said that these blood tests are not all that reliable and not at all straight forward because there is hardly ever a simple yes/no answer :confused:

this is all very confusing ...

Julia
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HarveyDales

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I've just had my horse blood tested for Cushings/EMS and the vet did say it wouldn't be a simple black and white answer. There is a Yahoo "themetabolichorse" group where you can find a lot of information on this subject. I joined recently and have learned a lot......
 

notpoodle

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thanks for that, that group sounds very interesting :)

im a bit worried that the blood test(s) are going to cause even more confusion :eek: nothing ever seems to be blackandwhite with my pony! eg she has mysterious asthma as well ... blood tests, lungs scoped etc and still no conclusion as to where thi s is coming from :eek:

Juilia
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HarveyDales

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Mmmm, I know how you feel, you have enough confusion as it is! My horse is similar in that he has suffered no end of allergies and sensitivites to all sorts of things - he is a seasonal head shaker, gets strange skin reactions, is super sensitive in all sorts of ways etc. My personal opinion (and it is just my opinion based only on my horse) is that there is a link between all of these things and EMS. Doesn't really help me manage him though as there are so many things that seem to trigger another lami flare up.
 

artemis

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I had a blood test done for cushings about 4 years ago. It cost about £120 then. Since putting him on hormonise & controlling his sugar intake he has been laminitis free. (fingers & toes crossed)
 

HarveyDales

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This has been going on for 8 years now and he is a 26 year old retired horse but I did ride him up to 5 years ago. It has been very much trial and error finding what management system suits him best.

He is in a huge (12ftx30ft) stable with rubber matting and a small, thick aubiose bed at one end. So long as he doesn't have laminitis, he gets around 5-7 hours out grazing in a small paddock. He is able to touch/have contact with his other field mates from his stable as it backs onto the field shelter and so is very content. He can see the others at all times.

He is barefoot now but I use hoof boots for turn out when the ground is bad. Feed - only out own meadow hay, some Hi Fi Senior with topspec antilam and extra Yea-sacc. I rarely worm now as this can set his lami off but I do worm counts and they have always come back with the lowest level. I try and keep all stress to the absolute minimum. Anything that worries him, gives him the runs and then he's at risk of laminitis. Any changes I have to make, I try and do very gradually. While he is still happy and enjoying life, I will continue like this. I did try homeopathy for his skin/allergy problems and it did seem to work.

I am about to try him on Vitex, which is similar to Hormonise I think.
 

artemis

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I always have my hay tested to see how much sugar is in it. I soak it to leach out the sugar & only feed low sugar feeds such as speedibeet. Check, some of the senior feeds have a very high sugar content.
I also restrict grazing in the growing months.
 

martini55

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I had them done in Oct/Nov. First day they came out and took a straight-forwards sample (to give resting levels of ACTH, cortisol etc. but we were also checking liver function and a whole load of other things too incase anything else was going on.). That was around £100. We also did the dex suppression test (so more money on top of what was already paid, can't remember how much exactly), which required another visit and another blood sample to be taken. It was clear from these that Martini was suffering from cushings as cortisol was sky high and remained high after the suppression test (it should have gone to 0).

Not everyone goes for the dex suppression test as there is a risk of laminitis with it. But I trusted my vet and he said the risk was very low and in Martini's case was worth doing.
 

Skippys Mum

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I had them done in Oct/Nov. First day they came out and took a straight-forwards sample (to give resting levels of ACTH, cortisol etc. but we were also checking liver function and a whole load of other things too incase anything else was going on.). That was around £100. We also did the dex suppression test (so more money on top of what was already paid, can't remember how much exactly), which required another visit and another blood sample to be taken. It was clear from these that Martini was suffering from cushings as cortisol was sky high and remained high after the suppression test (it should have gone to 0).

Not everyone goes for the dex suppression test as there is a risk of laminitis with it. But I trusted my vet and he said the risk was very low and in Martini's case was worth doing.


I had all these test done with Torchy. Well over £300 later and a pinpricked pony I still had no conclusive diagnosis. Vet feels there may be some liver issues but this pony has every classic cushings symptom out!

As I had no conclusion, it was decided just to manage his symptoms so he has restricted grazing (and a muzzle sometimes - its on today, I take no chances). He NEVER gets out on even chilly grass let alone frosted (and I've been known to get him as far as the field gate and turn around and put him back in). He has a full clip in the winter (and part of the summer!!) and I rug accordingly as its the only way I can control his body temperature and stop him sweating.

I actually have more bother with the laminitis during the winter than in the summer. Its harder to cope with in the winter as I cannot put him in the big field but the wee starvation paddocks flood so he ends up in the arena quite a lot.

I am starting to get a handle on how to deal with it and hopefully I will be able to ensure him a happy life. Incidentally, he is a 9hh shetland (with an amazing winter wardrobe!!!!)
 

notpoodle

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vet came up again today, i asked about the cushings and EMS tests, but decided against it because the results are not all that reliable and the test where they give her steroids is out of the question due to her lami issues.

she's heaps better, but has to be off grass for another two weeks and i have to exercise her in the school somehow. the latter will probably be lunging because im not sure i want to get on her when she's been cooped up for two weeks :eek:

Julia
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