Cushings - artificial daylight hours - UPDATE

Bodshi

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I had the vet to do repeat bloods for Cushings yesterday as Raf's dose was increased by half a tablet following his annual test in October and the vet advised to re-check at the end of the year. Yesterday's vet advised me to rig up a light for Raf to be on for 12 hours a day to trick his body into thinking it's spring. He's in the far end stable in a barn and gets no turn out at the moment because we have to keep his legs dry. He gets turn out in the indoor school (same barn as his stable) but again it's quite gloomy. The vet said studies have shown it's beneficial for Cushings horses to have an artificial light source if natural isn't available, to mimic the amount of daylight hours they would be exposed to in Spring/Summer. It doesn't have to be a powerful lamp, 40 watts will do, but should be on between 10 and 12 hours a day. It's important that he also has a 'winter', so up to the end of the year he doesn't need it, but from January until he gets turned out again in Spring he should have the light. Similar to using artificial light to bring stabled broodmares into season.

I thought it was interesting and just wanted to share :) I have another question on a separate topic but I'll post that on a different thread.
 

Kite_Rider

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Very interesting, I wonder if it's a bit like humans and SAD lights, amazing really what our bodies get up to, fingers crossed it works for Raf in helping with his Cushings.
 
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Trewsers

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Oh how interesting is that then! Maybe I should get something for Chloe. We had her re tested not long ago and everything was fine, vet said no adjustment needed. But that is really interesting about the light - it can't hurt to try it. I hope it is of benefit to Raf.
 
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Trewsers

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Very interesting, I wonder if it's a bit like humans and SAD lights, amazing really what our bodies get up to, fingers crossed it works for Raf in helping with his Cushings.

That's what I was thinking - about those SAD lights. I keep saying I'm going to try one. I wonder if Mr T and me would benefit. We both get really down at this time of year. I've just ordered some vitamin d tabs from Tesco too! Sorry, waffling on a bit there........................:rolleyes:
 
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Kite_Rider

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That's what I was thinking - about those SAD lights. I keep saying I'm going to try one. I wonder if Mr T and me would benefit. We both get really down at this time of year. I've just ordered some vitamin d tabs from Tesco too! Sorry, waffling on a bit there........................:rolleyes:

I have one BUT so far this year I've not needed to use it, although it's usually end of Jan, early Feb it hits me. I'm not sure if it's a placebo effect, or if it genuinely works, but it works for me so I don't really care either way.
 
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Bodshi

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I asked the vet if it needed to be a SAD light but he said not - just a source of light to mimic the lengthening of daylight hours. Lucky, as I think YO would have to up my livery if I wanted an expensive lamp running for 12 hours a day lol.
 

Kite_Rider

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That isn't what I meant @Bodshi I was just musing I guess about how our and our horses bodies are quite amazing in how they function, but I agree, I can't imagine any YO would be happy about having to stick up a SAD light for 12 hours a day. :)
 
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chunky monkey

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We use the heat lamps they use on pigs. I have several that we use at lambing time. But we also have one in our garage that is on a thermostat. So if gets cold and the temperature drops it switches on. It might be worth considering as you then simulate light and heat.
 
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Bodshi

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We use the heat lamps they use on pigs. I have several that we use at lambing time. But we also have one in our garage that is on a thermostat. So if gets cold and the temperature drops it switches on. It might be worth considering as you then simulate light and heat.

I don't think heat is a factor though, just length of daylight hours. Plus heat lamps sound expensive. But I've now got visions of a sty full of piglets under a cosy heat lamp and it's such a lovely image :) I can imagine Raf's horrified face if I asked him to share with piggies though ... sorry, I think I'm half delirious with all the effort of Christmas lol.
 

Bodshi

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We rigged up the light on Saturday just gone (7 am to 7 pm). It's not very bright so I didn't have much faith that it would make any difference but the vet said it didn't need to be bright so I thought we'd try it and up the luminaires later if it necessary. On Sunday morning Raf was very 'bright' in his stable - bucking and carrying on and swinging his head about, biting at his legs and body. It's a thing he does when he's excited or feeling fresh (like when we had him on micronized linseed). Surely that was coincidence though, and when I took him out for a hack he was pretty normal, only a little spookier than average maybe.

Today I've had a lesson in which he was very forward, but worked really well, I was really pleased with him. Then I took him for a short hack to 'cool off' ended up spooking and prancing all round one field when we were supposed to be walking, doing his funny speedy four beat pace all the way home, with lots of head tossing and a few humps. Since he had so much energy I decided to cut off before we got home and take him for a canter on a stubble strip - he took off with me, bucked when I tried to check him and we settled on a steady gallop, but he would dearly have loved to go faster. He had so much energy today he felt amazing - and I felt a little worried about the next time I take him hunting. We jogged all the way home down the track - I daren't turn round and attempt to go back down the field towards home.

Could it be the light? Does he think it's Spring? Is it actually the length of daylight hours that triggers the 'spring feeling' rather than the new grass?

I don't actually know what to expect from the light - I never thought to ask the vet what the practical implications would be. The vet just said research has shown that it benefits Cushings horses and I was so hung up on the 'benefit' part that I didn't get any further, ie how?

Maybe his medication could be reduced - the vet did mention that might be possible after the seasonal rise in ACTH, which is why I was told he needed retesting at the end of the year. As yet I haven't heard from the vet with the results, but when he rings I'll be asking about the light too.
 

Huggy

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We rigged up the light on Saturday just gone (7 am to 7 pm). It's not very bright so I didn't have much faith that it would make any difference but the vet said it didn't need to be bright so I thought we'd try it and up the luminaires later if it necessary. On Sunday morning Raf was very 'bright' in his stable - bucking and carrying on and swinging his head about, biting at his legs and body. It's a thing he does when he's excited or feeling fresh (like when we had him on micronized linseed). Surely that was coincidence though, and when I took him out for a hack he was pretty normal, only a little spookier than average maybe.

Today I've had a lesson in which he was very forward, but worked really well, I was really pleased with him. Then I took him for a short hack to 'cool off' ended up spooking and prancing all round one field when we were supposed to be walking, doing his funny speedy four beat pace all the way home, with lots of head tossing and a few humps. Since he had so much energy I decided to cut off before we got home and take him for a canter on a stubble strip - he took off with me, bucked when I tried to check him and we settled on a steady gallop, but he would dearly have loved to go faster. He had so much energy today he felt amazing - and I felt a little worried about the next time I take him hunting. We jogged all the way home down the track - I daren't turn round and attempt to go back down the field towards home.

Could it be the light? Does he think it's Spring? Is it actually the length of daylight hours that triggers the 'spring feeling' rather than the new grass?

I don't actually know what to expect from the light - I never thought to ask the vet what the practical implications would be. The vet just said research has shown that it benefits Cushings horses and I was so hung up on the 'benefit' part that I didn't get any further, ie how?

Maybe his medication could be reduced - the vet did mention that might be possible after the seasonal rise in ACTH, which is why I was told he needed retesting at the end of the year. As yet I haven't heard from the vet with the results, but when he rings I'll be asking about the light too.
Oh god - you're brave! Steady gallop? :eek:
 
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Kite_Rider

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Well it sounds like it could well be the light that's working, as @Jessey said, the light makes a huge difference to my energy levels so can well see how it might affect horses too, having said that Belle seems a bit full of herself this last week or so, even the farrier commented last night on how good she feels just shoeing her. I put hers down to having a bit of grass growth and some milder weather.
If it is the light lets hope he continues to feel so good, what a simple solution and a very useful bit of information to anyone with a cushings horse I imagine.
 
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Trewsers

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We rigged up the light on Saturday just gone (7 am to 7 pm). It's not very bright so I didn't have much faith that it would make any difference but the vet said it didn't need to be bright so I thought we'd try it and up the luminaires later if it necessary. On Sunday morning Raf was very 'bright' in his stable - bucking and carrying on and swinging his head about, biting at his legs and body. It's a thing he does when he's excited or feeling fresh (like when we had him on micronized linseed). Surely that was coincidence though, and when I took him out for a hack he was pretty normal, only a little spookier than average maybe.

Today I've had a lesson in which he was very forward, but worked really well, I was really pleased with him. Then I took him for a short hack to 'cool off' ended up spooking and prancing all round one field when we were supposed to be walking, doing his funny speedy four beat pace all the way home, with lots of head tossing and a few humps. Since he had so much energy I decided to cut off before we got home and take him for a canter on a stubble strip - he took off with me, bucked when I tried to check him and we settled on a steady gallop, but he would dearly have loved to go faster. He had so much energy today he felt amazing - and I felt a little worried about the next time I take him hunting. We jogged all the way home down the track - I daren't turn round and attempt to go back down the field towards home.

Could it be the light? Does he think it's Spring? Is it actually the length of daylight hours that triggers the 'spring feeling' rather than the new grass?

I don't actually know what to expect from the light - I never thought to ask the vet what the practical implications would be. The vet just said research has shown that it benefits Cushings horses and I was so hung up on the 'benefit' part that I didn't get any further, ie how?

Maybe his medication could be reduced - the vet did mention that might be possible after the seasonal rise in ACTH, which is why I was told he needed retesting at the end of the year. As yet I haven't heard from the vet with the results, but when he rings I'll be asking about the light too.

Wow go Raf! That's a great update. I am now thinking of getting one for Chloe! I'd love to see the old bird with more life in her!!!
 
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Bodshi

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Well it sounds like it could well be the light that's working, as @Jessey said, the light makes a huge difference to my energy levels so can well see how it might affect horses too, having said that Belle seems a bit full of herself this last week or so, even the farrier commented last night on how good she feels just shoeing her. I put hers down to having a bit of grass growth and some milder weather.
If it is the light lets hope he continues to feel so good, what a simple solution and a very useful bit of information to anyone with a cushings horse I imagine.

I was thinking about the whole human/light/SAD scenario. In Raf's case he just has a normal light to extend the hours he spends in the light. Humans already do this, we control the hours we spend in the light with the flick of a switch - usually from the moment we wake up until we go to sleep at night. I wonder if we'd be different if we lived our lives according to natural daylight hours, like maybe very sleepy and quiet in winter? And then there's the whole SAD thing, I'm not entirely sure what SAD lights give you that normal artificial lighting doesn't, but obviously it must be something other than just lumens.

Definitely not the grass causing this behaviour with Raf as he doesn't get any turn out at the moment, although he might do soon if the ground continues to dry up like it is doing (fingers crossed). Glad it's working for Belle though. There's nothing like Dr Green, as my YO likes to say :D

So @Bodshi it's just a normal light?

Yes, it's a very low wattage thing - my OH works for a company that sells lamps amongst other things so he reckons to be a bit of an expert. This particular lamp uses very little power in relation to the number of lumens it produces. To be honest I've felt a bit sorry for Raf when I've been down on an evening and all the horses are peacefully munching in the dark except for little Raf, down the far end with his lonely light shining on him. I feel like I'm keeping him up :p
 
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Kite_Rider

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SAD lights I think just emit very bright light, so you don’t need to use it for extended periods, instead of having to have it on for several hours you maybe use it for just 30 mins a day, they are measured in lux not lumens, but I’ve no idea what the difference is.
 
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