Cushings, proof you can move on from the diagnosis

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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I've been looking back at some pictures today and I'm super proud of my girly and wanted to share as last year she was a mess, eventually she was diagnosed with cushings, we moved yards for her as her feet were constantly getting bruised due to the footing at the old place, and since then she has come on in leaps and bounds. She was 10 at diagnosis and didn't have any typical cushings symptoms, she was however very stressy, nervous, spooky and ready to kick the crap out of anything or anyone that dared venture in her paddock, it was so bad I had to stop the YO from even going in to feed, it had to be done over the fence.

Pictures speak a thousand words (and I know you all love them)
Summer 2011, a bit on the porky side on 8 acres :eek:
image.jpg
Feb 2013, thin and old looking even with free access to hay and lots of feed (she had just been washed down)
image.jpg
Jan 2014, getting porky again
image.jpg
2days ago, fit as a flea ready to ride over a hundred miles in a couple of weeks
image.jpg
She lives out, full time on poor pasture, and is being fed twice a day on just a little fast fibre and unmollassed Alfa with some supplements and prasend which I give her at peak risk periods. She's only shod at the moment for our big ride but has done most of the training barefoot. The miles we're riding has shifted the weight I'm sure, but it has defiantly been helped along by her new living environment, I used to ride everyday for an hour, now doing 3 times a week, 2 x 2 hours and one long one. I'm so pleased to have found out she does in fact still have ribs, I haven't seen them (apart from when she was obviously quite poorly) in years! :D
 
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Trewsers

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She looks great and its nice to hear how well she's doing. Our Chloe also has Cushings and is also doing very well with a combo if Prascend daily and an environment we feel she thrives in. There are obviously different levels of the disease and at 24 I thjnk our girl is doing fine. Do you medicate your girl with Prascend at all? She certainly sounds in fine fettle.
 

Cortrasna

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Aug 5, 2009
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My word she does look extremely well - that last piccy is a really good picture to cheer someone up if their horse has recently been diagnosed with Cushings. I am sure it is also down to your excellent management not just the meds. :)
 

Jane&Ziggy

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That is fantastic, what an inspiration to other people with Cushings diagnosed in their horses.

How old is your girly? You should put her in for veterans classes in that condition!
 

Jessey

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She is only 11, early onset/diagnosed cushings, my vet was adamant it wasn't cushings but I had a gut feeling and after 3 visits my vet gave in and ran the test, he was convinced she was just a hormonal red head.
I do hope it can give someone hope that a cushings diagnosis isn't the end of the world in most cases, and it is worth testing young horses if you think it could be. My old boy lived well, well into his 30's with no meds. Jess went from a bit of a wreck back to her fantastic former self where she is a pleasure to be around and ride.
 

sjp1

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Sep 14, 2009
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What made you think it was Cushings and apart from Prascend how do you manage her differently?

Am very interested to know. Friend has just had horse diagnosed with Cushings, he is the apple of her eye, she has owned him since he was 4 and he is now 20 and she is gutted.
 

Jessey

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It really was just a gut feeling, it was something about the way she looked/behaved that I can't put my finger on, then she started dropping weight (she has always been an easy keeper), turned into psycho bitch and she would constantly have bruised feet. The vet thought it was just hormones and being barefoot (actually said he would eat his hat if it was cushings as nothing about her was typical symptoms but I know this mare doesn't do anything typical!) she was in season 11 and a half months of the year, 2 weeks of regumate didn't bring her out of season neither did vaccinating her against her own hormones but she has always been like this and I rarely had issues with her being totally mental (and not for any length of time) and then when she tested positive on hoof testers at the tip of the pedal bone (she wasn't lame just a little sore on stoney ground but I asked farrier to test anyway) I then really pushed the vet to run the ACTH test as in my gut I knew slapping shoes on her wasn't the answer though it probably would have hidden the footyness issue, he finally gave in as the xrays and lameness work ups showed nothing.

I was on a nice yard but the horses had no grass, they lived out 24/7 in just a small dirt/sand paddock (great with fatties) with adlib hay and horses on all 4 sides in other paddocks, I did what everyone told me I was crazy to do, I moved my just diagnosed PPID/high risk lami horse onto grass :eek: I rented 3.5 acres which I have split into 6 paddocks, she has access to a shelter when she wants it but only does when the flys are really bad or its really hot and she is out year round with her boys.

The two major reasons for this move and taking that risk was for better footing/enviroment and less stress. Giving her more stable footing with fewer stones (we are in a very flinty area and the old yard had millions in the sand) and more space to move solved her foot problems in about 3 weeks (even with prasend they continued at the old yard), with continued foot conditioning she did great. Removing the stress was getting her away from so many other horses, this mare is super dominant, she took the metal 5 bar gate that seperated the old YO's mare and her off the hinges twice in the past to kick the crap out of her and broke no end of fence sections kicking at other horses, she doesn't tollerate any mare that challenges her (and only some geldings) and has left 2 mares permenantly scarred, she found the enviroment stressful as the fences stopped her from exerting her will, she had lived here for years happily but suddenly it all seemed too much for her so we changed it.

I plan to use prasend in spring and autumn, she did great off it all winter but in mid march she started to get footy, not sure if it was the soggy field/feet or the cushings kicking in but I put her back on them to be on the safe side. The grass hasn't slowed down growing yet and she will need to go back on it by the end of august for the seasonal rise but hopefully she will get a month or two off it soon, I like to give their body a break where possible as there is indication that over time you have to give ever increasing doses and as she is so young I want to try and delay the increase. Feel free to PM if your friend has any questions, I've read so much information, papers and vets reports in trying to decide how to manage her (and my old gelding before her) and I'm happy to share x
 
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