I am still new to this Cushings thing! My 13 year old Fjord mare, Rhoda, was diagnosed
with Cushings about 2 months ago. She had (and still has) a cresty neck, a big belly, and
had lost muscle on her topline. She was slighty laminitic when tested and is ok on that
front now and her belly is less prominent. Her ACTH value 2 months ago was 69.9 pg/ml
(9-35 is normal) and her insulin and thyroid were all normal. I notice she was not tested
for glucose (hmm).
She's been on 1 cc Pergolide for about a month and gets 10 lbs grassy hay (untested yet),
2 lbs CarbSafe, 4 scoops of Quiessence, and was out on a very poor pasture with a grazing
muzzle 12 hrs/day. On this regimen she gained some weight (which she needed -- she's
at 880 now)). All this ok'ed by the vet.
She's always seems a little stiff and short-gaited when I first take her out, but she usually
warms up, relaxes and stretches, and is a very willing and sweet mare. The last two weeks,
however, she's been very stiff, especially in the hind end. She seems so uncomfortable
that she is reluctant to trot on the lunge (VERY unlike her) and her crest is bigger again. I
am currently boarding her and the stable owner (although well-meaning) is resistant to
change and extra work.
I've reduced her CarbSafe, upped her Quiessence, and taken her out of the pasture
completely. The farrier comes out next week and I'm going to see what he thinks about
her gait. In the meantime, is stiffness and shortened gait a symptom of Cushings?? I
seem to recall that it can be. I am reluctant to ride her while she seems uncomfortable,
but she loves to get out and about. She has "slipped" or something (couldn't see while
riding) in the back twice and I think this is related to what's happening to her gait.
Soaking hay (or beet pulp) is out of the question as she is boarded at a small home farm
and they won't do that. I am having the hay tested ASAP and soon will have her home
where I can keep an eye on her feeding myself. I am also worried the Pergolide has past
its prime (although the vet swears the oil suspension is good for more than 2 months).
P.S. Thank you to all of you who responded last time! I have heard wonderful things
about this group and am looking forward to making the best situation I can for this sweet
horse with all of your advice.