Re: Digest Number 6

Carla Davis <lmdavis@...>

Your mare sounds rather suspicious for Cushings. I'd have her checked. There
are several different tests and many opinions on which is the most accurate
one for diagnosing. Cushings is difficult to be "absolutely" sure of because
we can't look into their heads and actually see any tumors.

My horse, the 21 yr. old Swedish gelding referred to in previous letters on
this list, had several outward symptoms that I was dealing with. After
dealing with a bad respiratory "bug", several skin infections and an
extremely bad case of thrush (which took three months to clear up) my vet
suggested that we should check for Cushings. His first approach was to check
the level of ACTH in my horses blood.

My vet (and a few others in our area) believe that if the ACTH is high then
thats pretty indicative of a pituitary problem. IF the ACTH had come back
normal then the next step would be to do a Dexamethasone suppression test.
My horse's ACTH was so far off the scale that there was no reason to go

One thing to be aware of is that quite often people will check the thyroid
and diagnose a problem there. Often the thyroid problems are actually
related to Cushings and treating only for thyroid is not enough.

Cushings is a pretty manageble disease if the horse responds to the
medication. The earlier the diagnoses the more likely you are to have good
results with the medication. Just remember that you are only treating the
symptoms. There is no way to treat the actual tumor.

Good luck and please share anymore info. you find. We all appreciate any
input we can get.

-----Original Message-----
Behalf Of EquineCushings@...
Sent: Sunday, February 20, 2000 2:14 AM
To: EquineCushings@...
Subject: [EquineCushings] Digest Number 6

Topics in today's digest:

Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2000 06:25:15 -0800 (PST)
From: Donna Mire <dmire@...>
Subject: Lady's cresty neck???

I had a pre-purchase exam done on a mare that has what I've been hearing
call a 'cresty neck'. I am looking for more information about this. I've
told it is a symptom of a thyroid problem; but then I've also read
information that it is not but rather it is seen in horses that have a
pituitary or endocrine problem (like Cushings syndrome).

I'd be interested in hearing about either or other reasons you may have had
experience with.

Lady is a 16 year old MFT and has had this for about 10 years. The 'extra'
along the crest appears to be fat. Although the vet didn't seem to think she
was over weight anywhere else and wasn't too concerned about it. She has
had any signs of founder either. Other than her neck, my vet who did the
pre-purchase exam said she was pretty clean.

What type of tests can be run to see if she has Cushings disease?

The owner mentioned a few other things about Lady. She drinks alot of
takes longer to shed than her stablemate (but does shed out completely in
summer), had been treated in the past for a chronic cough. I found the
following information about this in an article at

"Even before that characteristic hair coat appears, a horse with Cushing's
syndrome might demonstrate a host of other symptoms that are sometimes
overlooked or chalked up to old age.

The first symptom to appear generally is polydipsia (excessive thirst)
with polyuria (excessive urination)--which might go unnoticed if the animal
kept outside rather than stabled. Horses might go through as much as 80
of water a day instead of the normal 20 to 30 liters. Other symptoms can
a swaybacked or potbellied appearance, increased appetite (generally with no
corresponding weight gain), loss of muscle over the topline, and chronic
laminitis. Horses with Cushing's syndrome become more susceptible to
and infections due to a compromised immune system. They frequently suffer
bouts of respiratory disease, skin infections, foot abscesses, buccal
ulcers and periodontal disease, and even infections of the tendon sheath or
joints. Wound healing is also noticeably slowed. ...

A hypothyroid horse often exhibits some of the same signs as a Cushing's
victim--delayed shedding of the winter coat, lethargy, retarded growth, and
healing. Unlike a Cushingoid horse, however, he will usually suffer a
in appetite, but gain weight nonetheless, and he often develops a
characteristically thick, cresty neck. (Cushing's horses will often look
potbellied, but rarely gain much weight.) And while Cushing's horses usually
remain quite bright in attitude, a hypothyroid horse will strike one as

Thanks Donna

Join to automatically receive all group messages.