Re: Help for a friend

merlin5clougher <clougher@...>

--- In EquineCushings@..., "Goudreauc" <claudine.goudreau@...> wrote:

A friend of mine have an intersting problem. I can't resolve and I need some idea. She have 4 horses that became founder (not just laminitis) at her barn. She, the vet and me doesn't find why.
Hi, Claudine - Welcome to the list! Your English is just fine - no worries.

Your friend does indeed have quite a problem. I see you have ruled out black walnut. Another potential toxic plant is hoary alyssum (Berteroa incana), but it usually also causes swelling and other problems along with the laminitis. Still, it can't hurt to look for that as well.

What is fed to the horses at the barn? What hay type, what supplements, and so on? How old were the horses? The fact that the Warmblood had a problem is very significant, as they are not generally an IR prone breed.

We approach laminitis/founder, Cushings, and Insulin Resistance by Diagnosis, Diet, Trim and Exercise. The protocol is basically quite simple and do-able, but it is definitely new information to most horse owners.

DIAGNOSIS: We recommend an eACTH test (endogenous ACTH) for diagnosing PPID(Cushings). This is a single blood pull, into the purple-topped plasma EDTA tube. The blood requires special handling: see this file for full instructions:

Aim for early in the week in a quiet barn. At the same time, pull blood for insulin and glucose - these go into a serum separator or red-topped tube. The horse should be NON-fasting. Feed low sugar/starch hay only, up until blood test time. No grain, sugary treats or pasture. We recommend sending to Cornell, or to Guelph University, in your case. A thyroid panel is helpful for establishing a baseline but not critical. IR is a type of metabolism, not a disease. PPID is a problem in the pituitary that causes excess production of ACTH which drives excess production of cortisol. DO NOT DO THE DEXAMETHASONE SUPPRESSION TEST! This is the test that vets commonly like to use to diagnose Cushings; it involves taking blood, then injecting dexamethasone, (a steroid), then taking blood again some hours later. Injecting dexamethasone can push a pre-laminitic horse over the edge into frank laminitis.

DIET: Low sugar/starch/fat. Until you can get your hay analysed, use the emergency diet you were sent when you joined. This includes soaked/drained hay fed at 1.5%-2% of your horse's ideal bodyweight. Weigh the hay before soaking. Also feed 2 oz of fresh ground or stabilized flax, 1-2 oz of loose iodized salt, magnesium, vit E (gelcaps). You can get all this at Walmart or the like. This diet is designed to remove excess sugars from your horses feed until you can analyse your hay and balance minerals to the assay. It is not a long-term solution.

TRIM: Balanced foot with short, backed up toes and low heels. Post photos and the hoof gurus can help you tweak if needed.

EXERCISE: AS able. Never force a laminitic/foundered horse to move. Use boots and pads for comfort if necessary.

More questions than answers for you at this point - hopefully we can get to the bottom of this distressing problem.


Jaini (BVSc) Merlin, Maggie, Gypsy
BC 09
EC Support

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