Re: Long, thick coat or IR/Chshings???

merlin5clougher <janieclougher@...>

Hi, Amie -

Well, there you are, between a rock and a hard place. Even if you start Moonlight on the pergolide, you will need to test in order to make sure the dose is the correct one. As Mandy says, the only way to know is to test. Unfortunately, symptoms for Cushings vary so widely between different horses, and at different stages of the disease, that assuming she does have Cushings because of the coat, or that she does not have Cushings because of lack of other signs, just isn't accurate. In some horses, the ONLY sign of Cushings (besides abnormal bloodwork) is fall laminitis, which one wants to avoid at all costs.

With this history, of what might or might not be a normal coat variation, it is really impossible to say whether or not Moonlight needs pergolide. If you feel she really needs it, and you can test in the fall, then the starting dose per average horse is 1.0 mg. But it is important to taper the dose upwards from .25 mg, as in: give .25 mg for 3 days; then .5 mg for 3 days; then .75 mg for 3 days; then you are up to a starting dose of 1 mg, which might or might not be adequate (need to test 3 weeks after reaching your target dose) If you start right off at 1 mg, you might get the "pergolide veil", which is a transient lethargy and loss of appetite. Giving APF while tapering up the pergolide dose also helps reduce incidence of the pergolide veil.

More info here, in "Pergolide 101" (near the bottom of the list):

If money were no object, I would say absolutely test now for ACTH, insulin, glucose and leptin; then repeat in mid to late August. If you can only test once, then wait for August, which gives you some time to convince your vet that you really, truly want it done; or to find another vet.

Just a caveat: if your vet believes testing is all hooey, make sure you oversee the blood handling yourself. There is nothing more frustrating than to spend a bunch of money on blood testing, then find out the results are useless because the blood sat in the car for a few hours, or sat out on the bench in the clinic for a day.

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EC moderator

I want to belive that she does not have Cushings- but can not be sure without the bloodwork- which the vet did not seem willing to do. If she had Cushings- wouldn't there be some symptoms other than the heavy coat??? I asked the vet about getting Pergolide and he initially said he would not bother. I pressed him the next day and he said he would fax in whatever prescription I needed. But, the question remains- do I need it? And if so, how much?

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