Re: So happy I found you!
Hello and Welcome! What's you first name, so we can address you by that? What's your mare's name?I have a 23 y.o. Mare diagnosed with Cushing's shortly after purchase, in 2010. She is doing great, only one illness (Cellulitis) in 2011, responded well. She's in full board, I ride her 3 times a week, maintained on Cool and Calm low starch feed x2 day, unlimited hay, 1 flake alfalfa, blue algae, and Prascend. I am looking into retirement for her and would appreciate any tips. We live in Texas.
So glad that she is doing well.
The list philosophy is DDT+E. That stands for Diagnosos, Diet, Trim and Exercise.
Diagnosis: How was your mare diagnosed with Cushing's (aka PPID)? The group recommends an eACTH, preferably sent to Cornell, if you are in the United States. If you visit here: http://www.ecirhorse.com/ you'll find lots of information on testing under the DDT overview tab. Also, some PPID horses can be IR (insulin resistant), so we also recommend that an insulin, glucose and leptin levels are drawn when the ACTH is done. These labs should be done on a NON-fasting horse. Details can be found under that DDT overview tab.
Diet: The group recommends a low sugar, starch (under 10% sugar + starch) and under 6% fat diet. That's grass hay with sugar+starch under 10% and minerals balanced to the hay analysis, plus vitamin E, ground flax seed and Iodized salt as outlined in the emergency diet here: http://www.ecirhorse.com/index.php/ddt-overview/diet . You can send your hay here: http://www.equi-analytical.com/ for analysis. If it comes back greater than 10% sugar + starch, we recommend soaking the hay in hot water for 30 minutes or cold water for one hour to remove up to about 30% of the sugar content. Drain the hay where she can't get to the drained water. IR horses should not receive any grass, grain or treats such as apples, carrots, etc. Until you get your hay analyzed, use the emergency diet This is just to be used until you get your hay analysis back. Also, no red/brown salt/mineral blocks. White salt blocks only. The red/brown salt blocks have iron in them and most IR horses are already iron overloaded. And they also contain minerals, so it would be difficult to balance the minerals in your diet not knowing how much your horse consumes of this and exactly what is in it. Some also contain molasses--a no-no for IR horses. Also, many IR horse do not tolerate alfalfa. Is that Wellness Calm and Cool that your are feeding? There are not many "bagged" feeds that are appropriate for IR horses. I am not familiar with this feed so will let someone else address it.
Trim: So important, but a proper trim is often the last thing to fall into place. It's heels lowered and toes back, so that the hoof capsule closely hugs the coffin bone. You can join our sister site EChoof and post pictures of your mare's feet and one of the hoof gurus can take a look and tell you if you have a proper trim in place and will make recommendations for you or your farrier/trimmer. There is a file there that explains how to take hoof pictures. And here's another good site that shows how take them: http://www.all-natural-horse-care.com/good-hoof-photos.html
Exercise: The best IR buster there is, so it's great that you are able to ride her 3x/week! Even after you "retire" her she will still need exercise to stay in shape and not become IR if she isn't already. You'll know that when you get your labs back.
You'll have lots of questions--just ask. We're here to help! There's lots of great info in the files so that should keep you busy reading for awhile! We ask that you sign your name (first is fine), the date you joined and your general location, like in my signature below whenever you post.
Maggie, Chancey and Spiral in VA
EC Primary Response