Re: Veterinary Help With Cushings

Mandy Woods

Hi Judy,
The best thing you can do right now is send your local vets to this website.  It is our educational site.   Many vets confuse the two conditions,   Cushings with Insulin Resistance  because some of the symptoms overlap!   We can help you with your horse and teach you how to help your vets!  Send them here:
We would like  you to join the ECH8 group and fill out the questionnaire so the volunteers can see the ‘’big picture’’!   Tell us every little detail you can recall – everything he eats, how much,  treatments etc.   The details are needed!   It’s the same thing as you going to a doctor and getting a questionnaire to help them diagnosis you.     Which brings me to the DDT/E ‘s .   These abbreviations mean DIAGNOSIS,   DIET,   TRIM  and EXERCISE.   This is our philosophy and it works!   You have a DX of Cushings aka PPID so the next step is getting your medication for your boy.   If you do not medicate him the tumor will grow and he will become laminitic.   Please avoid laminitis at all cost.  
You say your Foxtrotter is Cushings diagnosed by the Dex Suppression test.  Lucky boy that he didn’t founder from that.   It has the potential to push a close to the edge horse over into founder.   The safest test is the eACTH test which is a single blood pull.   Did one of your vets prescribe pergolide for him?   The compounded pergolide works well.   There is also a tablet called Prascend that is the very same thing at 10 times the cost.   Many of us use the compounded pergolide at a fraction of the cost.  You can get one mg for about $25  a month. 
Cushings is a benign brain tumor that is treated with Pergolide.     Insulin Resistance is a metabolic condition managed by DIET.  Foxtrotters are often IR so your boy could possibly be both.     Is he foot sore now?  What made you suspect Cushings?    What you should do to day is start the Temporary Emergency DIET.   This is safe for any horse and it is the building blocks of a custom DIET that he will benefit from.   If he is IR,   this could be very critical.   Pull him off pasture today.  Soak his grass hay for one hour pouring the water where he cant get to it.  This actually reduces the sugar in the hay up to 30%.   Then you will add these minerals ~~ vitaminE,  Loose iodized table salt,  freshly ground flax seed and magnesium.  The recipe is in the Start Here file on this site and in the IR Files at  You can get everything at Walmart!
   Judy,   it really seems like a lot to do but it gets easier,   we can show you lots of ‘short cuts’  and help you balance his minerals.   That is your goal ~ to have your hay analyzed so you know exactly what  you are feeding him~ then balance  your minerals to that assay.   It becomes second nature and you might be surprised how many members are in Missouri to help you !   This diet supports the Cushings horse as well but it is critical for an IR horse.
TRIM is a balanced foot with toes backed from the top and heels lowered.   Boots and pads can make him feel comfortable if needed.  Bed him deeply with sawdust or shavings.   Keep  him in a drylot and let him move at liberty **IF** he is NOT on any NSAIDS (bute etc). 
EXERCISE is great to improve IR but never force a laminitic horse to move. Hand walking for 5 minutes a day is a great start.
Please read the files and start a journal on your boy.  You have lots of help here.   Just post a question!  There are members all over the world.
Your question ‘’can anyone recommend a vet’’ may not be needed.  We’ll coach you! 
Here are some links you will need:    ~~  this is our calculator ~ just plug in your numbers and units ~~ this is where you’ll send your hay sample 
Mandy in VA
EC Primary Response
OCT 2003

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