Re: how often to restest blood
I'm not the best at following discussions so if someone has mentioned this forgive me. I think you are asking about pergolide? Have you read Pergolide 101?
"Target Dose" is a dosage you are working towards when tapering up (or down). Tapering is used when first starting pergolide or making big leaps in dosages. (Big is relative depending individual sensitivity to pergolide and dosage changes.)
You know you are at the right dosage when Luxy's ACTH tests within a lab's normal levels and she is not exhibiting physical symptoms. Everything else is a guessing game.
Even with regular blood testing knowing the right dosages isn't as black and white as a single test resulting within normals. You test, look at the results with your vet, set a target dosage and then test again to see if the target guess worked. Of course time plays into this because ACTH rises and falls seasonally. A dosage that is right for say, November 2014 will not be right for August 2015 .
The way I see it, ACTH changes are similar coat changes for seasons. If observed closely a coat never stops changing for long. It takes months of shedding to go from winter to summer. Check your brushes. A around Christmas and just before, there will be no hairs coming out. After the big New Years Eve bash, or a few days after, there will be a few hairs being left in your brush. This collection will wax and wane until the big purge in true spring. Then it stops as summer is here. But then in early August you'll start noticing the short summer hairs blowing in the breeze as you brush.
I can't answer your too big a dose question, because I've not experienced that. Perhaps others may address this.
I can say that technically, a lack of tapering could be considered "too big" a dose - in the short term at least. A commonly seen issue with pergolide is usually seen when starting pergolide. Equines often exhibit what the ECIR calls "veil". They become a little depressed and uninterested in food. With tapering up to a "target" dosage when the horse first goes on pergolide this veil should be minimal. A product called APF (search the Files for "apf" and the messages for "pergolide veil" ) helps prevent the veil also.
The right amount of pergolide is all about monitoring the ACTH, carefully administering pergolide (tapering and giving enough pergolide) to maintain a normal ACTH.
As a the owner of a mare who had PPID for 10 years, I can tell you the more you test ACTH the better. ACTH tests are true, unbiased "markers" that indicate if more pergolide is needed, but when seen collectively (your case history) show how controlled the disease is. It is how well you understand the disease and how it works - that will help you and your vet manage the dosage and thus the disease. Luxy of course will be the big winner from your efforts.
Hang in there Julia.
- LeeAnne, Newmarket, Ontario
ECIR Archivist 03/2004
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