Re: Advice on ? for vet.

Makyla Waters <twolegged@...>

Linda & List - I just wanted to share my latest realization about my horse
who was recently diagnosed as early Cushings because of his long hair in the
winter, loss of weight and muscle, fat patches, and his excessive
drinking/urinating. I started to use a new supplement in January and
noticed that my horse started to use his salt block and his free choice
minerals for the first time in 12 months. It wasn't excessive, so I just
thought this new supplement maybe doesn't meet his needs completely and I
liked that he could supplement what he needed. Maybe my old supplement had
too much of some things, I thought. Well, then he started to warm up
slower, lose weight, and then actually slightly lame at first of the ride.
After x-rays, my vet said to put him on bute and work him as his one hock
had serious arthritic changes. This was now early April and since he had
lost so much weight on only timothy hay, I started adding alfalfa and oat to
his diet again (had stopped over the winter and thought the weight loss was
related to the grass hay). I also started giving him this new supplement
twice as recommended since I thought he now needed more (I had only been
giving him 1/2 of their recommendations since he wasn't in hard work.)
Within ten days he started literally attacking his salt block, drinking and
urinating ALOT! I thought it may have been related to the bute or alfalfa,
never considered the supplement. Well...

The vet came out and said he looked Cushings. Blood work was inconclusive.
I immediately took him off the bute and A&M (to get him to eat the bute).
Well I had bagged up the last of the new supplement with the A&M, so I ended
up also taking him off the supplement. Well, he's completely turned
around - weight gain, not lame (no bute), drinking normally. I thought it
was the pergolide I put him on for the Cushings. But... last week I gave
him some A&M with the new supplement (he was refusing his grain - turns out
he didn't like the Grand Flex) and he immediately drank down his very large
water barrel and went for the salt again! Just give him A&M w/o supplement
and no reaction! I am now positive that the new supplement threw his whole
system off - weight loss, joint pain (I had also noticed that he was chewing
more carefully as if his jaw hurt him), salt intake, drinking excessively.
Admittedly he shows signs of early Cushings with his long hair coat in the
winter and is the last to shed out in the barn. I've been trying to talk to
the vet that makes this new supplement to find out if something in there was
bad for a Cushings type horse. Or was it just the supplement was
unbalanced? I don't know at this point. It's just amazing since his x-rays
do show serious changes, yet now he's completely sound! Just the imbalance
in his body!

All this to say - I'd ask your vet about your horse's overall diet and
nutrition. Are there other signs in his blood work that might indicate an
imbalance? (My horse's blood work showed high calcium before I added the
alfalfa back to his diet. Vet just thought it may have been a lab mistake.
Now I wonder...) Since Cushings issues are started by an imbalance in the
pituitary gland (which allows the tumor to start)and since this gland is
considered the master gland of the body, it can throw so many other things
off, like the thyroid.

I would also ask if this new vet would contact your old vet to get their
records so they can compare them to now. May release them to the new vet
rather than to you - although this makes me very mad as well as their
comments to you!

Hope this gives you some things to think about - good luck! Tell us a
little more about your horse before the first diagnosis. Had you been
riding him? What made the first vet think your horse was so sick? Maybe
there's more clues there...

Take care, Makyla & 4-legged friends

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