Harrys' Xrays

Pauline <takarri@...>

For those that are following Harry Ponys' progress(or lack of at this stage)his latest feet Xrays are posted on EC Hoof- (last 2 photos')

Oz aug 07

Seniorita Pony trying to survive

Lydia Lawson

Rita saw the vet. New vet since I am in a new area. I loved her and she seems very knowlegable on IR/metabolic syndrome. Her treatments however are different than a lot of what I have read. I am willing to try since this pony is not responding well at this point, but I am also worried that what I have to do may cause a very unhappy pony and I do not want to decrease her quality of life to the point where her survival is dependant on her suffering.

Although Rita has lost quite a bit of weight since she got off pasture she still has fat deposits in her crest, tail head, shoulders and around her eyes. Vet says she needs to loose 100 lbs and get frankly skinny and underweight to break the cycle of toxic fat. I have to cut her hay to a fraction of what I have been feeding. She is hungry, actually ravanous all the time now even with the larger amount of feed which I know is because of her problem but I imagine that feeling for her will become worse when drastically restricted.

She wants me to put her on Thyro-L supplement and induce an artificial hypertyroidism to help with the rapid weight loss she wants to see.I imagine this will make her feel even more hungry than the diet restriction alone.

She wants her on a pretty high dose of bute for three to four days then tapering down to stop the inflammatory process. She said the low dose I have been using with non bute days between is actually just enough to make her more comfortable but not help significantly with inflammation so really just causing more potential for negative side effects.

She also suggested against bloodwork saying that Rita is too young to worry about Cushings at this point and will deffinitely test out IR based on her appearance and symptoms so in her opinion it is a waste of my money. I agree! She also felt the same way about x-rays at this point. She feels there is obvious rotation and some sinking and that films will not be incredibly useful since there is more I can safely do with the trim at this point. She is very familiar with Pete Rameys methods and approves of what I have done so far and showed me where I could do more. Pretty much exactly what Linda was having me get to. I appreciated her being conservative with my money even though I had made the appointment for x rays and bloodwork and fully expected to do that.

The vet difinitely thought the cottonwood leaves Rita was eating up until recently could have been a big culprit in her decline. Can't say I have seen an improvement since I got her out of that area though. Vet wants me to continue to soak the hay. She said she was not a big fan of beet pulp however didn't have a problem with me feeding it as long as I am keeping the total feed amounts down enough to see obvious and quick weight loss. She said after we get those fat deposits under control and get her feet comfortable to the point where I can exercise her then we can let her weight slowly get back up to a normal point safely while being sure to exercise her routinely. Right now I cannot exercise her due to her foot pain and have even restricted her to a pipe pen so I can keep her away from leaves and sticks from the trees.

So the dilemma is I have a very hungry pony who I can hardly feed who has to be penned up. I feel like I can never turn her out and will always have to be in fear that she might eat something that blows over in the wind. She requires a diet and medications that make it hard for me to leave her in the care of a pet-sitter if I need to go some place leaving me to worry that she will crash while I am gone if she gets the wrong thing. Is this a suitable life for an animal? Am I heading down a path of misery for her or should I try to think this is just temporary and things will improve to the point of a comfortable and happy life for her.

The vet said that these ponies get more sensitive with each episode and harder and harder to manage and seemed to think the only hope for her was to take the risks with the extreme diet restrictions and the medications and see if we can get a new starting point. It sounded like there was not really any alternative in her case. I am feeling like I'm willing to try but then I hate to possibly put her through much discomfort and loose the battle anyway. I wish I could see the future and know what was best for her!

CA Oct 2007

Re: transitioning from soaked hay to dry hay


Both of my horses (at different times) have had to transfer from wet to dry. I just changed how much I soaked it over a period of several days, making sure that they had plenty of access to salt and as much water possible. No problems on this end. I thought of it like changing feed.

If you are changing to a different type of hay, then that can cause gastric upset (my barn does this often). As long as you are using the same hay you were soaking, I *doubt* a problem would crop up without you noticing. Monitor poop consistancy. Fun parts of horse ownership - second only to sheath cleaning a shy horse.

Congrats on the great hay! (And I envy your weather! LOL)

Shannon, Rafiq and Majik
Houston 2009
EC History3:

--- In EquineCushings@..., "prairiezephyr1" <prairiezephyr1@...> wrote:
However, can I just make the switch to dry hay? We have been having 87 degree weather and I don't want to chance that they don't get enough water-even for a few days until they drink enough to compensate. Is there a good way to transition? or I am I just worrying for nothing?

Re: transitioning from soaked hay to dry hay

palomino.1982 <sbaumgardner@...>

Hi Karen,

Great news that your hay tested <10 ESC/Starch.

Are you in the process of having minerals balanced to this hay? Are you giving loose iodized salt with minerals?

Horses drink 8-10 gal ( if not more) of water /day.

They will probably transition fine to the hay- keep an eye on drinking. Added loose salt will entice more water drinking, especially in warm summer weather.

Are you worrying for nothing..............I would say no but always a good thing to be ahead in the game! They do keep us on our toes!

Hope this helps,
EC Support/Primary Response
San Diego 1.07

Re: Boots or shod? (Ontario)

Saucier Kathy

I have heard very good things about a boot called B4's. Bonnie who is an endurance rider was tired of losing boots, losing them, having them rub or wear out so she developed these herself. So they don't have fancy advertising as a self built company. But they come highly recommended by a vet/horse person friend of mine.
Her write up on this page says the most about it:
Kathy S.
Jan 2005

Yahoo messages


Hi Melinda,

I've had problems on and off all day too. As best I can tell it's a Yahoo thing but if you continue to have problems let us know.

I'm heading out the door now to take the dog for a run but will take a look your other message more closely when I get back. I'm glad Cato is doing better.

Barb in western CO
(with Sierra, Libby, Josie the donkey and Lola)
EC List Support Team

Although I am a group member, I don't seem to be able to access files,
messages, etc. since some time this afternoon.

transitioning from soaked hay to dry hay



My new hay tests out at ESC 6.1 and starch .5 (total 6.6). I am VERY happy since I won't have to soak. My question is: My 2 IR geldings are used to soaked hay. I am sure that it is providing a portion of their daily water intake. They seem to be drinking just fine. However, can I just make the switch to dry hay? We have been having 87 degree weather and I don't want to chance that they don't get enough water-even for a few days until they drink enough to compensate. Is there a good way to transition? or I am I just worrying for nothing?


Karen in NW WI
Joe IR 27 TWH 2004
Dakota IR/Cushings/low thyroid/Lymes 16 RMH 2006

Pergolide and mood changes - Jane and Patty

Linda <PapBallou@...>

Hi -

Pergolide is a dopamine agonist - meaning it mimics the effects of dopamine. One *effect* is a feel good property. My grumpy but benevolent herd boss actually began to play gelding games when he started pergolide - the first he had ever done so.

He does have a PPID diagnosis. His problems started when he turned 10 and now 17. But he was always aloof from the others even as a kid.

I think it worthwhile to test for PPID with your mare, but the behavior change in PPID horses tends to be dull and lethargic. She might be absolutely normal with the pergolide being a *chill pill* for lack of a better word!

Please do not do the dex test. A simple ACTH is all that is needed. You also might want to test insulin and glucose while you're at it just to cover all possible metabolic bases.

I don't know that I would test your horse while on pergolide. If you get a normal result, you won't know if it was normal due to the pergolide, or simply the fact that she is normal. Also, in the fall, all horses have a natural rise in ACTH as they prepare for winter. This is yet another factor that could skew your results. You might want to wait to spend the money in the spring when ACTH is naturally at its lowest level.

It will be very interesting if you will share your labs results.

EC Primary Response
West Coast
May 2004

Re: Cushings horse with laminitis; what to do?

Mandy Woods

Welcome to the list. If you read the Files on this list you will have an education light years ahead of vet schools! You will be training your vet on the latest up to date treatments, blood tests, hoof trimming and diets.

First you need a DIAGNOSIS. This is by bloodwork. The eACTH test is what we recommend. This test requires special handling. Read the file "Bloodtesting" to see how to handle it. Then we recommend a NON FASTING Insulin and Glucose. Just feed soaked/drained hay unless you know its under 10% sugar/starch before the test. A Thyroid panel will give you a base line. We recommend Cornell in New York. See if your country can mail 'overnight air' frozen plasma to NY. You may have a lab closer but we dont know how it handles the tests.

Fall laminitis is ususal with Insulin Resistance. There is a seasonal rise which all horses go through starting around August. The ACTH hormone increases and horses that are Cushings need to be protected with more pergolide during this time. The rise lasts approximately 6 months going back to normal around March/April. Each horse is different.
IR is managed by DIET. IF your had lami last fall you should start now preparing for the rise. Until you get your hay analyzed ( to see what the sugar value is, start the Temporary Emergency Diet. Soak his for one hour in cold water, pour off the water where he cant get to it. This reduces the sugar up to 30%. Then when you get your hay analysis back, you will balance your minerals to that assay. IF he's still overweight feed 1.5% his body weight a day in dry hay then soak it. You want to remove him from pasture now. Sugar in grass is high especially during the day. Speedibeet can be your carrier for the minerals/vitamins. The recipe for this diet is in the Start Here file.

TRIM is a balanced foot. Since you have a RF foot that is distorted from a previous founder you will have to find a trimmer willing to learn a new method. Actually ~ barefoot/boots and pads are easier for the horse. He will need a trim every 2 weeks. Nailing on a shoe would be painful and unnecessary. Have a look at this website for an idea of what a correctly trimmed foot looks like.... You want currant xrays so the trimmer/farrier can trim to the coffin bone.

EXERCISE only if the horse is able. Do not force him to move. Let him move at liberty if he is not on any pain medication that will mask his foot pain. Remember when the front feet hurt he will rock his weight back to his rear feet, then his hocks and back will hurt and he'll be miserable! Make him comfortable with deep shavings in his stall. Let him lay down if he wants to. Hand walking for 5 minutes a day if he is willing is good for a start.

When you get a chance, join the ECH3 group. This is where we keep the medical files on the horses. It takes a minute to join but the questionnaire takes serious thought! Take you time on that - we need the details, previous tests, their results, his complete diet etc. Here's the link:

Yes, your horse has a chance of recovery! Follow the DDT/E's that are prescribed on this list and you should see improvement. And you aren't alone. We have several members in Sweden and Norway that could help talk you through some of this. Lars comes to mind!

Read the Files, the answers are there. And please visit the new website that makes Cushings/IR understandable.
Keep a journal on your horse. Take pictures of his feet and body now and post them in the ECH3 File that you make for him.
We can help you.
Mandy in VA
EC First Responder
OCT 2003

Re: oat straw bedding and IR


--- In EquineCushings@..., "Bonnie" <bonnie.ivey@...> wrote:

Due to a shortage of wood shavings for bedding I am trying oat straw. I think the pony may be eating it. Is this dangerous for an IR animal? Will he stop eating it when he gets used to having it in the stall?

Bonnie Ivey, Ontario
A check of the Equi-Analytical database shows straw with an average ESC+starch of 6.0% which, theoretically, *should* be safe with regard to carbohydrates. More concerning to me is that straw is not very digestible and shouldn't be very palatable but ... apparently he has another opinion! Hopefully, he'll find something else to amuse himself. Have you tried the small mesh hay net to slow down his eating and keep him busy with something more nutritious?

Kathleen (KFG in KCMO)
EC List Support Team/Moderator
Missouri - Dec 2005

Re: (unknown)

Cindy McGinley

"Jane Herold" <hooliganacres@...> wrote:

<< Hi, my name is Jane and my horse may have Cushings. Sounds like an AA meeting! >>

LOL! It could be considered similar, I suppose. Hi Jane. Glad to have your name. :-)

It looks like a lot of the First Responders were trying to get through to you during Yahoo's temper tantrum, hence the several messages that say basically the same thing. We were not aware of each other's attempts, of course. Apologies -- I hope you don't feel bombarded. :-)

<< Thinking it was most likely ulcers
causing her issues, per my vet's advice, I discontinued the pergolide. >>

A reasonable thought.

<< Within 5
days she was squealing and kicking out again. So now she's back on pergolide
along with her U-guard. My vet wants her to stay on the pergolide for a month
and we will test her with the low dose dex supression test. She was tested 2
yrs ago and was told she was a slightly low normal. >>

Please don't do the dex suppresion test. It has a reputation for causing laminitis in IR horses. It's an unfortunate way to find out your horse is IR (ask me how I know). We recommend the endogenous ACTH -- one blood draw, safer test. Info is in the files -- if you have a hard time finding it, let us know and someone can direct you.

<< I assumed she must have Cushings due to postive response to the pergolide.
(Plus, when I started thinking about it, she did have a longer coat this past
winter and I have notice an increase in water intake. Although it has been a
very hot summer and that could be the cause too). I would be very interested to
hear of any other conditions that respond to pergolide. Especially since I can
find no mention of behavioral issues connected with Cushings. >>

As I said, she seems a bit too young to have Cushings. Not impossible, but improbable. Dr. Kellon will have to jump in here when she gets a chance. I do not have her expertise in the matter and would hate to overstep my bounds, but I know she has been studying mares with a similar syndrome.

<< Her excess weight this summer could easily be explained by a decrease in
exercise. (When it's dangerous to groom your horse, you tend not to ride as
much)! Also, I added a flake of hay at night due to the positive response to
ulcer treatment. >>

If you have not noticed that she is fat in those odd places I mentioned in my previous post (in the orbital depressions over her eyes, in front of her tailhead, in front of the girth) then perhaps you are right. But I thought you said she was being worked 2-3 times a week..?

<< Thanks for your help! >>

Don't mention it. That's what we're here for. If you have any more questions, please feel comfortable asking.

Oh, Jane, nice job with your signature. One thing I forgot to mention (silly me): we usually add what state we're in as well, to help the gurus know what sorts of things (feeds, farriers, etc.) are available to us in our area.

- Cindy and Alf (with entourage) in NY
EC Primary Response Team
May 2006

Visit the Equine Cushings website:

Adaptogens for immune support/promote healing


Flash has been having difficulty with healing wounds. He has a number now that have been hanging on for several weeks or even months. Some of them are minor injuries that would ordinarily have gone practically unnoticed but are now becoming inflamed and worsening over time. I am hoping that as we get his IR under better control, this issue will improve, but in the meantime I am suspicious that a weakened immune system is contributing. I read through the archives and it seems that adaptogens are recommended for immune support in IR horses. However, I am not sure if it makes a difference which one in this situation? J-herb, spirulina, APF??

Is there anything else I should be considering?


Vanessa in AZ

Re: Where to find Acetyl-L-Carnatine?

Carolyn Larson

You can also find it at NutraBio ( and you can also check to see if it's in stock.

Carol and Blue in Maine
EC List Support/Moderator
Nov. 2005

At 07:48 PM 7/27/2010, you wrote: carries it. Do not know the quality of it, but their herbs
are great.
Erin and Mr. Nick
Dayton OH



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Re: Where to find Acetyl-L-Carnatine?


Jane -- I used Bulk Nutrition as well & when he was back ordered, the merchant there suggested I try: Same stuff; about the same price & I had no problem getting it. Just one more source to try.

Jeanette (& Angelo, Colorado)

Cushings horse with laminitis; what to do?

torunbjorgo <torun93@...>

I bought my horse in january 2009. He was obese, depressed and in very bad condition. He had problems shedding that spring but during the summer his coat became better and he lost about 100 kg. In the fall he developed laminitis but the veterinarian thought he had a hoof abcess because it seemed like only the right front hoof was painful so it wasn't treated as laminitis. He had all the symptoms of cushings so I started pergolide and gave him 0,5 mg per day until I increased the dosage to 1 mg during the winter. In the spring I went back to 0,5 because he was so much better in the spring and summer the year before. His ferrier discovered that he has laminitis two weeks ago and I've been trying to find out what do do now. His ferrier and veterinarian are going to take some x-rays and have a chat after they both come back from vacation. (why do these things always happen in the summer holidays? Why??) I have increased his dosage to 1 mg pergolide again to avoid another autumn hoof crisis and I'm trying to find hay with a very low sugar percentage. Of course, it's been over 9 months since he developed laminitis and it hasn't been treated in any way except pergolide. Perhaps there isn't much I can do? His right front hoof is the worst and has the charateristic laminitis look with growth rings that are wider in the back and it looks like the hoof has been bent. Does anybody have experience with treating a cushings horse for laminitis almost a year after it happened? Should he be barefoot? With special shoes? does he have any chance of recovery at all? I'm not so impressed with the veterinarian and ferrier situation sice none of them understood this before so I'm looking for some answers myself.

Overall my horse has become much better after starting pergolide, his coat is better and his body is more muscular. He's in a good mood most of the time and it doesn't look like he's too bothered with his feet. All four of his hooves now has very visible growth rings since last autumn but it's worst in the front hooves. He is a norwegian cold-blooded trotter and is now 21 years old. I don't know any about any other horse in norway who is treated with pergolide so I don't have anybody here to ask for advise.

I'm gonna ask the vet to check if he's becoming insulin resistant.(he almost was the last time it was checked, I don't know the numbers) Is there anything else I should do? As i said, I'm looking for hay with a low percentage of sugar, how low is low enough? I feed him vitamins that I mix in a handful of low calorie feeds. I'll probably start giving him a little speedi-beet or spillers happy hoof to mix it in instead just to be sure.

And finally, does anybody know about a veterinary book that covers cushings disease, laminitis, insulin resistance and all that comes with it? It looks like I have to do the veterinary work myself and I don't want any more "if I only knew this before" experiences.

Re: Update on Mr. Frizzer's Lyme disease


Mr. Frizzer has been on the doxycycline since 07/08/10.
We have seen improvement in both his attitude which was kind of sluggish and his walk.
Guess I'm looking to see him a lot better quickly. Does the Lyme affect them so much they have this much trouble walking?
Frizzer is still taking baby steps, not limping but being very careful where he puts his feet.
How long after the med's till he's better and I can know it's okay to have him trimmed? The last trim put him back to the very painful first of this.
April 2010

--- In EquineCushings@..., "J Amick" <happyday23@...> wrote:

Give the doxy sometime to cleanse the blood. Frizzer didn't get the lyme overnite. Generally give it 2 weeks, then look for
a new attitude, no depression etc. Basically a new horse mentally.

Hi Pam,
We are also awaiting Lyme test results per Dr. Kellon's suggestion. How is
Frizzer responding to treatment?
VA 3/09


Re: Update on Mr. Frizzer's Lyme disease


Dr. Kellon,
I see where you say a good trim for Frizzer would be great for him. However how do I know what a good trim is?
The last time Frizzer was trimmed it set his pain back to day one.
Is there something that I need to know to make sure he has a good trim?
The Vet did more xrays last time he was out and said no change still a slight rotation.
Will this pain go away without a trim? The Vet said Frizzer is not to be trimmed again for a long time.
This really is quite a mess for me as I don't know whether to have him trimmed which will be in about 3 more weeks or just have him rasped.
April 2010

--- In EquineCushings@..., "drkellon" <drkellon@...> wrote:

Lyme causes different effects in different horses. The organism attaches to a proteoglycan (decorin) in connective tissue. Since connective tissue is everywhere, the possible symptoms are endless and related to any body system. When it causes laminitis, it can be a particularly severe one.

Mr. Frizzer may need more than a 28 day course to stabilize. Regardless, don't wait too long to get follow up X-rays after he does stabilize. Getting on top of the trim quickly makes a huge difference.

Eleanor in PA
EC Co-owner
Feb 2001

Re: Boots or shod? (Ontario)

tomtriv <ThePitchforkPrincess@...>

Hi Wanda

My mare is like your horse, ouchy on stones and roots but otherwise fine. In winter we use Easy Boot Gloves with ice studs for trail riding. In summer Easy Boot glue on's are taped on using athletic tape. It sounds weird but it works very well. An endurance rider in Australia came up with the tape idea and I think it has caught on all over. The boots are put on before and taken off after each ride. If you want to read more about our experience check out Message #4147 in ECHoof. There lots of talk in ECHoof and ECHorsekeeping about all kinds of hoof boots.
-LeeAnne 04/04
Newmarket, Ontario

Re: Where to find Acetyl-L-Carnatine?

Erin R. <figure1789@...> carries it. Do not know the quality of it, but their herbs
are great.
Erin and Mr. Nick
Dayton OH

Anhidrosis -do I need to supplement for stress?


My horse is in Florida and doesn't sweat. Should I be supplementing with anti-oxidants or adrenal supplements to help him get through this stressful period? He is on a balanced mineral program thanks to Dr Kellon's course. I have him on APF on the really bad days but I can't afford it everyday.
Thanks for your support,
Tracey and Chance, FL 1/10

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