Thinning tail, what to try first?


Katies tail is becoming noticeably thin. If I  correctly understand posts I have read on this issue, it can be due to selenium deficiency or an iron overload.  

What should I do first:   Add selenium? or do lab work for iron levels then figure out how to decrease Fe in her ration if needed?

Are there any other causes that I should address?

Thank you!
Stephanie Thomson August 2, 2016


Liberty, Missouri

Katie Case History

Katie Photo Album

Katie Lab Values Folder 

Re: Looking for help getting weight on my picky eater, who is IR and PPID

Lorna Cane

On Sat, Nov 25, 2017 at 02:11 pm, Jaini Clougher wrote:
Roasted soy flakes sound to me like actual soybean meal.
Ok. I have to admit to having a bin of this stuff in my feed room. Busted.
I bought it last winter when my 45-year-old mule was not getting enough into his bod. A friend,whom I respect,brought an abused horse back from the brink,using this in her routine.And I was out of ideas.
So,I bought some,and used just a few sprinkles on top of Humphrey's mush.It helped.

BUT, I wrote on the outside of the bin  " 18% FAT", just to remind myself !!

They actually are flakes, or rather look like crushed beans. Some of the product almost looks like meal,but not as fine,and some beans missed the flaker and are whole.

They are delicious,I have to say that!!
But I can't imagine feeding it to a horse,any horse,as a feed.

Lorna in Eastern Ontario, Canada
ECIR Moderator 2002


Re: Hay analysis Sonara and Jessica

jessica skene

For the linseed, we need to grind it? can we grind it in advance? like i'm not sure my barn owner would be happy to grind it everyday and weight the quantit of mineral too so I wonder if I can do some little pot like for the week for the daily portion so she just have to add it to my mare feeder (that is added 24h in advance)
Jessica Skene  - Abitibi, Québec, Canada
Sonara => Canadian X QH mare , 11 years old, historic of founder and suspicion of IR

october 2017

Link to case history:
Link to album:,,,20,1,0,0

Re: Syringe for minerals

Helen Temps

My signature didn't appear with the pictures I posted regarding the syringe.  Sorry about that.

Helen Temps and Chloe  June 2017
Placerville, CA

Re: Syringe for minerals

Helen Temps

I use one like this.  I just removed the metal screw on tip.  Unfortunately, I have to fill it about 9 times to get all the minerals in Chloe, but she has become tolerant of the process.  I wouldn't say she looks forward to it, but at least I get the job done.
  • 50ml-Feeding-Veterinary-Syringe-Reusable-Livestock-Supplies-Injector
  • 50ml-Feeding-Veterinary-Syringe-Reusable-Livestock-Supplies-Injector
  • 50ml-Feeding-Veterinary-Syringe-Reusable-Livestock-Supplies-Injector
  • 50ml-Feeding-Veterinary-Syringe-Reusable-Livestock-Supplies-Injector
Have one to sell? Sell now
50ml Feeding Veterinary Syringe Reusable Livestock Supplies Injector--

Re: Looking for help getting weight on my picky eater, who is IR and PPID


Hi, Emma - questions are good!  None of us is born knowing how to manage an IR horse.

The reason for concern with high fat is that higher fat diets have been shown to exacerbate or actually cause IR in many species; in horses, an IR state lasting for about a week was induced in thoroughbred mares (the least IR breed on the face of the earth) by a single intravenous lipid administration. Anecdotally, as well, some PSSM horses that were being maintained on high fat, low carb diets then became IR. 

The reason we are concerned with what kind of fats is because the natural food of the horse, grass, has an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 4:1.  We don't know exactly how much we can push that ratio (ie, does 1:1 work?  2:1?), but it seems like a safe ratio to use until we get some information saying otherwise. Omega 6 fatty acids are necessary in the diet, but they tend favour the inflammatory pathways (promote the pathways that produce inflammatory compounds), and so we don't want to use too much of them - hence the recommendation to stay away from corn oil, most veggie oils, rice bran, sunflower seeds.

Roasted soy flakes sound to me like actual soybean meal. This can be used (with some caveats) as a protein supplement in some cases, but is too high in sugar and starch (not huge, but high enough), and too high in omega 6's for our guys as a rule.  You can see the average analysis at Equianalytical: 

Some horses get footsore on alfalfa, but if Noisette is fine on it, then it is a good way to boost protein.  However, a hay with 20% protein might cause some issues. In particular, I would want the nitrate content of that hay checked (crude protein only measures nitrogen content, and high nitrate hays will show up as high crude protein hays).  If the hay is free of high nitrate levels, the adding a little bit will be a good way to increase the protein.  By the same token, alfalfa cubes or pellets, in moderate amounts, would be fine. (just have to make sure we balance for the high calcium).

Regarding the Brooks Flax Appeal, you could give her a cup a day; but it also has full-fatted soybeans in it, which again are high in omega 6, and the company hasn't given the amounts of flax, soy, or omega 3 or omega 6.  I certainly wouldn't feed her pounds of it, as suggested on the website;  

You could use just a small amount of the Fiber O as a taste tempter. I suspect the reason she gobbles it up is because it is high in starch!  I sure wouldn't be using 2 lobs or more of it.  What about trying some of the Brooks Firelite? I don't much like it having rice bran in there, but it is low in fat, and although I couldn't find ingredients or and actual NSC, the fact that it can be substituted 1 for 1 for hay suggests that it will be lower in ESC plus starch than the Fibre O. If she likes it, it will be much safer than the Fibre O.

Here is the short form:  Don't use the Fibre O except in very small amounts as a taste-tempter. Try the Fibrelite instead.

I wouldn't bother with the Flax Appeal; I would buy a small bag of ground flax from the grocery store first, and see if she will eat 1/2 a cup of it in her feed. An alternative is to use flax seed oil.

Yes to moderate amounts of alfalfa cubes (2 lbs or less).  Yes to ODTB cubes if you can get them. Yes to beet pulp and soy hull pellets. No to roasted soy.

Sorry about the steep learning curve, but keep asking questions, and soon you will be the Pro from Dover!


Jaini Clougher (BSc,BVSc)

Merlin (over the bridge) ,Maggie,Gypsy, Ranger

BC 09
ECIR mod/support



Soy hull pellets

LJ Friedman

-- Do soy hull pellets  typically have the same iron content as bp? Less? Is   There  a reason why everyone doesn’t use them instead of the bp?
LJ Friedman  Nov 2014  San Diego, CA 


Re: Syringe for minerals

Donna Powell

I found this to be true also. 

On ‎Saturday‎, ‎November‎ ‎25‎, ‎2017‎ ‎02‎:‎58‎:‎33‎ ‎PM‎ ‎EST, Martha McSherry <mmcsherry@...> wrote:

Does this happen with a new syringe as well?  Apparently taking the syringe apart to clean it results in sticking plungers.  Once I quit cleaning out my syringes so thoroughly, I had a lot fewer stuck plungers.  I just draw water in and out of them a few times to rinse.
Martha in Vermont
Logo, Tobit(EC) and Pumpkin, Handy and Silver (EC/IR)
Logo's Case History: 
July 2012

Donna 5/2011


Beaufort, SC


IR vs. Not

hinecedark <hinecedark@...>

Are there any statistics, here or elsewhere, concerning the number or percentage of horses who are baseline IR at onset of PPID vs the number who are not? Can anyone direct me to it? Years of reading digests leads me to think most are, and wonder if that reflects a connection between the two. And if there is no connection, why is this?
Thank you,
IN  2010

Swanson is having a great sale on Vitamin E...

Tori Cullins

  • Natural Vitamin E
  • 400 IU, 250 Sgels, soy oil base, 13.49! (about 50% off normal price)

Tori and Orion

April 2015, Eagle Point, Oregon

Case History:

Photo Album:


Re: Syringe for minerals

Tori Cullins

I use a drenching syringe, works really well!
Tori and Orion

April 2015, Eagle Point, Oregon

Case History:

Photo Album:


Re: Syringe for minerals


Does this happen with a new syringe as well?  Apparently taking the syringe apart to clean it results in sticking plungers.  Once I quit cleaning out my syringes so thoroughly, I had a lot fewer stuck plungers.  I just draw water in and out of them a few times to rinse.
Martha in Vermont
Logo, Tobit(EC) and Pumpkin, Handy and Silver (EC/IR)
Logo's Case History: 
July 2012

Re: Looking for help getting weight on my picky eater, who is IR and PPID

Lorna Cane

Hi Emma,

I'm not sure of that product.The only one I know of is roasted soy flakes. and if memory serves it is about 40% protein.
I wouldn't go near it.
Feed stores/mills  use soy beans for cattle feed,and more.But we want the soy HULL pellets.
Masterfeeds  makes the ones my feed store carries.This is not my feed store, but it's in the area and  it'll do:

If you feed beet pulp or soy hull pellets the meals will be damp, so the ground flax shouldn't be an issue. It'll stick,and maybe she won't notice.

I wonder if this is helpful in finding a dealer near you:


Lorna in Eastern Ontario, Canada
ECIR Moderator 2002


ECIR Group - Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance #FACTS Integration <main@...>

By ECIR Group - Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance

When you go past the marketing hype.

Re: Looking for help getting weight on my picky eater, who is IR and PPID

Emma B

Thanks Lorna :)

Noisette will eat some flax in her feed but I think she objects to it when she's more aware of its powdery texture ;)

im working on sourcing some soy hull pellets. My local feed store has roasted soy. Would that be suitable?



Re: caring for an IR horse


I use a small microwave to heat the water.  I have a table set up in my garage where I mix the supplements.  The water is heating as I mix.  Then I carry the wet mix to the horse's shelter, which is only 70 feet or so from the garage.   I think you are doing fantastic. 

Ronelle and Yoyo
Bend, Oregon

Re: Syringe for minerals

Lorna Cane

Be  sure the tip is not resting against part of her mouth/tongue, blocking the opening .


Lorna in Eastern Ontario, Canada
ECIR Moderator 2002


Re: Help

Lavinia Fiscaletti

Hello Mags,

Welcome to the group! 

Sorry to hear your pony is having such a hard time of it. Because she is only 7yo, PPID (aka Cushings) is not a likely scenario. IR is definitely a problem with an insulin of 670. Has glucose and adiponectin been tested? What we are going to need from you is a lot more specific information in order to be able to give you the most specific help. What we will need is in the remainder of this rather long message but in the short term, here are the DO NOW suggestions to get you moving in the right direction:

  1. Put your girl on the emergency diet (complete info below): soaked hay (already doing); stop all the other supplements you are currently feeding, as well as the Safe and Sound - use a small amount of Speedibeet to mix the emergency diet ingredients instead:
  2. If 366kgs is an appropriate weight for your girl (she has a b0ody condition score of no more than 5) then she shouldn't need more than 2% of that in total feed per day - so 7.5kgs total. The current 11kgs+the 2 scoops feed is a lot of excess feed and will make keeping her weight down difficult. Using small mesh hay nets to hold the hay, splitting it into 3-4 meals per day will help keep food going thru her system in a more regular fashion without creating a fasting situation.

  3. Keep up the Metformin for now - it may be helping/won't hurt but is only  a temporary solution as its effects diminish over time.

  4. Danilon (phenybutazone) is not recommended for more than a few days and is not very helpful for laminitis stemming from endocrinopathic issues anyway. We recommend stopping that - taper off rather than an abrupt halt.

  5. Please add the radiographs and a set of hoof pictures so that the trim can be assessed. Good that the shoes have been removed - recommend using boots and pads for now, or taping pads to her feet in the short term until we can assess the trim and be sure it is optimal.

  6. BREATH. There is a lot you can do to help you girl get better, so let's get started.

The ECIR provides the best, most up to date information on Cushing's (PPID) and Insulin Resistance (IR). Please explore our website where you'll find tons of great information that will help you to quickly understand the main things you need to know to start helping your horse. Also open any of the links below (in blue font) for more information/instructions that will save you time.

In order to help you and your equine quickly and effectively, we need you to explain your equine's situation by following the instructions you were sent upon joining. Your completed case history form and ECIR Signature will save days of back and forth questions. If you haven't done so yet, please join our case history sub-group. Follow the uploading instructions so your folder is properly set up and then upload your case history. If you have any trouble, just post a message or email the case history group explaining specifically where you are stuck.

Orienting information, such as how the different ECIR sections relate to each other, message etiquettewhat goes where and many how-to pages are in the Wiki. There is also an FAQs on our website that will help answer the most common and important questions new members have. 

Below is a general summary of our DDT/E philosophy which is short for Diagnosis, Diet, Trim and Exercise.


DIAGNOSIS: There are two conditions dealt with here: Cushings (PPID) and Insulin Resistance (IR). These are two separate issues that share some overlapping symptoms. An equine may be either PPID or IR, neither or both. While increasing age is the greatest risk factor for developing PPID, IR can appear at any age and may have a genetic component. Blood work is used for diagnosis as well as monitoring the level of control of each.

PPID is diagnosed using the Endogenous ACTH test, while IR is diagnosed by testing non-fasting insulin, glucose and Leptin. Leptin is the hormone that says "stop eating". Knowing this helps to differentiate if a horse is IR "at baseline" or if an elevated ACTH is "driving" the insulin up. In Europe, substitute adiponectin for the leptin test.

*Before calling your vet to draw blood for tests, we suggest saving time and wasted money by reading these details and then sharing them with your vet so that everyone is on the same page regarding correct testing and protocols.

*Please remember to request copies of the results of all the tests done rather than just relying on verbal information. Your vet should be able to email these to you. If you have previous test results, please include those as well. All should go in your CH, but if you are having any trouble with the CH, just post in the messages for now. 

Treatment: IR is a metabolic type - not a disease - that is managed with a low sugar+starch diet and exercise (as able). The super-efficient easy keeper type breeds such as minis, ponies, Morgans, Arabs, Rockies are some of the classic examples. PPID is a progressive disease that is treated with the medication pergolide. Some, but not all, individuals may experience a temporary loss of appetite, lethargy and/or depression when first starting the medication. To avoid this "pergolide veil" (scroll down for side effects), we recommend weaning onto the drug slowly and the use of the product APF. The best long term results are seen when the ACTH is maintained in the middle of the normal range at all times, including during the annual seasonal rise. To accomplish this, the amount of medication may need to increase over time. Neither condition is ever "cured", only properly controlled for the remainder of the equine's life. If your partner is both PPID and IR then both medication and diet management will be needed. 


DIET: Almost all commercial feeds are not suitable - no matter what it says on the bag. Please see the International Safe Feeds List for the safest suggestions.

No hay is "safe" until proven so by chemical analysis. The diet that works for IR is:

  • low carb (less than 10% sugar+starch)
  • low fat (4% or less)
  • mineral balanced  

We use grass hay, tested to be under 10% ESC + starch, with minerals added to balance the excesses and deficiencies in the hay, plus salt, and to replace the fragile ingredients that are lost when grass is cured into hay, we add ground flax seed and Vitamin E. This diet is crucial for an IR horse, but also supports the delicate immune system of a PPID horse. 

*Until you can get your hay tested and balanced we recommend that you soak your hay and use the emergency diet (scroll down for it).  The emergency diet is not intended for long term use, but addresses some of the most common major deficiencies. Testing your hay and getting the minerals balanced to its excesses and deficiencies is the best way to feed any equine. If you absolutely cannot test your hay and balance the minerals to it, or would like to use a "stop gap" product until you get your hay balanced, here's a list of "acceptable" ration balancers

There is a lot of helpful information in the start here folder so it is important you read all the documents found there. The emergency diet involves soaking your untested hay for an hour in cold water or 30 minutes in hot water. This removes up to 30% of the sugar content, but no starch. Starch is worse than sugar since it converts 100% to glucose while sugar only converts 50%, so starch causes a bigger insulin spike. Make sure you dump the soaking water where the equine(s) can't get to it. 

What you don't feed on the IR diet is every bit as, if not more important than, what you do feed! No grass. No grain. No sugary treats, including apples and carrots. No brown/red salt blocks which contain iron (and sometimes molasses) which interferes with mineral balancing, so white salt blocks only. 

No products containing molasses. No bagged feeds with a combined sugar and starch of over 10% or starch over about 4%, or fat over about 4%. Unfortunately, even bagged feeds that say they are designed for IR and/or PPID equines are usually too high in sugar, starch and/or fat. It’s really important to know the actual analysis and not be fooled by a name that says it is suitable for IR/PPID individuals.

We do not recommend feeding alfalfa hay to IR/PPID equines as it makes many of them laminitic. Although it tends to be low in sugar, many times the starch is higher and does not soak out. Additionally, protein and calcium are quite high, which can contribute to sore footedness and make mineral balancing very difficult.


TRIM: A proper trim is toes backed and heels lowered so that the hoof capsule closely hugs and supports the internal structures of the foot. Though important for all equines, it's essential for IR and/or PPID equines to have a proper trim in place since they are at increased risk for laminitis. After any potential triggers are removed from the diet, and in PPID individuals, the ACTH is under control, the realigning trim is often the missing link in getting a laminitic equine comfortable.

Sometimes subclinical laminitis can be misdiagnosed as arthritis, navicular, or a host of other problems as the animal attempts to compensate for sore feet.

You are encouraged to make an album and post hoof pictures and any radiographs you might have so we can to look to see if you have an optimal trim in place. Read this section of the wiki for how to get a hoof evaluation, what photos are needed, and how to get the best hoof shots and radiographs.


EXERCISEThe best IR buster there is, but only if the equine is comfortable and non-laminitic. An individual that has had laminitis needs 6-9 months of correct realigning trims before any serious exercise can begin. Once the equine is moving around comfortably at liberty, hand walking can begin in long straight lines with no tight turns. Do not force a laminitic individual to move, or allow its other companions to do so. It will begin to move once the pain begins to subside. Resting its fragile feet is needed for healing to take place so if the animal wants to lay down, do not encourage it to get up. Place feed and water where it can be reached easily without having to move any more than necessary. Be extremely careful about movement while using NSAIDs (bute, banamine, previcox, etc.) as it masks pain and encourages more movement than these fragile feet are actually able to withstand. Additionally, NSAIDs (and icing) do not work on metabolic laminitis and long term NSAID use interferes with healing. Therefore, we recommend tapering off NSAIDs after the first week or so of use. If after a week's time your equine's comfort level has not increased, then the cause of the laminitis has not been removed and keeping up the NSAIDs isn't the answer - you need to address the underlying cause.


There is lots more information in our files and archived messages and also on our website. It is a lot of information, so take some time to go over it and feel free to ask ANY questions. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don't worry, you will catch on, and we are always here to help you! Once you have your case history uploaded, we can help you help your equine partner even better.

We ask all members to sign their first name, general location, date of joining and link to the case history and photo album every time they post. It helps us to find your info faster to answer your questions better. You can set up an automatic signature so you don't have to remember to do it. 

For members outside North America, there are country specific folders in the files and many international lists in the wiki to help you find local resources.

If you have ANY technical difficulties, please let us know so we can help you.

Lavinia and George Too

Dante, Peanut, Nappi and George over the Bridge

Jan 05, RI

ECIR Support Team

Donkey photo?

Cindy McGinley

Hello, group,
      I remember a photo of a donkey with obvious fat pads from the Conference, but do not remember which presentation he was in. Does anyone recall? I’d love to get a copy of that photo for a presentation I am doing for an equine nutrition class on Thursday, if possible...
- Cin (with Alf's Entourage) in Central NY
ECIR Support
May 2006

Syringe for minerals

Sue Hansen

Does anyone have a recommendation for a type of syringe (other than the plastic tubes) so I can get the needed minerals into my mare?   I have a hard time using the plastic ones because the plunger gets stuck in the tube and by the time I get it unstuck, I've shot the minerals everywhere but in her mouth.   I oiled the tube before adding the minerals and oiled the plunger.  Any suggestions?
Sue H.
June 2017. Markle, IN USA
Case History  .
Dawn's photo album  .

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