Need some help with my mare

tara sullivan

Hello All.  Hoping someone can review my mare's ch and give me some advice.  Divina was diagnosed in April 2015 with Cushings and what we thought was peripheral IR.  Her ACTH was not that high at 76, but she looked  like a more advanced case.  Loss of topline, very heavy coat (she shed out but still needed to be body clipped in summer), lethargic and just frail like an old horse.  Spent the summer tweaking her pergolide and testing to see where we were.  To be honest, I never addressed the lurking IR because I truly thought that once the acth was controlled the IR would go away.  She ate a balanced diet that did include pasture, .5 lb of oats, and some alfalfa (sometimes)....all no no's!  She is not laminitic....though her soles are a little thin and her coffin bones are ground parallel.  
Although her acth is responding to the pergolide....I feel like she could never shake the veil.  I have struggled to keep her eating all summer and fall since she has been on it.  Also note that this horse is compromised by Lymes disease.
Have there been horses that just don't do well on this drug??  If someone could review her history and give me some feedback I surely would grateful.

Tara and Divina
NY 2014

Re: Arthritis -what works best?



Hi Amy,


Each horse reacts slightly differently to medications/supplements and they both have different actions, so I don’t think that’s necessarily that one is better than another. If it were my horse I’d be inclined to try the Mov-Ease first, and if you don’t get the desired response after following the dosage instructions, then you can always try or add the HA at a later stage. Both products can be purchased from here:



Geelong Vic

Australia Aug 07

EC Primary Response


---In EquineCushings@..., <kninformation@...> wrote :

My 22 yr old IR PPID mare seems to have some arthritis in her fetlocks and hocks. I think it is affecting her  general well-being. I've read the messages about HA and Move-Ease. Is one more effective? I really want to get right to some relief for her! She is on J-herb and Prascend.

Re: Diet


---In EquineCushings@..., <colheard@...> wrote :

Hi, my name is Colleen.  I'm from NSW in Australia.  I am a new member only just joined today.  I feed them hard food every evening, and I would like to know what is the best food recommend .  Also what portions.  I can't wait to see them both blossom , and live long and be healthy.

 Hi Colleen,


Welcome to the list- you've come to the right place for help.   Well done for taking on two seniors- I know they will give you an abundant amount of pleasure and will teach you a lot along the way. There’s no reason that they won’t blossom with the correct management.   We know that we throw a lot of information at you but please believe it will get easier with time. In order to help you best we'd like you to fill out a case history for both horses.  To do that, you need to join one of our sister groups called ECH8.  Here's a link to that group:  Once you get approved, which shouldn't take long, just follow the instructions to fill out a case history (CH) for both ponies.


We use a system nicknamed DDT/E, which is shorthand for Diagnosis, Diet, Trim and Exercise. These are the four cornerstones of successfully managing your horses and any problems it may have.


DIAGNOSIS: Is done with blood work.  Obviously you’ve already had some blood work done- are you able to post us the results with the ranges please?  Was it just an ACTH done- or did the vet run a Glucose and Insulin as well? This can all be added to the case history if you like.  A pony can be only IR, only PPID, neither or both. PPID is managed using medcation and paying attention the diet while IR is managed through diet and exercise. 
 We strongly recommend having blood drawn to test for Insulin, Glucose, Leptin as well as the ACTH. ACTH is used to diagnose PPID (Cushings) while insulin, glucose and leptin are used to diagnose Insulin Resistance (IR). The samples should be drawn at home and NON-fasting,as fasting will produce artificially low results and are a holdover from human testing protocols.  Has your vet prescribed any medication for the ponies yet & if so what type and dose rate?  For further information regarding blood testing protocol


We are heading into what is known as the seasonal rise in Australia .  -the horses natural ACTH usually starts to rise in February & is  ususally in full swing in March, but each horse responds slightly differently.  More information regarding that can be read about that here:

Actually that whole site  is full of useful, up to date, science based information. Please grab a cuppa and take the time to read it.


DIET:   When you say you feed them hard feed- could you elaborate as to what exactly they get?  Then we can then work out what may be more suitable for them. It would also help to know their weights so we can calculate amounts required.


The diet that we recommend is a forage based low sugar starch (tested to be under 10% sugar+starch) low fat (4% or under) mineral balanced diet.  We use grass hay, tested to be under 10% sugar+starch, with minerals added to balance the hay to the analysis and to replace what is lost during the hay curing process, we add Vitamin E and ground flax seed.  This diet is crucial for an IR horse, but it also supports the delicate immune system of the PPID horse.  Until you get your hay tested, we recommend that you start your horse on the emergency diet.  Details of the emergency diet can be found on our website here:  The emergency diet is to be used only temporarily until you can get your hay tested and balanced.  If your hay is untested, you should be soaking it for an hour in cold water or 30 minutes in hot water to remove up to about 30% of the sugar content.  Make sure that you dump the sugary water where the horse(s) can't get too it.   Get down to the basics--soaked hay and the emergency ingredients as listed in rinsed/soaked/rinsed beet pulp. Maxisoy is also safe to use & seems to be a bit more palatable, plus it’s cheaper. 


As important as what you do feed on the IR diet is what you DON'T feed!  No grain, no pelleted or senior feeds, no pasture (even dead looking grass), no sugary treats (including carrots and apples), no molasses, no lucerne. That concept is one of the harder things to get you're head around. It certainly was for me at the start.


TRIM: Toes backed and heels low so that the hoof capsule tightly hugs and supports the internal structures. This is one of the most common "missing links" when soundness is an issue. We encourage you to post pictures of your horse in the PHOTOS section of ECHistory8 so that we can help make sure the trim is optimal. If there are any lameness issues, we recommend boots and pads for comfort.

EXERCISE: Best IR buster there is, but never force a sore equine to move. Need to be especially careful if there  are any NSAID's being used as this will mask pain and encourage the equine to do too much too soon on compromised feet.

We ask that you please sign your posts with your name, general location and year of joining. This helps us to give you ideas where to source items locally. Once you have your case history done we ask that you add the link to that to your signature as well so the volunteers can find your info easily. Please feel free to ask as many questions as you need to.



Geelong Vic

Australia Aug 07

EC Primary Response

Equine Cushings & Insulin Resistance Group

Arthritis -what works best?


My 22 yr old IR PPID mare seems to have some arthritis in her fetlocks and hocks. I think it is affecting her  general well-being. I've read the messages about HA and Move-Ease. Is one more effective? I really want to get right to some relief for her! She is on J-herb and Prascend.
Amy in VA
Member since 2005

Re: Mag Ox

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

--In EquineCushings@..., <chancessolidgold@...> wrote :

Because this product is so coarse I should go w/ what my scale says and not the average from Patti,


That's correct - and it's generally true across the board unless the volume to weight measurement comes with a specific product.

Eleanor in PA

EC Co-owner

Feb 2001

Re: Hay Analysis back

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

--In EquineCushings@..., <barbaraellington72@...> wrote :

 I have not taken Dr. Kellon's courses so I am going to get help with my mineral balancing.


Just want to add we stopped using the spread sheets here because of problems with significant errors, some by data entry errors, other that really couldn't be explained why.

In addition to the current 2 for 1 sale, anyone who registers for NRC Plus will get a free diet balancing to get you started.

Eleanor in PA
EC Co-owner
Feb 2001

Mag Ox

Nicole Sicely

I'm trying to calculate how many grams I need of Mag Ox.  I've seen the write up from Patti that states there is roughly 5g / tablespoon (dependant on how fine/coase the mag ox is).  Mine is pretty coarse. I need 8gm of magnesium to balance my calcium. So I would need 17.8grams of Mag Ox (56%).  When I weigh 1tbs of this it comes out at 21.9 grams.  I just want to confirm that I'm thinking correctly...

Because this product is so coarse I should go w/ what my scale says and not the average from Patti, and I would only need to feed a little under a tablespoon vs 1.5tbs going by Patti's calculations of the mag ox that she measured.

Nicole Sicely


Joined 2002



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Owners, Moderators & Primary Response Team of the Equine Cushings List

Re: newly diagnosed

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

The ACTH number doesn't always correlate with severity.  His symptoms are advanced.  I would assume he needs it all year.

Eleanor in PA
EC Co-owner
Feb 2001

Re: newly diagnosed

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

Re: [ECHoof] may I ask for guidance and/or markups, please?


Lavinia:   I wanted to provide another piece of the puzzle re: Slim Shady and will update my case history  (hope to find a way to delete the two already there!) to add the ACTH received yesterday:

Cornell    ACTH 47, range 9-35.  It was 81.2 in September and I upped his dose at that time to 1.5 Prascend.  I will work it up to 2 now given these results;  my vet said yesterday he did not recommend an increase  as Slim was not fasted prior to the test.  

Robyn and Slim Shady 15 yr TWH
Joined 2012

Case History:  ECHistory8

This is ECHistory8, the current ECHistory Group to upload NEW case histories or move an existing case history to. This group is for ECIR Group members only. ...
Preview by Yahoo

Re: Hay Analysis back


Thank you Patti. I do use your website and you have great information.
 I have not taken Dr. Kellon's courses so I am going to get help with my mineral balancing.
 Barbara  NC  2012


Colleen Heard

Hi, my name is Colleen.  I'm from NSW in Australia.  I am a new member only just joined today.  I have two aged ponies 18 and 20.  I have only had them for four weeks now, was told  when they were dropped off that they are prone to founder.  I stressed as I wasn't sure how to deal with this, now to top it off my vet says that they both have cushings after testing positive after blood tests were done.

I feed them hard food every evening, and I would like to know what is the best food recommend .  Also what portions.  I can't wait to see them both blossom , and live long and be healthy.

newly diagnosed



I joined this group  2 years ago for my IR horse Shawnee. He has been sound for over a year now and all 3 of my horses are on the same mineral balanced low sugar/starch diet.

Now my TWH , Cotton is newly diagnosed Cushings. I posted his case history in the link below.

He has been lethargic, stumbling and sometimes falling, back hooves slipping, longer than normal coat, patchy sweating, fat pads over eyes, pot belly appearance. He was diagnosed with equine protozoal myeloencephalitis back in October and is currently being treated with Marquis. We tested ACTH back in October (51.6 pg/ml) but did not treat.   Last week my vet did the Dexamethosone Suppression Test which was pre 3.27 and post 3.49ug/dl.

He was started on 1 mg daily of Prascend 4 days ago.. Are these test results considered high?  Does he need to stay on the Prascend year round?

Thanks so much.

Melanie, Shawnee, Carrera and Cotton

Oregon August 2013

Re: Hay Analysis back


Hi Dee and Granite ~

I mostly lurk nowdays.  Several years ago I put together some spreadsheet calculators to help with doing the math but there are several caveats for anyone who considers using them:

1 - they are not "approved" by ECIR or Dr. Kellon
2 - they should not be used without first having a basic understanding of the big picture about mineral balancing, and you should be able to do a "paper pencil" version first before using a spreadsheet (Excel or Numbers) version.  They are only math tools and without understanding the process you might not catch an error.
3 - it is strongly suggested that anyone wishing to do their own calculations take Dr. Kellon's NCR Plus online course as a minimum. Once you have taken the course, you can access the "grads" Yahoo group for ongoing discussion and assistance.
4 - if you have never attempted to "balance" your hay it is recommended that you have someone do it with/for you the first time.
5 - if you have taken the course/s, can work in Excel, feel confident that you understand the what and why of mineral balancing, you can request access to the spreadsheets at my website (
6- any version of these spreadsheets not obtained from my website (i.e. from other yahoo sites, etc.) are not up to date and may contain bugs or errors which have since been corrected. 

This is a list of ECIR contacts for help with mineral balancing
It takes a bit of time and effort to do a proper job of balancing - though once you learn you may wonder why you thought it was so difficult.  It's well worth the investment to take Dr. Kellon's course/s

Warm regards,
Patti Woodbury Kuvik
Vail, AZ

Re: Hay Analysis back

Lorna Cane

Sorry,Dee. I've gone there,too.
 I'm stumped.

We'll have to wait for someone to sort this out for us.

Re: Hay Analysis back


I found the pdf file that specifically mentions it.... I went to Files, then 3 Core Diet, Analysis, Nutritional Needs, then to Basic Nutritional Needs, then it is mentioned in the pdf titled _Nutritional Needs for Insulin Resistant.

The problem was that I could find no mention anywhere else... just there.  I was interested in this as well since I got my hay results back and wanted to see if I could balance it myself, but needed to know where to start. 

Dee and Granite
Aroostook County, ME - 9/06
Case History:

Re: Cabergoline instead of pergolide

Lorna Cane

>  Can you delete the old hay balancing file in my folder? 

You're welcome,Tina.

File deleted.

Re: Cabergoline instead of pergolide

Tina Martin

Thanks, Lorna.

I updated Rio's case history.  Can you delete the old hay balancing file in my folder?  I cannot do it because I didn't add it.  Thanks again,

Tina & Rio
Georgia, May 2011


Re: Hay Analysis back

Lorna Cane

>I would like to find the Hay Analysis Calculator but still can not find it in the links. Can you be more specific ?Barbara in NC 2012

Oh,Barbara,I'm sorry. I sent you to the IR Calculator.

I'm not sure what you mean by Hay Analysis Calculator.

Can you find the message which mentioned it? Searched for Hay Analysis Calculator in the Archives?

Sorry for the confusion.(hope you had fun in our Links section,though).

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