For Members Who Need Trim Evaluations


Trim is often the “missing link” in regaining and maintaining soundness. Because your equine friend deserves the best hoof care possible, the ECIR Group is glad to assist anyone wanting trim evaluations. To do this, we need some specific help from you:

1.  Good Photos: Hooves are a 3-D object that we are evaluating using a 2-D medium. That places us at an immediate disadvantage. Good hoof pictures - of clean feet, taken from the correct angles, with good light and non-cluttered backgrounds - enable us to do this as accurately as we can. It helps the volunteers compensate for not actually "being there" to pick that hoof up or crouch down on the ground and look at it up close. Good photos help eliminate and/or clarify some of the variables that play a part in our ensuing recommendations. We understand that this may be awkward to accomplish but it is essential for providing the necessary info we need to help you help your friend. Although the front feet are where everyone tends to focus, providing pictures of all four hooves is encouraged.  Anything that affects the front feet will also affect the hinds, although often to a lesser degree.  If there are trim issues in front, there will also be trim issues behind as it is usually the same individual caring for both sets of hooves. 


The sooner we get clear and usable photos, the sooner we can assess and make specific, thorough recommendations. Here's the link to instructions for taking good hoof pictures:


2. Proper Identification of your photos: Having to guess whether a hoof is front/hind, left/right makes helping your horse doubly difficult and the Photo Section of the group chooses its own order when loading your shots so you can't count on them being uploaded in any particular order. Identification of individual hooves can be as simple marking LF, RF, LH or RH with a magic marker on the appropriate hoof before snapping the shots.  For dark hooves try a metallic silver marker or use marked masking tape as a “label”. For those with computer savvy, labelling the pictures themselves is fine. Please note that “left” refers to the horse’s left (near side) while “right” refers to the horse’s right (off side).  

3.  X-rays: Radiographs are always a bonus as they clearly reveal what is going on inside the walls where our human, non-superman vision cannot penetrate. With the advent of digital x-rays, however, the cost of a basic set has risen considerably. We understand if this just isn't an option but x-rays are never a waste of money when hoof problems are present and sometimes are an essential ingredient to a good outcome. If you are going to have xrays done, here are some tips on making the most of your investment: groups/ECHoof/files/X-Rays%20% 26%20Radiographs/

Hope this helps with the "why" of your volunteers' repeated requests for good hoof shots.


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

Re: IR Testing


Hi Robyn,

Welcome to the group!  If you give us some more information about your horse, we can make better, more specific recommendations.  To give us those details we need you to fill out a Case History.  To do that you need to join our sister site called ECH8 and follow the instructions to fill out the CH.  Here's a link to ECH8:   We follow a philosophy called DDT/E, which stands for Diagnosis, Diet, Trim and Exercise.

You are correct in your conclusion that we recommend insulin, glucose, and leptin levels for Diagnosis of IR.  But depending on the age of your horse, We may also suggest you add an ACTH to that. Usually, though it's not unheard of, horses under the age of 10 years do not get PPID.  IR and PPID are 2 distinctly separate conditions, but they share some similar symptoms which can make getting a proper diagnosis a little difficult.    

In addition to the No Laminitis PDF on IR, there is lots more great information about getting a proper Diagnosis on our website.  The blood requires special handling, so follow this link to the "Diagnosis" page of our website to read about the specific details:   

To answer your second question, no, those above tests will not test the thyroid status of your horse.  Since we recommend doing your testing at Cornell, you may want to ask your vet to do the "Equine Metabolic Syndrome Diagnostic Plan" for $91.  This link should take you to that test.  It's the first one listed.  You can click on it to bring up the details and read the "test interpretations" there as well.  This panel includes an ACTH, insulin, glucose, leptin and T4.  If your horse is young, you may not need the ACTH, but it never hurts to have a baseline level.  In any case we do NOT recommend fasting for any of these tests.  If your hay is tested and you know it's under 10% sugar+starch, then make sure your horse has a net of it that will last overnight and right up to the time of the blood draw.  If your hay is untested, then your should soak it for an hour in cold water or 30 minutes in hot water to remove up to about 30% of the sugar content.  More details about why no fasting can be found on that diagnosis page of our website under the "Insulin Resistance" part.

Primary hypothyroidism is rare in horses.  Below are some messages with more information about hypo/hyperthyroidism in horses.  Tons more hits if you do a search of the archived messages, but I think reading these messages will give you some pretty good basic information.  

Sorry but the link to the study wrt feeding having an influence on thyroid levels in that last message is broken and I can't find it.  Here is one study on rats:

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 use the emergency diet, which involves soaking the hay for an hour in cold water or 30 minutes in hot water to remove up to about 30% of the sugar content.  Make sure you dump the soaking water where the horse(s) can't get to it.  Details about the emergency diet can be found on our website here:  We like to send our hay for analysis to this lab:  and ask for the #603, trainers' package for $54.  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 brown/red mineral salt blocks--white ones only.  If you are having any laminitis issues, it's critical to get your horse on the emergency diet now!  It can often turn them around within a few days.  Small mesh hay nets are great for soaking hay and also for slowing down the voracious appetite that many IR horses have.  Once you get your hay tested, one of our balancing folks can help you make a customized balanced diet that addresses the excesses and deficiencies in your hay and other ingredients in your diet. As a side note, Iodine and selenium are both important for the thyroid to function properly and are often deficient in the diet.  Once these levels are optimized in the diet with mineral balancing, low thyroid levels usually return to normal.

A proper Trim is toes backed and heels lowered so that the hoof capsule closely hugs and supports the internal structures of the foot.  If you'd like, and especially if you are having any hoof issues, you are welcome to post pictures of your horse's feet in the PHOTOS section of ECH8. Here's a site that shows how too take good hoof photos: 

And the last part of our philosophy is Exercise.  It's the best IR buster there is!!  BUT--a laminitic horse should never be forced to move!  If your horse is footsore, boots and pads may be in order to help with pain relief.
So that gives you some basic information on our philosophy.  While you are on our website for the Diagnosis information, you should take the time to explore the entire website.  It's a wonderful source of information for you and a great place to send your vet too!  Also, our files and archived messages contain a wealth of great information.

Sorry I cannot help you with a vet reference in the SF area, but we do have other members in that area who could, and hopefully will chime in.  Thanks for signing your name and general location in your signature.  Please make sure to add your date of joining, and also when you get your CH done, a link to that as well, like in my signature below.  It really helps us to find it faster and answer your questions faster!  Thanks!

Maggie, Chancey and Spiral in VA
March 2011
EC moderator/Primary Response 

Re: Dawn joins the angel horses


Sorry for the sad news LeeAnne I know how proud and how much you loved your little Dawn.. She was one lucky little girl to have had you as her Mummy! We fight so hard for our beloved pets! " the deeper the love the harder the loss" your beautiful tribute made me cry.. Hold onto your dreams and memories I am sure you have enough to last a lifetime of your precious girl.. Gallop free little Dawn! With stronge healthy legs and feet again! Take care of yourself lovely lady!xxx
Rani n Leanne.
2010 aust. 
Ec 3

Re: Dawn joins the angel horses

Donna Coughlin

Fly free beloved Dawn! 

LeeAnne, you were the most wonderful horse mom, and you and Dawn were so lucky to have found one another. Thirty-one and a half years is amazing, and testimony to your great care and love. She will continue to "talk" to you, and will stay in your heart forever.

Donna Coughlin, Duke, Robin and Obi
CT    2009

Re: Ration Plus or Forco?


Why do you have to give a syringe?<<
I use the syringe to measure 6ml. I then squirt it on his supplements and pellets.

Cynthia from CA
Tucker 10/10

IR Testing

robyn tucker <VenturesV@...>

I read through the 2013 NO Laminitis Conference PDF on IR and believe that the ECIR group recommends the following to test for IR. 

"Therefore, the ECIR Group recommends a simple blood draw for serum insulin, glucose and leptin.
The horse should not be fasted prior to testing, but fed hay only the night before and day of testing.
Understanding the conditions of the test and the use of proxies will determine IR status. To calculate
the proxies, the ECIR Group Calculator is available to do the math:

1) Am I accurate in this conclusion?

2) Would this test provide results that could be used to determine hyper or hypothyroidism or does the horse have to be completely fasting (no access to hay)? 

3) Can anyone recommend a vet that can be relied on in the Bay Area to draw the blood and send to the right testing facilities and be able to understand test results?  The vets that I have discussed the IR test with insist that complete fasting over night (from 7 to 7) is the only way to test for IR or a thyroid disorder.

Thanks so much, Robyn Tucker, SF

Re: Can basic minerals go bad?


Thanks Lavinia,

He gets fed twice a day, with hay in between, so they split the minerals between his late afternoon feed and his  night feed.  In the morning he gets a few soaked soy hulls to go on his stomach with his pergolide.  He doesn't get much before he goes out in the morning because he takes too long to eat which I am grateful for but it isn't great for him, they want to get him outside quickly.  What else do you use when Dante goes off the ODTB?  I do use a small amount of soy hulls but I have to pick out all the corn, oats,whole soy beans, rocks and sticks and that is just the stuff that I can see so I limit what I use.

The last thing that I tried was mixing a complete days worth splitting it in half and then adding the salt and flax and Vitamin E to the 2 halves and giving it over 2 days so that he got the full salt, flax and  Vit E and that worked for a while.

Any other suggestions that you have would be great.  Thanks.

Sue and Busy
Kingston, ON
October 2010

Re: Ration Plus or Forco?

ferne fedeli

On Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 7:16 PM, cynthia boriskin cboriskin@... [EquineCushings] <EquineCushings@...> wrote:
Having to measure out 6ml into a syringe can sometimes be a hassle particularly when we are away from home. Forco is so much easier.

I always just pour the Ration Plus over their supplements.  Why do you have to give a syringe?
Ferne Fedeli
No. California

balancing new hay



The person who normally balances my hay has been very busy and haven't been able to help me with it. Is there anyone who is willing to help me balance my hay. I had it analyzed by EquiAnalytical about a month ago and can provide you with the analysis.

Thank you in advance,

Cynthia from CA

Tucker 10/10

Re: Dawn joins the angel horses

ferne fedeli

Lee Anne, so sorry to hear about Dawn.  I have listened to your stories over the past few years and was always so touched by your dedication to her well-being.  It gradually gets better.  I sometimes still think of when my old guy, Velvet, went to the Rainbow Bridge and am a bit sad, but didn't want to see him suffering any more.  None of us live forever, which I am reminded of more and more as I get older and so many of my friends are now gone--animals and humans!  Try to think of the good times...
Ferne Fedeli
No. California

On Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 7:12 AM, ThePitchforkPrincess@... [EquineCushings] <EquineCushings@...> wrote:

Hi All,

Dawn had been going through another sore feet episode for the past few weeks.  I don't know if it was abscess, laminitis and a temperature of 102.5, but when my farrier came to pull her shoe, he said it was time to call the vet. I still hoped the vet could help Dawn but when he  saw that her suspensory ligaments in her left front had gone, the decision was made.  At the age of 31 and a half, Dawn was helped out of her pain by the people who cared most for her during her lifetime.  

Many of you have already heard of Dawn's passing.  Your words have been such a comfort. These words are never easy but mean so much to those hearing them.  I thank you all. The group's help, support and guidance during eased the hardest parts of Dawn's final days and the past decade.  A decade that she never would have had without the friends from this group.    

It is a very sad time but like all other things in life, it will change.  She will be missed but sorrow will grow to become memories.  They will keep growing and include the friends and horses we knew and loved.  These remembrances will fill my old age the way dreams of her filled my childhood.  

- LeeAnne & Angel Dawn, 

Newmarket, Ontario 03/2004

Case History


All Season Muzzle Photos

Hoof Pics

More Hoof Pics & Xrays

Re: Ration Plus or Forco?


>> you were having gastric issues that cleared up with the RP<<

Yes, I did, but since using Ration Plus, periodically I still got diarrhea and/or the brown squirts. So, I am not sure if it was indeed the Forco or not that was causing problems at the time. I'm looking for an easier solution to providing the probiotics. Having to measure out 6ml into a syringe can sometimes be a hassle particularly when we are away from home. Forco is so much easier.

Cynthia from CA
Tucker 10/10 

On Sunday, April 5, 2015 10:42 AM, "threecatfarm@... [EquineCushings]" wrote:

Most probably gastric. In previous discussion about Forco v Ration Plus you were having gastric issues that cleared up with the RP.  Here's the message.

Some horses don't lie the taste of yeast.

Nancy C in NH
ECIR Moderator 2003
FACT: To diagnose IR, the ECIR Group recommends a non-fasted, simple blood draw for serum insulin, glucose and leptin and the use of VA Polytechnic Proxies. See E. M. Kellon, VMD, Diagnosis of Insulin Resistance and PPID, 2013 NO Laminitis! Proceedings,

---In EquineCushings@..., wrote :

>>Some horses are allergic to yeast used in Forco<<

What are the symptoms if a horse is allergic to Forco?

Cynthia from CA
Tucker 10/10

Sent from my iPad


Re: Dawn joins the angel horses

Deb Funderburk <hawkhilldeb@...>

LeeAnne-- I am so sorry for your loss of Dawn. And your tribute to her was so beautiful-- I love this: "These remembrances will fill my old age the way dreams of her filled my childhood. " This really gets to the heart of what these horses mean to us. I know you are missing her, but I wish for you peace and rest.

Deb and Cory in NC
July 2012

Re: Another crosses the Rainbow Bridge


Thank you all for your kind thoughts.  They are very comforting.  xx

Re: Dawn joins the angel horses


Oh, LeeAnne. My heart hurts for you. You both fought the good fight, and you were both better off for having each other. The fact that you helped her to the wonderful age of 31 1/2 is a testament to your love. Having these horses is a gift from God, since not everyone could or would endure the roller coaster of their condition. My prayers are with you.

Gayle and Sabrina
Fairview, TN



Re: Dawn joins the angel horses



I'm so sorry to hear that Dawn has passed on to greener pastures. I followed her story and you were both a great inspiration to me.She was certainly a special lady that lived to a exceptional age under your great care & love.

Take care 


Pauline & Spur

Angel Jack & Harry

Sth West Vic

Australia  Aug 07

EC Primary Response


Re: Questions for Ofeigur


Hello, Lavinia
Hope you are having a very Happy Easter.

Thanks for the reply.  I will look forward to the mark-ups and take them with me to the farrier.

I am not sure what you mean by the broken back axis of the hoof/pastern.

To answer your questions. No, the hole in his muzzle has not been closed.  The pasture he is on has very low growth (in height of plant) and made up mostly of weeds.  His teeth have no grinding capacity left although he does still have all of his teeth.  He basically quids what he does graze without the muzzle.

I had the Mountain Sunrise pellets tested a couple of months ago, and the sugar/starch level was low (I can't find the results right now, but I remember that it was less that 10% even without soaking).  We have continued to soak his pellets.  I could try him on the ODTB cubes, but the Bermuda pellets are finer and probably easier for him to eat.

No, we have not tried Metformin.  I will talk to the Vet about it, but if it only works temporarily what good would it do in the long run?

I did not send his TIBC and Serum Iron to KSU.  It was done at Cornell so we did not get a ferritin.  I have to assume that he is Iron overloaded because our soil and hence the well water is probably high in iron (we live in red rock country).  How should I adjust his supplement to compensate?

As far as how Ofeigur is feeling, his appetite waxes and wanes I think because of the heat or changes in the weather.  Our temps this winter have been mild and he has a very thick coat (longer than usual for him).  He is shedding but very slowly.  I have given him a trace clip with a skip tooth blade that seems to help.  His feet do not seem any more sore.  In fact he picks them up easier that he did a year ago.  He does not get any specific exercise except as he moves about in the pasture with two other horses.  He has been observed to canter out there occasionally.

Thanks for the corrected links.


N. AZ, 3/23/2103


Re: Questions for Ofeigur


Hi, Ferne
Yes, Ofeigur is an Icelandic, and a very sweet one at that.  

He has very little tooth grinding action left, if any, and quids most of what he does get even with the muzzle.  I could close the hole in his muzzle, but I hate to do that.  The pasture he is on is nearly dirt.  Any growth is very low and I doubt he gets much through the hole of his muzzle.

 His appetite tends to wax and wane.  Even when he has little interest in his Bermuda pellets he still comes over for his sugar-free treat.  I think it is the heat as we have had a very mild winter and his coat is very heavy.  Temps during the days are up in the high 70s to 80s, but nights are still quite cool (40's to 50's).  I am hesitant to give him a full clip because of the cool nights, but have done a trace clip which seems to help.  It is either that heat or the weather.  I had thought it might be the Cushings, but with the ACTH of 10 I doubt that.


N. AZ, 3/23/2103


Re: West Nile Vaccine

ferne fedeli

First I had heard of WNV being an issue.  As Nancy says, vaccinations can always be sort of iffy.  You need to weigh the prevalence of the disease with the possible danger of the vaccination itself.  None of my guys have ever had any reactions to any vaccinations though (Icelandic is IR and PPID, Donkey IR, partner's Appy has other issues...).  I just gave them all WNV in March when the vet was here for testing...
Ferne Fedeli
No. California

On Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 11:10 PM, cboriskin@... [EquineCushings] <EquineCushings@...> wrote:

I normally give the West Nile Vaccine to my horse annually in May. I was recently told that the vaccine should not be given to horses with Cushings. Has anyone heard of this?

Horse Vaccination Protocol | Depaolo Equine Concepts Health Library

Horse Vaccination Protocol | Depaolo Equine Concepts...
Written by Mark DePaolo, DVM.  COPYRIGHT © 2012 All rights reserved. What is vaccine overload?
Preview by Yahoo

  Cynthia Boriskin from CA

  Tucker 10/10 

Re: NOW Winstrol Woes, WAS sex steroids


Hi Sharon,

Though Dr Kellon has answered your question about Winstrol, I feel I must speak up and relate

our experience with it before we found the ECIR list.


In 2003, Winstrol was labeled for use as a treatment for anemia. Our pony was 23 yrs at that time. When blood testing revealed he was anemic, he was prescribed Newcells (B vit plus copper said the vet, but only recently found it also contained iron) and Winstrol injections in May 2003. 


After the second of dose of the steroid, there was swelling not only at the injection site, but also on both sides of his face from the eyes to the nostrils.  The front of his ears became so unbearably itchy that he rubbed the base of both of them completely raw where they attach to his head.  The insides of his ears developed dry, scaly skin that peeled off in rather large patches, somewhat like humans with sunburn.  It was impossible to keep him from rubbing these ears.   He never had any such problems prior to this.


Unfortunately, this treatment seems to have triggered ‘something’, and this condition of itchy, scaly ears persisted for YEARS. 


(We finally found that wiping the insides of the ears with a vinegar solution gave some relief, but this had to be applied several times a day, then daily, or every other day year round, depending on the severity of the itching.  The recipe is Vinegar 45%, Water 45%, 70%-Isopropyl Alcohol 10%.)


From then on, he became hypersensitive to many things, listed in CH. 

    For example, 2 months later in Aug 2003 he had full body hives that came on suddenly for unknown reasons immediately after exercise, and so grotesquely distorted his face and altered his breathing, that I feared for his life from anaphylaxis. 

    Every spring he would rub his face completely raw…I worried he would damage his eyes.  Spirulina and mineral balancing helped to some degree, but the problems persisted.


It was only around 2012 or so, that we saw resolution of this itchy ear problem.  That was when we finally understood what our lab results from Guelph really meant - we converted the results to Cornell units of measure.  By using what was considered at that time, higher doses of pergolide, ACTH was better controlled, although it had not been outrageously high.


One might say that because a few weeks earlier he was starting to pant but not sweat in the sun, that this was the start of Cushings symptoms, and adding this steroid aggravated that.   Or that this reaction was due to the Newcell because of pro-inflammatory iron - but he received several courses of Newcell in later months, and this did not make the ear condition any worse, or cause his face or injection site to swell.   (BTW, this didn’t solve the anemia either.)  Maybe it was the combination of the two drugs. 


     This occurred prior to any hay testing, mineral balancing, and no knowledge of Cushings/PPID or IR.  Anyway, both of us would rather not have had a Winstrol experience.


Eva and Mel

SW Ontario,  March 2005


Early CH,  Nov 2001 to Nov 2006;.htm


This direct link does not always work, it depends on Neo’s mood:

newer but incomplete CH  is in ECH 7, Eva and Mel, Ontario


Re: Ration Plus or Forco?

Nancy C

Most probably gastric. In previous discussion about Forco v Ration Plus you were having gastric issues that cleared up with the RP.  Here's the message.


Some horses don't lie the taste of yeast.

Nancy C in NH
ECIR Moderator 2003
FACT: To diagnose IR, the ECIR Group recommends a non-fasted, simple blood draw for serum insulin, glucose and leptin and the use of VA Polytechnic Proxies. See E. M. Kellon, VMD, Diagnosis of Insulin Resistance and PPID, 2013 NO Laminitis! Proceedings,

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

>>Some horses are allergic to yeast used in Forco<<

What are the symptoms if a horse is allergic to Forco?

Cynthia from CA
Tucker 10/10

Sent from my iPad