Farriers formula and iron overload

lj friedman

I started farriers formula  as part of my emergency diet. Now that it is high in iron and I suspect iron overload, are there any products like farriers formula that are much lower in iron?  lj friedman san diego nov 2014


Re: Prevacox and pergolide


I just had a taste test sample from a friend, but it turned out to be about a week's worth for my mini, and with just one dose daily I saw a bit of  improvement in my mare, and I may consider ordering it to try for a full order worth once the product I already had is gone.   The 500 gram package will probably last my mini a year, ok so maybe only 6 months, but when I asked it sounded like it has a pretty good shelf life, so I'm probably going to give it a try and see if it does more for my mare than typical commercial supplements.

Contact My Best Horse and inquire about initial dosing when you can only get to the barn once daily, she might have good ideas on how to get it done.  She was good at answering my questions, although once it took her a little bit to respond.


MT 9/04

Re: IR Calculator and r/s/r bp


The first rinse is important as it gets the surface iron off the bp.  
If you can swing it you could do this at home and save yourself some hassle. A super easy way is to get some of those nylon paint strainer bags and put your bp in it for rinsing. I use those lace lock thingies and some stretchy cord to "tie" the bags shut.  I also have one of those little metal mesh thingies to cover the drain in case of bag malfunction. Though someone good with knots could use string?  A miller's knot perhaps?  

Rinse with running water (those cool shower hose things popular in kitchen sinks are great for this).  You can then fill the sink, soak, empty sink,rinse the bp again and set in a colander to drip for a bit.  Put the bag in a plastic bag to take to the barn.  
I do this daily with 50 oz (dry weight) of bp for my mare.  

Oh and since we're on the subject of rinsing bp, some people ask about shreds vs. pellets.  I remember Dr. K suggesting shreds over pellets because there is more surface available with shreds which means more iron gets rinsed off.

- ​LeeAnne, Newmarket, Ontario

ECIR Archivist 03/2004


Are you in the Pergolide Dosage Database?

ECIR Files Table of Contents


Taken For Granite Art - Lightweight Cement Sculpture and Memorials

Re: Prevacox and pergolide

lj friedman

I  looked at move ease and they want an initial dosing 2 times a day for quite some time.  I wont be able to dose more than once a day.. Should I still consider this product?  lj friedman san diego nov 2014



Re: Prevacox and pergolide


I can't answer your question about the prevacox, but many on the group use the Mov-Ease from My Best Horse for arthritis aches and pains in their Cushing's and IR horses.  Arthritis pain, My Best Horse Anaheim, CA Mov-Ease



MT 9/04

Re: Prevacox and pergolide

lj friedman

thanks for the reply. I read that people are using turmeric instead of prevacox?  it is cheaper and more effective?  I will r/o laminitis before I treat for arthritis,. thanks for the heads up.. lj friedman san diego nov 2014. 






Re: Prevacox and pergolide

Nancy C

Make sure you have you new vet check the feet via  nerve bock to rule out laminitis as Dr Kellon suggested on  Horsekeeping. Laminitis is very often misdiagnosed as arthritis.

Trim can have a huge effect in how these old boys move.

I would not use Previcox unless you are sure it is arthritis and have exhausted the other methods recommended here. Starts with balancing the diet, then adding in things like Movease from mybesthorse, chondroitin, Hyaluronic acid.

Because he is IR, you may need to stay away from Glucosamine. In any event, I would not use that until you have things better understood and under control.

Nancy C in NH
ECIR Moderator 2003
FACT: Standing on cement significantly reduces blood flow to the equine foot.
See R. M. Bowker, VMD, PhD, Nerves, Nerves, Nerves: Why Are They So Important To The Horse?  2013 NO Laminitis! Proceedings,
See RM Bowker, VMD, PhD, The Vascular Cushion Of The Frog What Does It Do?  2013 NO Laminitis! Proceedings,

Re: Trim Review and Shedding Question -- 2nd Post

Suzanne Mansolilli

Don' t know if this got overlooked or if my photos aren't good enough -- please just let me know if I need to have them re-taken.  Thanx!

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

Just wanting a little help with my trim, if someone could check the latest photos  I just posted.  I'm living out of the country right now, so am relying on my farrier to follow the original markups and trim guidelines that Linda did last fall.  New markups and comments would be wonderful. 

Also a question about shedding.  I hear from the barn owner that Monty is the only one of 26 horses that  is not shedding out.  His bloodwork results are posted in his CH (link below).  He was last tested for ACTH (32.5) by Cornell  in December 2014 after having been on 2mg Prascend since Oct 2014.  He is still on the same dosage, but is not shedding.  Is this normal or is it time for more blood work?


 SuzanneM and Monty

Western Colorado -- July, 2014

Case History: & Monty/

Photos:  ECHistory8

Prevacox and pergolide

lj friedman

Some friends saw Jesse today and we moved him in the roundpen and they made the following comments.. ( one of the friends  is a small animal vet with a horse)
Lame on all 4 feet esp in the front.. probably due to arthritis
Neck and back and rt hip off as well. ( I know he has a bad back.. has had for a while)
Talked about prevacox and/or some supplement to help with the arthritis.

I was wondering what others that have a senior horse with cushings/IR are using for arthritis, etc? thanks. LJ Friedman san diego   I did a search of the files and it seems that some of the pertinent discussions would not allow me to open the files I'm wondering if 156 mg tablet a day is a good idea? If I could get it at the same time I give the 1 mg prascend?   I am in the process of making an appointment with another vet named Dr. Silverman who is supposed to be quite good with metabolic and was a previous Ferrier. I'm a little disappointed in myself for not realizing how uncomfortable jesse is and that is due to my newness to horses. With that being said ihe was being walked  six days a week byone of the owners the ranch where I board so that makes me feel a little unsettled as well. I walk him now. Thanks I posted this on housekeeping and it was suggested to me to move it over here.



Hi "tbme1929",

Welcome to the group!  Sorry to hear that you are having so much trouble with Millie.  I see lots of things to address in your note, but what we really need you to do, to get all the necessary details, is to fill out a case history (CH) on your horses(s).  A CH provides us with the details we need to help you better.  To fill out a CH, you will need to join one of our sister sites called ECH8.  Once you join, just follow the directions for filling out your CH.  Here's a link for that site:  If you have any trouble joining, just let us know and we will send you an invite.  Meanwhile, I will explain our philosophy to you and address some of your concerns.  We follow a philosophy called DDT/E.  That stands for Diagnosis,Diet, Trim and Exercise.  So let me explain each aspect and give you some details.

Diagnosis:  PPID and IR are 2 separate conditions with some similar and overlying symptoms.  You don't mention the ages of your horses, but PPID is more a disease of age (usually >10, but not unheard of under ) and IR is a metabolic condition that certain breeds are more prone to.  You mention that Millie had "normal glucose and insulin levels" but a diagnosis of insulin resistance is often made in the face of the labs normal ranges. There is a place in the CH form where you will fill in the results along with the labs normal ranges.  You can also upload a hard copy of the labs in your CH folder if you to want as well.  Meanwhile, you can enter your glucose and insulin levels into the IR calculator to see what your values show.  Here's a link to the IR calculator: 

To get a proper diagnosis of IR and/or PPID, we suggest these 4 tests:  ACTH, insulin, glucose and leptin levels on a NON-fasting horse.  The blood requires special handling and the details can be found on our website here:  The reason is it so important to get a full diagnosis is that PPID is treated with medicine (pergolide) and IR is treated with Diet.  A horse that has both, and many PPID horses are also IR, will need both pergolide and careful dietary management.  So what Diet do we use?

Diet:  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 too be used only temporarily until you can get your hay tested and balanced.  An important part of the emergency diet is soaking your hay for an hour in cold water or 30 minutes in hot water (not 24 hours) 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.  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 can be very high in sugar!  No sugary treats (including carrots and apples), no molasses or molasses containing supplements.  No red/brown salt blocks (whites only).  You are actually in very good hands with the Forage Plus. You can have your hay tested and a custom mineral plan made through them.   The winter hoof formula may come close to balancing your hay, but it's also important to test for the sugar and starch content and tight mineral balancing is even more important in the face of PPID and/or IR.

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.  Often, the trim is the last piece of the puzzle to fall into place.  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:   Keep in mind that a "rehab trim" is not going to look like a normal trim for some time.  Take a look at our website for details about a realigning trim: 

Exercise:  The best IR buster there is!  But a lamintic horse should never be forced to move.  I see where Millie needed boots for transitioning to barefoot, but do you currently have her in boots and pads?  They may really help her to get more comfortable.  When she able, hand walking in long straight lines with no tight turns.  

I think what you are learning, which many, many of us in this group have learned, is that some (ok, MOST--almost ALL) IR horses cannot tolerate grazing AT ALL.  If you want to put her out to move around, close the hole in her muzzle.  Just make sure she doesn't go more than 6 hours without food.  It can be very hard to wrap your head around the idea of a horse that can't graze.  Read this post from Jaini to help get that thought into perspective:  

As far as the elevated AST and CPK, we really need the numbers, but these elevations could be coming from the muscle soreness you describe.   Please read this post from Dr Kellon which contains this:
> > SGOT(AST) 393 120-350 normal
> > CPK 481 normal 50-200

These are both muscle enzymes. SGOT can be liver too but without any 
other liver enzymes elevated, and with CPK elevated, it's almost 
certainly coming from muscle. Moderate CPK elevations like this are 
fairly common in IR/Cushing's horses, likely secondary to poor energy 
supply to the muscle caused by the IR. Any intramuscular injection 
could also do it, fall or even recent exercise or a heavy bump/kick. 
With the CPK higher than SGOT, may have been something that happened 
Though the numbers are not your lab results, the gist of the message may be pertinent to your situation as well.  Please post your results.
Full post here:  

So, you have lots to read and some work to do getting a CH done for Millie.  Lots of great information on our website ( and in our files, and old messages.  We ask all members to sign their first name, date of joining and general location each time they post.  Once you get your CH done, please add a link to it in your signature as well.  It really helps the volunteers to find it faster and answer your questions faster.  Hang in there!  And ask any questions that you have!

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

Re: Invite to ECHorseKeeping please?

Lorna Cane

Re: My mare

Mandy Woods

Hi Molly,
Welcome back! The first thing we need you to do is join the ECH8 group which is where the Case Histories are filed. Please fill out the questionnaire and use the link to your CH every time you sign off. This really helps the volunteers find you faster and see the BIG picture! We want the details.

Here's the link and I will also send you an invite.

We still use DDT/E. This is DIAGNOSIS, DIET, TRIM and EXERCISE. You've started your Diagnosis. What month was the blood tested and which lab did your vet use? We look for labs within the normal range. Some things we have to take into account are seasonal rise, air temperature , what was fed before the draw, trailered or exercised before the draw. At the very least you have a base line. The months of March April and May are when the ACTH is the lowest naturally. Starting the end of Aug you will want to retest to make sure her numbers don’t start climbing for the rise. There is also a genetic component to this. Some lines are easy to follow. Could your mare have been upset eating late? or early? Or could her ACTH be dropping now because it was possibly higher? The rise ends around the end of December.

Did your vet also test for IR? We need blood sent to Cornell for Insulin/Glucose and Leptin on a non fasting horse. You said you just fed hay before the Cushings test. Is your hay tested? If not high would push her values up out of the normal range when diagnosing IR. It will not effect the Cushings value. Are you sure your vet handled the blood correctly? Not leaving it in a truck for hours before spinning it down and separating the serum? Bet you didn’t have to worry about refrigeration! Cornell says we have up to 4 hours to separate but we must keep the samples chilled. Most of us try to do that step within one hour of the draw.

IF you hay is not tested, please send a cored sample (20% of your bales) to and get the Trainer # 603 for $54. Your sugar value (ESC) will tell you if you need to soak/drain the hay. We want below 10% combined sugar/starch a day. Then you will receive help getting the minerals balanced. This DIET supports Cushings as well as Insulin Resistance.

TRIM is a balanced foot with heels lowered and toes backed. You have not mentioned any hoof issues.

EXERCISE is great for IR horses if they can do it. Even hand walking has benefits.

You don’t mention any symptoms like long winter coat, slow to shed, goopy eyes, loss of top line, muscle wasting. Please include a body view of her and pictures of her feet in the ECH8 file.

Have a read over at It will answer many of your questions! And of course ask us too.

Here are some more links you will find useful.

Welcome back.

Mandy in VA
EC Primary Response
OCT 2003

Re: IR Calculator

Lorna Cane

>  My vet agreed that it would be helpful to call Cornell and get a full thyroid panel.. for cornell this is FT4. T4 and T3.  Would getting the additional results make sense?  Im fine with Cornell running these tests.. but to have to re-draw blood to send to MI is certainly an option but I'm not sure it is worth it.. ) as you know, I know nada about horses.

It's up to you, Lj.

This is from Lavinia's message to you yesterday :

If you want to run a full thyroid panel -  TT3, FT3, TT4, FT4 - the blood sample needs to be sent to Michigan State University as they are the only lab that can do the equine FT3 test. As Nancy mentioned, the low thyroid is probably due to Euthyroid Sick syndrome, where it is secondary to other causes and will self-correct once the other causes are fully addressed. In Jesse's case, this would be the IR, PPID, possible iron overload and the mineral imbalances in his diet. 

Would be good to reread the entire message.

Lorna in Ontario,Canada
ECIR Moderator 2002

*See What Works in Equine Nutrition*

Re: IR Mare

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

Yahoo acting up. Hope this isn't a duplicate.  I would try the human liquid Albuterol, 1 mg per 100 lbs body weight, 30 minutes before work.

Eleanor in PA
EC Co-owner
Feb 2001

Invite to ECHorseKeeping please?

tara sullivan

Hi.  I would like to join in the other group for horses without IR or Cushings.  Can't remember exactly the name...but could someone send me an invite??
Thank you.
Tara 2015

Re: Iron overload in horses

Lorna Cane

>  If I want to tighten up the iron, where is it coming from?  I;m thinking that an extra rinse of bp isnt going to correct all of this iron ? His diet.. mtn sunrise timothy pellets, bp 2.4#,, farriers formula ds, tc omega max flax, salt and vit e and selenium 

What Dr. Kellon has said many times  is very true. Halfway measures get half way results.

The extra rinse of the beet pulp will help wrt the iron in the beet pulp.

Type Farrier's Formula and Iron into the Search Messages box, for some help with this.

Every seemingly little step we can take to correct imbalances for our horses is worthwhile.

Lorna in Ontario,Canada
ECIR Moderator 2002

*See What Works in Equine Nutrition*

Iron overload in horses

lj friedman

I read Dr. Kellon's article, Thyroid Misconceptions in Horses.  My takeaway is that iron overload can cause low thyroid readings. I looked at my feedxl report ( I know we dont like to use feedxl because they don't help balance with proper ratios)  and it shows for Jesse's daily intake that his iron is 1748 mg per day which is 385% over RDI of 454mg RDI.  If I want to tighten up the iron, where is it coming from?  I;m thinking that an extra rinse of bp isnt going to correct all of this iron ? His diet.. mtn sunrise timothy pellets, bp 2.4#,, farriers formula ds, tc omega max flax, salt and vit e and selenium  lj friedman san diego nov 2014


Re: IR Calculator

lj friedman

Thanks for the reply.  My vet agreed that it would be helpful to call Cornell and get a full thyroid panel.. for cornell this is FT4. T4 and T3.  Would getting the additional results make sense?  Im fine with Cornell running these tests.. but to have to re-draw blood to send to MI is certainly an option but I'm not sure it is worth it.. ) as you know, I know nada about horses.. I will not treat the thyroid , as you discussed and will do a better job of getting the iron out of the beet pulp.. are there any other sources of iron overload?  Jesse gets farriers formula ds, . tc omega flax and 3 oz table salt and vit e and 2mg selenium via yeast.
As well, I will retest acth april/may.. If I had to zoom in on when to test exactly, would may 01 be better than may 31?  vice versa?  (I can set up a reminder to retest acth on the best day you suggest..) I feel a bit sad that he is IR and cushings.. I was hoping for just cushings,,. but am glad he is tested and I know how to proceed, with the group's help !!! thanks again... I try to soak up all the info you relay to me

lj friedman san diego nov 2014. 



Re: IR Mare

Donna Coughlin

Dr. Kellon,

Your mention of clenbuterol or albuterol for a horse with COPD (or other breathing issues) caught my eye. In years past, you've given me recommendations for my IR COPD horse, Robin Goodfellow. He is a 15.2, 950 lb., 11 year old Welsh Cob/Arab cross. His case history is below. Aside from his breathing, and the persistent IR (insulin, leptin high on semi-annual blood tests, putting him at high risk for laminitis), he is very healthy and has never had any footsoreness. He is in moderate work 5 days a week. Case history link is below.

During the winter, his breathing problems lessen, but they still affect his desire and ability to canter for anything but short distances (a few 20 meter circles). He's relatively comfortable at the trot, again better in the winter. I might add, he's a wild man when free lunging, although it definitely causes abnormally heavy breathing. If past years are any indication, these breathing problems will worsen in the spring and summer. He is totally comfortable when not working. Obviously I worry that this impacts our ability to work him enough to bring down his insulin. I was very interested to read in your post that clenbuterol or albuterol lower insulin; I wasn't aware of that.

He is on steamed hay (thank you to Joan for THM article on steamers) and enough TC Lite to carry his supplements, which include minerals balanced to hay, j-herb, vit. E, iodized salt, flax, Mov-Ease, spirulina, ALCAR, chondroitin and MSM (the last amounts match those in Uckele's Lung EQ). Thanks also to your suggestion, he gets Jet Breath every day. Several years ago, I tried iodide salt (also at your suggestion) and it didn't help. Last year I was both steaming and soaking his hay (somewhat high s/s) and the soaking made no difference to his breathing. 

Once, we tried using an human inhaler (similar to one sold for horses) with albuterol, and that dose before being worked actually seemed to help, hard to say because we were only able to administer it once. He completely panics, and now even when he hears a soda can opening, he has a heart attack. So no inhaler!

A friend's trainer treats a COPD pony with albuterol sulfate syrup, brand name "High Tech." Pony loves it. I was wondering if you would recommend this and at what dose? Or would clenbuterol be better? Does it come as an oral med? If it's preferable, what dose? I would ideally like to give it to him before he works--does that make sense? If so, how long before he works?

Thank you again for this group and for all your help. I'm sure mini Duke would no longer be causing mischief and joy if it weren't for all of you!

Donna Coughlin, Duke, Robin and Obi
CT 2009

My mare

Molly Kinney

Hello, group I have been a member here for years. I found this group to be very helpful with my cushings horse. He has since passed and now I have a mare who is eleven and an easy keeper
With my past experience I decided to do a cushings test so I would have a baseline for our futures years ...
So my vet called with her results( she was surprised at the number )
She tested at 42
My vet isn't concerned but I am
I have also in the past felt their thought process with this is different than this group( I trust this group information)
This horse is my only riding horse and I want her to be properly supported
She gets massages and chiro sessions :)
The vet seemed unconcerned that the number wasn't " too " alarming that if she were stressed it could be a little high
When she was tested it was at 11 am ( the vet was late)
The horse only had hay for breakfast
What do I need to do?
I don't remember the whole process for my other horse so I'm confused
Do I put her on pergolide?
The vet said she didn't see ANYTHING that would indicate a cushings horse and was surprised
And said she wouldn't do anything
I need guidance
M Kinney (c) 207-329-4259