Welcome to all the new members!!! Also, information and requests...

Robin <Eclectk1@...>

Hi Everyone,

Very very glad that our list is growing and proving to be useful, I
cannot tell you how good it makes me feel to have been able to do
something simple that turns out to help a number of people and
hopefully their horses also! WELCOME to all the new members!

What I would like to run by all of you and see what you think:

I'm considering starting to put together several pages or files that
would basically give us a concise cross reference of symptoms,
treatments, odd things noted, new medical updates... sort of a faq
sheet for cushings that we would try to keep as current as possible
as we learn new things. They could be placed in our onelist files
and save people from having to read through each and every post.
Then we could also put together a links page to other related
information we find out there that is pertinent, such as the basic
medical information on Cushings and its direct symptoms and hormonal
effects. I also think it might be very useful to have some photos of
our horses, particularly for those of us who can send in both "pre-
cushings" and "post-cushings" photos.... I would want each of you to
help provide input on what you feel is important and so on for the
FAQ files... What do you all think?

Now, on some of the more recent questions:

THYROID: I don't remember the exact cycle, but one of the first
things Cushings does is to change the hormonal balance and decrease
thyroid output. This is partially responsible for the inability to
regulate heat/cold well, the long hair coat, and the irritability
"leave me alone" attitude that many Cushings horses develop. Thyroid
supplement can help tremendously and may also help prevent
laminitis. Its a second line defense to treat symptoms, however, and
pergolide or cyproheptadine (so long as it remains effective in the
particular horse) actually help more. They CAN be used together. If
your horse still has a long hair coat that won't shed, acts sluggish
or "he's just slowed down with age some" or that sort of thing -- add
thyrol-l. I found a place you can mail order $153ish for 10 lbs
(last a LONG time, months and months) WITHOUT a prescription. NOTE:
Something the vets have NOT recognized, but human endricrinologists
have & I've proven with my own mare -- do NOT feed vitamin mineral
supplements in the same feeding as Thyrol-L it interferes with the
uptake and you have to feed literally twice as much to get the same
effect. Obviously talk to your vet FIRST, but generally you start
with 1/2 scoop, in a few days go to one... increase from there as
needed & my 900 lb mare is not allowed more than 3 scoops a day (tiny
tiny scoop). My vet was very comfortable allowing me to vary her
dosage according to her hair coat. It takes about two solid weeks to
see an effect on the coat -- when she gets enough Thyrol-l, the
excess hair begins shedding beautifully. Boarderline she sheds like
mad AND grows it in as fast as she sheds... not enough, wooly buggar
winter coat. Of course you can't do this in the winter, you won't
see it when they have a true winter coat.

CORTISOL AND STRESS: Next, another immediate effect of Cushings is
to cause the horses system to begin to produce a tremendous amount of
cortisol. Cortisol is a natural steroid that the body generally
produces increased amounts of when under severe stress (I gather
there is always at least a little produced). Unfortunately prolonged
cortisol production takes quite a toll on the body. It depresses the
immune system. It can shut down the reproductive system (first
definitive sign that something was wrong with my mare -- she quit
cycling entirely, tiny 'mushy' ovaries on palpation). The excess
cortisol is PROBABLY what makes the horse respond poorly to stress --
in effect their bodies are already feeling 'stressed' so it doesn't
take much more stress for them to have a hard time coping.

DIABETES -- DRINKS AND PEES EXCESSIVELY: Next -- polydipsia/polyurea
(sp?) -- drinking too much and peeing too much. This is quite common
with Cushings and is a STRONG warning sign of either diabetes or
impending diabetes. I've been SO lucky my mare hasn't gone this
direction. Cushinoid horses apparently do NOT deal with sucrose
well, its too much for a diabetic or boarderline diabetic system.
The latest information I've gotten is:

RELATES TO FEED: Take your horses OFF any sweet feed or
molasses/sugar containing feeds if at all possible. They also cannot
handle ALFALFA well, even if they eat it better than grass hays. My
vet, when my mare had her second bout of laminitis about 3 months
ago, told me it was CRUCIAL to get her totally OFF of alfalfa (its
almost the only thing reasonable we can get out here in the desert)
and OFF of sweet feeds. He had me switch to grass hay, Equine Sr.
and MOST importantly Rice Bran supplement to provide FAT rather than
protein and carbs for her to maintain a decent weight.

She wouldn't eat the bermuda grass (not coastal bermuda, its a desert
bermuda & very very fine bladed). She DOES eat timothy just fine.
If she hadn't I would have had to go to grass hay blocks/long
pellets. The vet said if at all possible ZERO Alfalfa, its just too
high/hot for a Cushinoid horse.

Ok, that's it for me for tonight -- I have one that's developed an
abcess and I've got to get to the barn and soak it...

Please let me know what you think of the FAQ and Photo idea... and
any other suggestions you might have.

My best to all of you and yours!

Kay Howitt <akkray@...>

Hello Robin and Susan and Everyone Else...

Robin, I so appreciate this list and just wish I'd known of it last year. I
think your idea is great!!!! It would be such a great resource. I'd be happy
to share photos, but there is really no obvious difference in my horse's
look before and after diagnosis. His damage is internal and show up in his
feet and in slow healing.

Susan, your story of Darby is really inspiring to me and it helps give me
the faith to believe I will know when to give up the fight.

Good luck to you both and to the rest still coping with Cushings. Kay in AK