Advice for ? for Vet

Kay Howitt <akkray@...>

Nora, this is really great news about you and your horse. Educating oneself is
always a good idea, isn't it? It can be a great challenge with Cushing's and
thyroid problems (and some other tricky conditions) but you seem to be having
real success. Good luck! Kay in AK

Nora & Gary <NRGDB@...>

Linda -
I Have been struggling for 5 months with founder horse with probable
Cushings. Vet said NOT to do dexamethasone suppression test as this can
CAUSE founder , or make it worse. Everything I read backs this up. We
started him on Permax because of the long coat (& founder) suggesting
Cushings. His glucose was a little high.
As far as the founder goes -along with the Permax we tried the frog pads
, the backward shoes , deep bedding , bute , etc...NO improvement clinically
in 3 months- he was VERY lame and "depressed".- finally found info at this
site , , pulled shoes
off and started doing "Strasser trim" ( or as close as I could get )slowly
lowering his heels, THREE TIMES A WEEK, and saw tremendous improvement in
the next month with his pain , but he was still "depressed"...seemed
"old"...I asked vet to check thyroid -we checked his thyroid levels once at
the "regular" lab and it was "normal"-but at the VERY BOTTOM of "normal"-
Vet didn't want to start him on thyroid-said test was not reliable-said it
was the cushings making him depressed and he didn't LOOK hypothyroid (he was
thin ).
Then we found out about BET labs testing "panel" for cushings - they
have you draw a fasting (hay ok , but no grain ) blood sample first thing in
the AM , then another one 8-10 hours later - they do cortisol levels ,
thyroid levels , and insulin levels on BOTH samples and say that it is
pretty accurate for diagnosis of cushings . They can also do ACTH levels to
confirm the diagnosis if questionable.
My horse's thyroid levels this time came back LOW on both samples , and
finally my vet agreed to start him on it ...we started with a low dose , to
not "jolt" his system too much (one teasp. of Thyro-l)... it was like the
horse came out of a coma...He walked across the pasture on his own for the
first time in 5 months ,just 5 days after the first dose - I was almost in
tears-He is now on 2 teasp a day - we will watch him for "jitteryness" and
cut him back if he gets too antsy.
We will do recheck of levels in one month with BET taking the first
sample "just before he usually gets his thyroid meds" to check the low
point, and again 8-10 hours later.
My tests for cortisol level variation were "normal" , BUT he is on
Permax , so it could mean he is just on proper dose. We may try to cut down
the dose later on and re-check cortisol levels.
Insulin levels were somewhat high . - we have been told to minimize his
grains and sugars (fruit) , and to feed mostly good grass hay , maybe "a
handful" of alfalfa , and work up to 1 cup of corn oil a day for fat
Also told to try Purina Strategy feed (high protein, high fat)- maybe
one pound a day at this point - I am not a fan of processed food , but I
read on another list that horses LOVE this stuff and will take ANYTHING
mixed with it , and boy is that ever true !!so he gets his thyroid meds in
the Strategy , mixed with a little rice bran (I was also told this was
better than wheat bran because that is too high in phosphorus, and rice bran
is high fat).
Other things that I think have helped (started all ABC stuff around one
month ago):
#1:"ABC -plus" brand supplement (he gets 1/2 dose because he gets #2)
#2:"ABC-HOOF" (for founder - to grow new hoof)
#3:"Bio-Meth" supplement from vet (1/2 dose) (because of also feeding HOOF)
#4 : ABC's Free choice "stress system" -6 mineral mixes that they free
choice as much as they want.My cushings/founder horse has been consuming
5-10 times as much Ca/Phos mix as my healthy horses , also eats allot of B
vit mix.
#5 : MSM
#6: Chondroitin sulfate/Glucosamine combo (NO YUCCA...not good for Cushings)
for basic old age creaking joints.

To make it even more confusing - it seems many believe that "cushing's" in
horses doesn't HAVE to be an actual pituitary "tumor" but just "disfunction"
which will sometimes wax and wane and MAY be partially controllable with
diet and supplements (talk to the tech at ABC -they are also studying a
"cushings supplement" ) and Strasser believes that it is reversible (a
metabolic "derangement" ) with proper diet ,living conditions, exercise ,
and the PROPER barefoot care.Her book " A Lifetime of Soundness" is very

OK ,so I think I've used up allot of megabytes here ...I just have been so
pleased to FINALLY see some improvement - I would like to think that someone
else wouldn't have to wait so long.-If it weren't for reading it on the net
I never would have been so insistent about the thyroid - and it made a world
of difference.



From: EquineCushings@...
To: EquineCushings@...
Subject: [EquineCushings] Digest Number 28
Date: Sat, May 6, 2000, 2:37 AM
The second vet said although the blood work didn't
cushings definitively that due to my horses coat, thisrt and peeing
she wouldn't rule it out, also the blood work wasn't completely
normal, the insulin and glucose levels were abnormal but not by much.
That vet has repeated insulin and glucose on her a few times and has
told me she's not in too bad shape and to ride her lightly. There
something not right with my horse so I want to find out what the
problem is.
Is anyone aware of any other disease that could look like cushings
that this consult vet could work-up? We did a thyroid work-up, it
Thanks, Linda