Digest Number 8

Carla Davis <lmdavis@...>


Measuring the ACTH level
Dexamethasone suppression test
ACTH stimulation test
Insulin tolerance test
TRH (throid releasing hormone) test
are all tests that can be used in helping to diagnose Cushings

Here are a couple of web sites to refer to if you haven't already.
thehorse.com (then go to their Knowledge Bank; click on Care of the older
horse; then select the article on Cushings Syndrome). In the section on
diagnosing they talk about the different tests.

ruralheritage.com is a site mainly for draft horses but there is a lot of
information there. Go to their vet clinic page, then in Exam room II (scroll
down a ways) and there is a little discussion between the vet and a client
regarding Cushings.

As far as costs of treatment: yes it can get expensive. Cyproheptadine
(which use to be about $20-$30/month) jumped last fall to the $70-$100/month
price (ouch!!). That is about what I've been paying for my horse. HODWEVER,
I have just ordered a liquid suspension compounded by a lab in CT which will
be much cheaper. It is 100mg/ml cyproheptadine sold in 500ml bottles for
$165/bottle. My horse is currently getting 180mg cypro. so I figure
1.8cc/day for him which means the bottle should last 7-9 months. That makes
the cost around $20/month!!!

If your vet doesn't want to order and carry it for you he/she can call in
the perscription then you call in with a credit card# and they will ship
directly to you.

The company is Prescription Specialties 1(800)861-0933 (They have a web site

As for the other drug, Permax (pergolide). Very expensive! I checked out
costs at Christmas time and found that if I had to treat my horse with the
full dose it would be about $360/mo. I have heard that it is possible to
combine cypro and Permax and you may not have to use the full dose of
Permax. I've also read where a vet used permax in a much smaller dose on
horses and got very good results without as much risk of causing founder
(which I'm told can happen with that drug). Anyway, I have no experience
with using Permax so perhaps there's someone else out there can share their
experiences with it.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

-----Original Message-----
From: sentto-376841-8-lmdavis=wa.freei.net@...
Behalf Of EquineCushings@...
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2000 1:55 AM
To: EquineCushings@...
Subject: [EquineCushings] Digest Number 8

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There is 1 message in this issue.

Topics in today's digest:

1. RE: Digest Number 6
From: Donna Mire <dmire@...>


Message: 1
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 04:55:33 -0800 (PST)
From: Donna Mire <dmire@...>
Subject: RE: Digest Number 6

--- Carla Davis <lmdavis@...> wrote:
There are several different tests and many opinions on which is the most
accurate one for diagnosing. Cushings is difficult to be "absolutely" sure
because we can't look into their heads and actually see any tumors. .....His
first approach was to check the level of ACTH in my horses blood. ...the
step would be to do a Dexamethasone suppression test.<<

I have the vet going out today and tomorrow to do the Dexamethasone
test. Do we have information about how accurate this test is? What would
suggest doing if the cortisol levels are normal after this test?

Cushings is a pretty manageble disease if the horse responds to the
medication. The earlier the diagnoses the more likely you are to have good
results with the medication. Just remember that you are only treating the
symptoms. There is no way to treat the actual tumor.<<

I heard it could be pretty expensive to treat this disease. I heard $70 -
a month. Is that the case?

thanks alot for your feedback


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