stress levels vs symptoms

Kay Howitt <akkray@...>

Good Morning!

I can't really answer your question directly, but I have observed great swings
in my gelding Domino's reactions and apparent stress. He has days when he is
quite reactive, meaning he seems nervous about ordinary things. Other days he is
like his old steady self and ignores little things. I have no way to tell what
his body is doing on the inside on his nervous days, but I can tell his blood
pressure shoots up by looking at the veins close to his skin. He also will
defecate if stressed, so that's another sign.

He did have an episode of great stress back in late February when his companion
ran off up the street for a few minutes. Dom was frantic, dropped 20# and was
soaked to the skin even though it was a cold day. Within 2 weeks he began an
episode of lameness which we are still dealing with. I cannot be certain if that
stress created a laminitis bout, though, as there were mechanical forces going
awry inside his feet at the same time.

It's just my personal opinion, but I think the 'bad' days when a horse is
feeling more stressed do harm them. I try very hard to keep things stressfree
around the stable, but I am unable to keep my horse calm at all times. His own
body chemistry is causing him to react stressfully. I know how frustrating it
can be for you, as it is for me. We just can't control all aspects of this
disease. Kay in AK



That does make sense about stress. THe reason we took in Strider was she was
no longer coping with life as a lesson horse. We try to keep the horses on a
pretty predictable routine here but there's always something beyond our

:-) Ann

Makyla Waters <twolegged@...>

Hello everyone - Isn't the stress levels of a Cushings horse also a symptom
of their status? Part of their health issues is the imbalance of cortisol
in their system that causes many things to go out of whack (good medical
term!) and both cyproheptadine and pergolide are aimed at changing this
overproduction. The excess cortisol is part of the founder issue. This web
site has a great article by Karen Briggs on Cushings Syndrome (I understand
she is updating this article soon for Equus). This one was written in 1997.

Robin - what is the address for that great web site? I didn't get it...

Take care, Makyla & 4-legged friends

Kay Howitt <akkray@...>

Yes, you're right about this Makyla...but it's impossible to know at any one
moment what the cortisol levels are. My horse appears to be doing well with the
pergolide, but sometimes he still acts as though his cortisol levels are running
higher. He just seems more reactive than in years past...maybe there's not so
much excess cortisol as to be causing major symptoms, but still his chemistry is
not quite normal.

I'm glad Karen Briggs is updating her article on Cushings. I'll be looking for
it. Kay in AK