It really depends upon whether it is a "true" Cushings, with a confirmed tumor on the pituitary. Many of the Cushing's like symptoms that we see in horses are tied to nutritional deficiencies - studies have tied it to a lack of magnesium and other minerals. These deficiencies cause a cascading failure of the endocrine system. This can also result in laminitis, hormone imbalances, long hair, etc.
I always prefer to correct the diet for at least 4 months with a grass based forage, NO sweet feeds (if any grain I only use whole grains, preferably pelleted, preferably organic), free choice minerals and a chelated daily vitamin/mineral supplement. I support the endocrine system with additional bio-available iodine and trace minerals with blue green algae and perhaps Maca root.
The standard veterinary approach is a daily chemical called Pergolide, which affects the pituitary, thereby starving the tumor. Once a horse is started on this, shutting down the pituitary function will eventually cause a cascading failure of the endocrine system - thyroid, etc. Which then results in the horse being put on meds for Thyroid function.
This is why we don't use Pergolide unless A) the tumor has been confirmed through testing and B) we have already tried to rebalance the endocrine system nutritionally. We have had excellent success, even with confirmed tumors, with delaying the need for Pergolide for a year or two and delaying the endocrine failure while on the Pergolide.
that sounds great. thanks heaps for telling me. this mare is mainly on grass, hay in the winter, and she has a grain for older horses-extruded. i think she will need more supplements and i'll checkit out. again, many thanks. we are taking her for a blood test tomorrow. and from what i've read, i was wondering how all these horses had a pituitary turmor. it did seem off to me, with many being aged. the imbalance seems more correct.
Good catch Vicky - I really detest the Senior Feeds that are marketed to horse owners. They truly are chemically preserved agriwaste with little or no actual nutrition - simply empty calories. They acidify your horse and actually increase the amount of alkaline minerals he then needs (calcium, magnesium, potassium). I prefer to add calories with pelleted timothy or, when grain is needed, I feed Dynamite's PGR (whole, pelleted, tested-chemical-free grain ration). I feed cup of PGR where most people feed 1 - 3 lbs of sweet feed. We also feed every horse 4 free choice minerals and Dynamite's daily Vit/Min.
I don't have any familiarity with the Mitavite Gumnuts or the Protexin. We only worm with herbs and clays so never worry about colic. (Never have had any in our herd). I would take a look at the vitamins and salt and evaluate them for the form of minerals that they are providing. Same with the added magnesium - is it a truly available form such as an amino-acid chelate? Or just inorganic magnesium salt? If she is chubby that may be a clue to the balance of her endocrine system. Maybe some blue-green algae to support the thyroid?
Vickie- You need a definitive prognosis of Cushings or Insulin Resistance first. Even though the treatments are parallel in many ways there are different things to be aware of. My horse is Insulin Resistant (1 of 3 in the barn) and in our barn there is a Cushings horse. 2 are are senior and were not overfed mine I bought that way because she had foundered in the field at 12 yrs old, the Cushings is senior and it became apparent at 17 yrs old, with vision changes and pain. We feed almost the same things but there is a big difference between a Thyroid driven diet/exercise and an Insulin driven diet/exercise. There are some really good sites to visit and learn more about these things but you really need to know for sure what the problem is first. here is one site I visit often for tips. www.ecirhorse.com/
many thanks for that. as charlotte said she tested positive for cushing's but the vet was not knowledgeable about treatments. he did some extra blood work but left out the insulin test. he didn't even know the relationship... i have advised charlotte to ring up another vet who is more specialised. will let you know the details...