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Re: RC: Cushing's Syndrome

Carolyn -

I had a retired old mare who was essentially idle - reasonably content -
but one day just looked lazy, no appetite, etc.  We pulled a CBC & her
hematocrit was through the floor (I think it was 12!).  Next step was
ACTH, just on the vet's hunch, and her level was in excess of 960!  (960
was as high as the test went) Her only real presenting symptom (besides
the anemia) was coat changes that had started a couple years earlier. 
Not shaggy, just a little rougher.

We did some acupuncture (she showed me the points & gave me explicit
instructions) for the blood, and put her on cyproheptadine (lucky me, in
those days it was $25 for 1000 pills).  She got about 20 4 mg pills
2x/day.  She perked up & became herself again.

We also did a fecal occult blood, which was positive, suggestive of
proximal enteritis (ulcers).  Possibly contributed to the anemia.

Unfortunately, she also had a brutal case of melanoma.  She died within
about 9 months from a malignant melanoma under her tail, which finally
started to bleed out & we couldn't stop it.

I miss her terribly, she was my first CTR horse.


Carolyn Burgess wrote:
> I'm hoping to get some information from all of you concerning Cushing's
> Syndrome and your personal experience with it.  My favorite mare (don't tell
> my other horses) was just diagnosed with Cushings.  She tested at 276.8
> pg/ml for the equine endogenous acth.  When I asked my vet what was the
> highest reading she'd seen and my horse was it.  However, she doesn't have
> alot of the symptoms that accompany Cushings, the main reason I asked for
> the test was that her appetite and body shape changed this winter.  She has
> always been shaggy in the winter, but completely sheds out to a sleek, shiny
> coat.  Winter is always a difficult time with her; she is a difficult eater
> and always loses alot of weight over the winter and she is not a great water
> drinker.  So winter always required a great deal of vigilance with her.  Not
> this winter.  Her hay consumption doubled, from about 15 pounds of grass hay
> per day to about 25 pounds per day. She was getting so fat I reduced her
> grain from 6 pounds/day of Omolene 100 to 2 pounds/day.  Her normal weight
> was between 815 - 830, and she is about 15H.  She is now at 875.  She
> doesn't have the increased water consumption and urination.  She will be
> taking medication, I can't remember what of the treatments she will be
> getting.
> Let me get to my questions. I don't really know how old she is, but she is
> anywhere between 19 and 23 years old.  I'd like to hear from anyone who has
> or had a Cushings horse and how the treatments went or are going.  Did you
> get good results from the drugs and how bad were the side effects
> (halucinating is one of them).  My vet also told me about an herbal
> treatment for Cushings, but she doesn't know the name of it or how it works,
> but she is not averse to this, so if anyone knows of this, I'd like to hear
> about it.  I've found alot of information on the web, which I am still
> digesting, and my mare is fine at this point.  My husband and I are planning
> on buying a ranch and moving, but this is still a couple of years away.  So
> I just want to buy enough time to be able to love and spoil her, and be able
> to bury her on our land.  Thanks in advance,
> Carolyn Burgess
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* * *
Abby Bloxsom
ARICP Certified Instructor
Level III Recreational and Distance Riding
Colebrook, CT USA

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