The test results for the ponies came back and both are positive for Cushing disease. At a baseline of 110, Dulce was 182 and Dancer was 462!! That wasn’t a surprise on Dulce but for Dancer, I guess that explains that the hoof issues we’ve been having for the last five years.
Knowing this, I realize that once again we’ve been playing Russian Roulette where a little too much grass, a little too much sugar, a little too much weight and the situation could spiral into an extremely dangerous, even a life threatening situation.
I picked up their Pergolide medication (Prascend tablets) with their full dose at .25 m or 1/4 a tablet. I started it today at half dosage (1/8 of a full tablet) for about two weeks as a loading dose to try to avoid the Pergolide Veil that Dr. Kellon and her Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistant webgroup have experienced.
In 6 months, I’m going to have the ponies re-tested again to make sure that this level of medication is controlling their disease.
On a personal note, Cushing Disease and I are old enemies. Cushing Disease is what killed my horse Pepper (or rather the side effects of laminitis which most likely ended in heart attack after 3 months of unrelenting stress).
Emotionally, this all took me by surprise but I shouldn’t have been surprised. Dancer is over 30 and now I know Dulce is over 20. I know Dulce lost a lot of topline last year and had a long hair coat which eventually shed near the end of summer.
Dancer has been battling hoof issues now for about 5 years; her winter coat was slow to shed and she does have a longer then normal hair coat but I chalked it up to age. All tipoffs pointing to Cushing Disease.
Like I discussed though with husband, many differences exist from the time that Pepper was diagnosed and I was helpless to today:
1.) I can now buy a low sugar feed. 10 years ago finding a low sugar horse feed in my area was impossible. Because Insulin Resistance is now being more widely recognized these feeds now have a market.
2.) Being in self board, I have my area set up for dry lotting the ponies. Something I didn’t have at any of my other setups.
3.) Balancing hay was impossible when I was boarding because hay suppliers were constantly changing. Now I buy my hay from the landowner where my horses are which means the hay is consistently the same in its composition. This allows for more accurate testing and thus better hay balancing.
4.) Supplements – finding them 10 years ago was far harder then today. Now that Cushing Disease and Insulin Resistance are in the public eye, where before many of these supplements were obscure, difficult, expensive and non-palatable to the horse, now I can find them in a form that a horse will easily eat.
5.) Pergolide is now FDA approved. This means it is easier to obtain and is consistent in its formulation. Hunting it down years before could be a nightmare.
6.) Money, money, money. My money situation is so much better then it was before. I can afford to buy the supplements that before I couldn’t. Flax seed, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Copper and Zinc, and meds, are all expensive and have to be bought, month in and month out.
7.) I have a great farrier now! My husband can maintain my horse’s hooves and keep them in shape.