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  1. #1
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    Question winter laminitis in IR horses and keeping their feet and legs warm?

    can anyone explain this to me? are IR horses prone to winter laminitis because of reduced circulation caused by contracted blood vessels? at what temps does this become an issue? any other thoughts?
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  2. #2
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    I have an IR mare and have never heard of that?



  3. #3
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    This is more of a problem with a Cushings horse, rather than just an IR horse.

    Perhaps it is a contributing factor , but it is most likely due to stress and/or incorrect diet. Cushings horses have a harder time regulating thier temperature and get stressed more easily when they get cold. I believe this is directly related to the hormonal imbalances they are dealing with.

    As we know, stress mobilizes resources for the fight and flight response and can cause the liver to dump sugar into the blood stream to support the response, but then the sudden and extra sugar really cannot be effectively dealt with in a Cushings horse and therefore can lead to laminitis.



  4. #4
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    Until and unless there is a really good, solid understanding of the regulatory mechanisms in the hoof that are responsible for the shunting of blood in and out, I would be inclined to definitely NOT MESS with it. Horses evolved to stand around in the snow. No doubt Mother Nature knows best in this regard, even with horses that have questionable regulation of their foot circulation.
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  5. #5
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    Cushings horses benefit from having their legs wrapped in the winter time - the long haircoat is grown for a reason, yet many will still shiver without additional blankets. In the summer they often pant , evn when shaved.



  6. #6
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    friend has an IR mare that develops laminitis every time the temps go below freezing. coincidence?
    i honestly never paid much attention to this. however, my mare (currently IR and Cushings) had stronger digital pulses 2 weeks ago when we had the temps at night fall to around or below freezing.
    i'm not keen on putting my mare in socks, but i think there is something to it. i'm just trying to get more info.

    borntoride
    my understanding is that it's the IR horses that are mostly affected, not Cushings (although two often go hand in hand).
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  7. #7
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    I have an IR pony who has no issues with this, yet my friend's Cushing's pony does and that's what I understand is generally true for Cushings horses. If you have an IR horse that reacts this way, he/she may be in fact Cushings that has not been diagnosed yet.

    Cushings horses tend to crash when the seasons change in the fall and tend to have a need for higher Pergolide dosages throughout the winter, to keep them stable. Check the Equine Cushings group for more info on the subject.

    The only reason we see laminitis flare ups in just IR horses in the fall is generally due to ingesting stressed grasses on pasture. Stress makes the sugar levels in pasture grasses rise.



  8. #8
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    How exactly are grasses stressed in the fall?



  9. #9
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    Warm days, cold nights. During the day the grass produces sugar ,thanks to photosynthethis, that gets stored in the plant. That sugar is usually used up at night for growth. This does not happen in cold nights. The next day the process continues as long as we still have rather warm days and cold nights. The sugar continues to build up but is never utilized by the plant. What you get is really yummy grass that can be very unhealthy to sugar sensitive horses.

    See www.safergrass.org for more info.



  10. #10
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    Oh.

    I knew that part-I guess I just did not consider that 'stressed.'



  11. #11
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    Stress can be positive and negative. Anytime an imbalance is created, you will have a certain degree of stress.



  12. #12
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    Cushings horses benefit from having their legs wrapped in the winter time
    Can you cite your sources on this statement, please?

    the long haircoat is grown for a reason,
    The reason is that it's a manifestation of a disease process. Horses in tropical climates still grow a long haircoat when they have Cushings, no?
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BornToRide View Post
    Cushings horses benefit from having their legs wrapped in the winter time - the long haircoat is grown for a reason, yet many will still shiver without additional blankets. In the summer they often pant , evn when shaved.

    And mine grows a long coat in the summer!

    In Cushing's horses it is NOT for heat need. IT is a result of the tumor, is it not?

    Maybe you need to do a littttttle more research in this area before giving out internet advice.

    You are not being thorough or correct and could really create some problems for horses!!

    Please stop...it is irresponsible.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BornToRide View Post
    Cushings horses benefit from having their legs wrapped in the winter time -
    How does this benefit them?

    the long haircoat is grown for a reason,
    Yep, there's a reason. Keeping warm isn't one. Or do you think these horses need additional warmth in the Summer?

    It's a short-circuit in the function of the pituitary gland, which regulates the body's response to external stimulus such as daylight length and temperature. This is not new information.

    yet many will still shiver without additional blankets.
    Because, as stated above, the long coat isn't about warmth. And, even with a long coat, which isn't always correspondingly thick, the ability to regulate the body's temperature is still out of whack.

    In the summer they often pant , evn when shaved.
    See above.
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  15. #15
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    born to ride

    i'm very familiar with the cushings yahoo group. thanks for the reference anyway.

    back to my original post.
    does anyone else have any thoughts on this or experience? we are expecting some cold nights here this week and i intend to keep a close eye on my mare's digital pulses. she's only been diagnosed w/ Cushings since july, but she has been IR for 5 years. yet some of this stuff is new to me.
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  16. #16
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    JB, my friend rescued a true Cushings pony. I have seen her pant in the summer, even being shaved and shiver in the winter without a blanket on . She does improve with with a blanket and leg wrappings in the winter.

    Perhaps the coat is not just grown in response to having trouble regulating body temperature, but I do believe it is related. And perhaps not all Cushings horses react the same, but it apperas that most get too easily stressed, thanks to their hormonal imbalances and the way the adrenals are affected and benefit from being as stress free as possible.



  17. #17
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    She does improve with with a blanket and leg wrappings in the winter.
    So one horse benefits from a blanket/leg wraps and this extrapolates into recommendations across an entire disease spectrum?

    If I gave out careless and unsupported advice like that I'd probably be sued, and rightly so. I envy you people without medical licenses.
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  18. #18
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    Default Benefit of wrapping an IR/Cushings horse?

    The myth may have grown out of the idea that as laminitis is in part related to circulation in the foot, and in cold weather the arterio-venus shunt reduces circualtion to the foot (to stop heat loss thru the feet) that keeping the legs warm will stop the shunt.
    As for the truth, the situation is far more complicated than that.

    There may well be some horses who obtain benefit from wrapping their legs, either because of heat retetnion or some other cause, but in general I doubt that wrapping legs will benefit these horses.

    The best way to maintain circulation in the foot is through exercise, walking on ground hard enough to compress the plantar cushion, so that venous return from the leg is assisted.

    Diet, drugs and exercise are the best way to handle IR/Cushings laminitis.

    THe truth is that we really don't know why these horses get a chronic inflammation of the laminae nor why it sometimes flares up, but you can be sure that there is more than one reason.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BornToRide View Post
    JB, my friend rescued a true Cushings pony. I have seen her pant in the summer, even being shaved and shiver in the winter without a blanket on . She does improve with with a blanket and leg wrappings in the winter.
    how about "she does improve with a blanket"? If you change 2 things and notice a difference, you have no idea which things caused the difference. I'm highly skeptical about the legs being wrapped having any effect. If you want to make such claims, then for that you put "in my one experience, caveated by..." And then you go about some experiments with that pony/ponies like her. Blankets and no leg wraps, leg wraps and no blankets, both, neither. Seeing one horse "improve" by adding 2 things does not make either of them emphatically true.

    Perhaps the coat is not just grown in response to having trouble regulating body temperature, but I do believe it is related.
    So why does a Cushing's horse easily grow a thick "Winter" coat in August? It's not about the coat attempting to keep the horse warm. It's a broken thermal regulator that does what it wants.

    And perhaps not all Cushings horses react the same, but it apperas that most get too easily stressed, thanks to their hormonal imbalances and the way the adrenals are affected and benefit from being as stress free as possible.
    You're right, they don't all react the same. You're also right that hormonal balance issues can and do cause all sorts of stress issues. But that is an entirely separate issue.
    ______________________________
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  20. #20
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    My experience (n = 1) was that my Cushings horse, once he got through the fall, did his best in the winter. Always gained weight after becoming skeletal by August, and seemed most comfortable, temperature-wise, during the winter. In fact, when he started the kicking/screaming thing in the winter, one thing that minimized it was to leave him un-blanketed except on the coldest of nights (I wondered if it wasn't a tactile issue that the blanket irritated, possibly more EPSM related than Cushings).

    The fall was a challenge, however; all of his laminitic episodes were between August and October. I thought this was related to the temperature effects on the sugar content in grass, and to the effect of changing daylight on the pituitary system? Anyhow, once we got past October, we were usually back on the upswing with this horse.

    But again, it's only one horse.
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