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Alternative therapies for founder/cushings- update post 31 reike session

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  • Alternative therapies for founder/cushings- update post 31 reike session

    I'm just curious has anybody tried or is it even advisable to try alternative therapies (acupuncture, massage, chiro, reiki, etc) for a horse with founder or cushings? Why or why not-- would you try? If you did try, did it work?
    Last edited by M.K.Smith; Nov. 12, 2012, 12:19 AM.
    http://leakycreek.wordpress.com/ Rainbows & Mourning Doves Blog
    John P. Smith II 1973-2009 Love Always
    Father, Husband, Friend, Firefighter- Cancer Sucks- Cure Melanoma

  • #2
    I've used chaste berry to treat the symptoms or cushings reasonably sucessfully, but the primary treatment for founder is to reduce food intake, weight, suger intake etc. Then ensure hooves are well balanced so risk of pedal bone rotation is reduced.

    I don't think that any amount of massage, crystals in the stable or chanting is going to help the pony reduce weight if it doesn't happen alongside a reduction in food supplied.


    • #3
      don't think that any amount of massage, crystals in the stable or chanting is going to help the pony reduce weight if it doesn't happen alongside a reduction in food supplied.
      A hard truth, but a solid one.

      LESS CALORIES IN and MORE CALORIES OUT = WEIGHT LOSS seems to be one of the laws of nature that is argued with the most vigorously.
      Click here before you buy.


      • #4
        None of the therapies you mentioned have been demonstrated to be effective for Cushing's or founder and I don't know why they would be, except perhaps accupuncture for pain. I'd put the horse on peroglide and keep his weight down. Bute as needed. Exercise unless the horse is in an acute laminitic phase or just foundered. Lots of hand walking once the horse is able, starting slow, 5 minutes a day at first.

        Edited to ask: how severe is the pony's founder and how old is the pony?
        Last edited by grayarabpony; Sep. 13, 2012, 01:37 PM.


        • #5
          alternative therapies = DENIAL

          With founder reality sucks.


          • #6
            As the new owner of a pony that we found out to be not a little laminitic from the grass, but foundering due to out of control Cushings...I am considering some alternative therapies for him. But, not instead of treating him traditionally, just in addition.

            For example, I think this poor guy's entire body hurts from years of trying to get off his sore feet. Once we get him stabilized (fingers crossed we can), I am definitely considering massage therapy and/or chiropractic adjustment.

            However, I realize that won't take care of the Cushings, or the laminitis/founder. Those things already have a life of their own and need to be treated as such. But the rest of the horse might benefit from some additional alternative therapies...we're not ready for them yet, but hopefully he'll feel better soon and we can re-evaluate his needs.


            • #7
              No, I haven't...mainly because Pergolide does a dandy job of controlling my gelding's Cushings. It's affordable and incredibly effective.


              • #8
                Massage and acupuncture can definitely help with pain (and I believe acupuncture can help with Cushings, as well), but I would use them in addition to the more "traditional" therapies.

                And I have read some good things about people using Jiaogulan instead of bute for their foundered horses (over on Dr. Kellon's Yahoo group), but I think it would be a bit of a trial/error thing. One of the foundered mares that I was helping to take care of would have been eventually taken off bute and put on Jiaogulan, but she also had pain from a knee issue, so she was on bute to the last. She had a few massages a month to help with tight muscles, and that certainly did help her comfort a bit.
                Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!


                • #9
                  I have an elderly foundered mare boarded with me who got a new lease on life in Soft Ride boots with founder inserts. They were a last resort before euthanizing her, and she went from barely walking to walking confidently overnight. She is rotated to the point where as of June she was all of 3mm away from her coffin bone going through her sole. So aside from treating the cushings, IR diet, all that, you might think about trying a pair of these.

                  Once you've got the 'causes' addressed, I think some massage to help his body feel better would be great. Them gimping around on eggshells sure makes for a lot of general body soreness!


                  • #10
                    Massage will do wonders for the chronically foundered pony! Because of pain in the hooves for so long, they tend to stand and lay in ways that cramp up the muscles, and cause chronic sore muscles. And more pain is never a good thing!

                    What really helped my foundered pony (over 20 degrees rotation in the fronts, 15 in the hinds) was keeping his hooves warm (the cold REALLY affects him!)
                    And the right combination of supplements. He also loves his sand pit, which was a god send when he was going through episodes. He gets some soaked beet pulp, MSM, D-Carb Balance, and Omega HorseShine. He also gets as much soaked hay (if it soaks and has lots of sugar, it will get soaked twice) as he can eat. Probiotics are VERY important! Keeping the gut healthy will keep the hooves healthy.
                    "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."


                    • #11
                      The BO's TWH is going through a laminitis flare up now and those Soft Ride boots made a HUGE difference. He's gone from barely walking to dragging his owner all over the property. This horse is now getting trimmed by a trimmer who has experience with laminitic horses; his previous farrier had him trimmed all wrong.

                      My horse has Cushings, and I did try chaste tree berry powder, which did clear up the symptoms. He was put on Pegolide soon after when his bloodwork confirmed Cushings. I am a massage therapist and do work on my horse; he also gets Reiki (most animals love it) and I use acupressure on the points that are supposed to help with immune function. He also gets a chiro adjustment and acupuncture at least once or twice a year. (I, OTOH, haven't had a massage in over 3 years, just lots of Advil).

                      If my horse showed signs of laminitis, I would use ice and homeopathic remedies while waiting for the vet (and not instead of the vet). I've used homeopathy in the past for mild colic and it resolved it by the time the vet arrived.

                      Diet, a correct trim/shoeing and exercise are the most important things to do for an IR horse; the same, with Pergolide, for a horse with Cushings.


                      • Original Poster

                        Pony is 28 and not your typical founder/cushing's pony... she's skinny... way more ribs showing way more than I would like. She refuses to eat more than her determined amount of hay or feed. She no longer likes Alam... but she is eating The Mill's Smart Carb (for now). Beet pulp or any soaked feed is non-edible in her eyes. She's on bute, but still shifts back and forth and walks very slowly and stiffly. She also is on pergolide. My farrier does a good job. She's been dewormed. She was recently floated and has a pretty bad wave mouth.

                        But the pony is happy and bright eyed. She just deals with her condition. She's an amazing pony.

                        I'm just looking to see if there is something out there that I might be missing. I've only once tried alternative therapies on a horse of mine. But I know a lot of people get great successes and I'm just trying my best (on a budget) to do what I can to give my beloved old gal some greater comfort!
                        http://leakycreek.wordpress.com/ Rainbows & Mourning Doves Blog
                        John P. Smith II 1973-2009 Love Always
                        Father, Husband, Friend, Firefighter- Cancer Sucks- Cure Melanoma


                        • Original Poster

                          I also forgot to add... she is on a dry lot as well.

                          Tell me more about the Soft Ride boots? Do they stay on 24/7? If your horse doesn't show improvement can they be returned? Are they hard to fit? Do they stay on well?
                          http://leakycreek.wordpress.com/ Rainbows & Mourning Doves Blog
                          John P. Smith II 1973-2009 Love Always
                          Father, Husband, Friend, Firefighter- Cancer Sucks- Cure Melanoma


                          • #14
                            Can you fed her hay cubes? That is a good way to get more feed in her. My pony is a skinny metabolic, and once I started feeding him hay with my horse (so he got almost the same amount as the the horse, and he's a small) he put on just enough weight to look like I feed him enough food, lol.

                            If your pony is still uncomfortable, there is still something you have not found in her diet that is bothering her....is the hay 10% NSC or lower? If you are not sure, soak it. I lucked out this summer to have 1st cut that I did not have to soak, and I think that's what really made the difference in Timmy's weight. He liked it that much better, and was always ready for more, lol.

                            For me, I could care less if the pony is a bit ribby, I just want them comfortable enough to walk around.
                            "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."


                            • #15
                              I've watched several late stage PPID horses do really well when allowed 50% of their hay as alfalfa. It tends to be lower in NSC than grass hay, and the extra protein helps build muscle back, and its tasty enough to stimulate poor appetites.
                              Increasing pergolide dose is also really helpful, and often necessary in later stages of the disease. The average effective dose is 3 mg. Often compounders will make up a stronger suspension for the same or only slightly higher price. I know of one really skinny, toothless WB that was due to be euthanized, yet after having the pergolide dose increased, he did so well he was put back to work and was his feisty old self again.
                              Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


                              • #16
                                Katy Watts has excellent advice. If someone doesn't pipe up about the Soft Rides right away (I haven't used them myself), try PMing Eventgroupie. She's used them on her horse.


                                • #17
                                  The TWH is wearing his Soft Ride boots all the time now, except when it's muddy outside. She's afraid he might slip in them. His boots have the founder inserts too. They cost about $350. She talked to the company on the phone and they helped her order the correct size. They're heavy and large but have stayed on so far.

                                  He's still having pain and it's frustrating because the owner refuses to soak hay. She's looking into having shoes put back on and switching from bute to Previox; maybe the soaked hay would make the improvement she's looking for.

                                  Maybe the pony would benefit from pre- and probiotics to help her body utilize the food she is eating? Most horses like TC Sr. feed.


                                  • #18
                                    my cushings boy LOVED his acupuncture. Really saw a difference in him after he got it. Brighter, more energy, happier all around. Thats my two cents.


                                    • #19
                                      We used the Soft-Ride Boots after my Arabian, Willie, foundered from surgery/steroids, and then again after foundering from too much grass last December. He also has Cushings and is on pergolide. We only used them while he was on stall rest, so I don't know how, or if, they would hold up during turn-out in a field or pasture. Maybe they would be ok in a small, dry dry lot. I would not suggest using them in mud. They are very easy to put on and take off- God bless velcro!!! I never had them come off on their own. I am not sure how easy they are to fit, as Willie was at the vet hospital and they put him in the correct size. They made him very comfortable, and have held up well. Not cheap, I think ours were $240.00 three years ago, but well worth the price with as much comfort and relief as they gave Willie and how well they have worn.
                                      stained glass groupie


                                      • #20
                                        I can't see how acupuncture or massage would help IR or Founder so no I wouldn't consider using them.
                                        I have a senior mare that showed some IR/Cushings symptoms late last year and early this year until July/August. She grew an extra long winter coat that would not shed out. She also seemed to have sweet itch or something similar for the first time in her life. After consulting with my vet.....I changed her feeding plan. I had already deleted any feed that contained molasses early in the year. I started feeding her a 12% protein / 10% fat low starch pellet plus alfalfa pellets. Despite being in grass to her knees she cannot graze at all due to missing molars so instead of feeding her soaked alfalfa/timothy cubes and plain beet pulp pellets twice daily, I reduced slightly the amount of food she was getting am and pm and added another feeding mid day of soaked alfalfa cubes and plain beet pulp pellets. The theory was that going so long between feedings was likely sending her blood sugar spiking and dipping. I also added Smart Pac's SmartOmega supplement. The turnaround was 100%! Her energy is back, she has put some weight back on and she finally, finally shed out her winter coat by the end of August. Even her itchiness has abated. She improved so much that we were able to enjoy a leisurely trail ride a couple of weeks ago. She's 29 years old and has been 100% sound her entire life so it was quite a blow when she started failing. I have my girl back for now. I have no proof but my common sense tells me that we (humans) are creating a lot of these IR cases just by the way we keep our horses and what and how we feed them.
                                        "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."