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What ELSE causes slow shedding?

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  • What ELSE causes slow shedding?

    I really hope someone out here is going to help keep the mad worrying to a miniumum...

    I have a wonderful old campaigner: 17 y/o trak/tb 17.3 very arthritic gelding. Nothign has changed in his diet since last year, but this year he is very slow to shed out. We've had numerous quite warm days and he's still holding on to his coat. The vet is out tommorow morning to pull blood and I've been trying to do a bunch of online research on Cushings.

    Here's where I think he stands on the classic symptoms:

    I gather that he's almost at the age that developement of the disease is common.

    He's a pretty easy keeper, and I'd say he's on the over weight side at the moment... I've been keeping him on the fat side because at the end of the month he is planned to move to a retirement farm quite a ways out of the city I live in, where he will have a massive 60 acre field to frolic in and live outside for the most part (big run in and a stall for bad nights). I wantecd him a bit overweight for the move in case he stresses and looses a bit.

    I don't *think* he looks swaybacked, but maybe as I stare at him in a worry-induced panic.... maybe he does look a bit swaybacked? He certainly doesn't have patchy fat deposits.

    He's never foundered, thank god. Does have a history of recurrent abscesses, but has been problem free for 3 years.

    He's recently (past 3ish months) seemed lame up front, when he's always been sore behind due to bad arthritis in his hocks. The vet came out and blocked him up to his eye balls on his FR where he looked sore and because it didn't block out she concluded that it was just how bad his arthritis had gotten behind manifesting it self now in the front... or something to that effect.

    Certainly NOT lethargic. I attempted to take him on a nice light walk only hack and he was wild. Lame and trying to break into a little jig all the time, and attempted the spin and bolt 3x. This is a bit out of character, but he's been hot the past 4 times I've ridden him (1 a week for the past month). He's always been bomb proof in the ring, but with a bit of a spook on the trails... this much is uncommon, though.

    Ok this is all the info! Please, in the infinite wisdom of CoTH, please please PLEASE tell me what you think... Does this sound like cushings or IR? What else could it be? How long will it take for the vet to get the blood test back to me? If it IS cushings, does that mean he can't have his amazing retirement on 60 acres of pasture?

  • #2
    My horse hasn't shed out yet either... I'm not too worried about it.


    • #3
      Hi, I'm new, but I've got a 24 year-old Saddlebred that I've had since he was seven so I think I can add a little here. How long have you had your horse? Over the years I've noticed that every spring Dare is just a little slower to shed out than the previous year. It may very well be that this is what's happening with your guy. Also it seems like the weather around the country has been bizarre this year.

      As for Cushing's, my vet says that she's found the most telltale sign aside from bloodwork is fat deposits around the base of the tail. So far, we're good!

      Your horse being nutsy out on the trail-I wonder if he's more sore on uneven ground so he behaves badly because he hurts? Is it possible he may have slightly foundered in front? Has he been xrayed lately?

      Just some thoughts. I hope you're like me and are being a worrywart for nothing.


      • #4
        Or you could just have him tested for Cushings and then you'd know for sure.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by Coreene View Post
          Or you could just have him tested for Cushings and then you'd know for sure.
          I mentioned in my original post that the vet was coming out tommorow, which is now today, to test him for Cushings. As I also mentioned in my original post, I was turning to CoTH because I was worried and was hoping for some more info to fill the gap in the time it takes for the blood to be run.

          I've had my horse for 6 years, and I don't think he's shed out slower each year. In your experience, is it common for older horses to take longer to shed? Part of the reason I'm so concerned is that every other horse at the farm is sleek in their new summer coats. He definitely doesn't have the fat deposits above his tail, so that makes me feel a bit better.


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by FlowerEssence View Post
            Your horse being nutsy out on the trail-I wonder if he's more sore on uneven ground so he behaves badly because he hurts? Is it possible he may have slightly foundered in front? Has he been xrayed lately?

            Just some thoughts. I hope you're like me and are being a worrywart for nothing.
            Oh goodness, I hope not. Off to call the vet to make sure she takes a good look at his feet when she's there, too... she should be there right now! I hope I'm being a worrywart for nothing, too


            • #7
              I have been told that a good powerpack worming can help with shedding.
              Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


              • #8
                I would have him checked for lyme as well if you live in an area that has lyme.
                One of my horses, last year, did not shed out well...we tested for IR, cushings, etc, all came back negative.
                later in the summer, when others were not right, I had them tested for lyme, and they were positive, had him tested too, and positive.
                each horse presents differently with lyme, and in this particular horse's case, I think his shedding pattern has changed.
                save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                • #9
                  I also have a saddlebred who has cushings, and there is absolutely no fat around his tail or anywhere on that horse. His coat, not just shedding was a giveaway that he had cushings. He is cushing, but not ir.
                  save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                  • #10
                    Not shedding is certainly a Cushings sign - my pony is on meds but if you put him in a field and he can't get Cushings meds once a day he MAY be OK _ I did find pony got worse (even on meds) if he got ANY alfalfa hay - coastal hay is fine. No sugar feeds either (i.e. not sweet feeds) go to something like Strategy (pellet, hi fat, low sugar).
                    Now in Kentucky


                    • #11
                      So what did your vet say?

                      I had my vet out for my 11 yo half-welsh and she didn't recommend doing the cushings test. She cited lack of abnormal fat pockets, normal time-frame of shedding (although his winter coat is heavy), age, and normal results of IR testing (plus she thought the markers I saw- weak topline, heavy coat, etc. were pretty mild or within normal range for his breed and level of work). I suspect if he was 17 and late shedding, that would have put him over the edge into "definitely test" mode.

                      After researching it and talking with her, though, I put him on an IR diet anyway (he was on a mostly IR diet, I pared it back even more) because ponies are so likely to become IR (and often cushings as well) as they age. I have noticed a positive difference with the IR diet, even though his glucose and insulin are within normal range (apparently non-challenged test results can be normal in early/mild IR).

                      I'm interested to see what your vet has to say, and what you decide to do


                      • #12
                        My older horses don't shed out as quickly as the younger ones do.

                        A parasite load seems to keep a coat on longer too, but I'm guessing he's up-to-date on worming.


                        • #13
                          I am curious as to what your vet will have to say as well.

                          My guy had a heavy coat and he was one of the first to be shed out this year. I swear he was slower last year but I wonder if the Omege Horseshine helped at all.

                          Anyho, I find that horses all shed differently. Some at the barn are and have been sleek and others are still working on it.


                          • #14
                            I have been told that a copper deficiency can cause slower shedding.
                            Sakura Hill Farm
                            Now on Facebook

                            Young and developing horses for A-circuit jumper and hunter rings.


                            • #15
                              I have a yearling that still has a lot of hair on him.
                              Missouri Fox Trotters-To ride one is to own one

                              Standardbreds, so much more then a harness racing horse.


                              • #16
                                Low thyroid can cause slow shedding which is all part and parcel of the Equine Metabolic syndrome which can eventually morph into Cushing's disease. I think of EMS as a cascading problem--in the case of my adopted pony his thyroid went first, and later he was diagnosed with Cushing's, at which time his glucose and insulin were also out of whack. It could be anything so I would have tested the thyroid, run a Cushing's check and checked the glucose and insulin, given your horse's age.

                                But sometimes it can also be nothing! You don't say where you're located, but Mother Nature knows when your horse needs to give up its coat--and it may be nothing more than that..... Where I am horse's don't typically shed out totally until the end of May at least.

                                If it's warm enough to bathe the horse warm water will open up those pores and allow the horse to shed more readily....
                                I'm not much into conspiracy theories, but if everyone thinks alike you don't need a plot....


                                • #17
                                  Dauntless, fingers crossed that it isn't Cushing's.

                                  You know, the horse can look perfectly normal and yet be peeing too much. Or look perfectly normal and be lethargic. Or have slightly ouchie feet, or have slightly compromised vision, or be seven years old and therefore it doesn't enter the vet's or owner's mind. But because it wasn't the cresty neck or coat, too often Cushing's isn't something that is considered.


                                  • #18
                                    hes getting old and as they get older they show signs off old age cushing can just be his coat not shedding which if it bothers you clip him, my old man fogi only showed cushings in his coat he wasnt ir reisitant and lived till 39 he was clipped in summer no biggy


                                    • #19
                                      In addition to Cushings, make sure he gets sufficient protein. Insufficient protein intake can slow down the shedding.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Blood came back normal! YAY! Nothing noteworthy at all, and no cushings. Vet says to worm with Quest Plus. He has been on a regular worming schedule but maybe there are some resistant worms left. In the mean time, I clipped him 2 days ago, so at least he is comfortable.

                                        I'm quite relieved!