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Feed suggestions for picky Cushing's/IR mare?

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  • Feed suggestions for picky Cushing's/IR mare?

    I've posted here before about my mare. She is 23 with Cushing's, and presumed IR (never tested, but does much better on a low-NSC feed). Fortunately (knocking wood) not laminitic.

    She is currently eating - or should I say, NOT eating - Wellsolve L/S. She does well on this feed, but lately I've been having real trouble getting her to eat it. This is not the first time she's done this - seems to be somewhat seasonal (tends to be spring, but also in the fall, apparently). The last time this happened I discovered that one of her supplements might be the culprit. I haven't completely ruled that out this time, but I'm starting to think about other things I could feed her, just in case.

    She doesn't really need the calories from grain. She's eating a mixed alfalfa/grass hay (don't know exactly how much, but something like 4-6 average sized flakes/day). It's been suggested to me that I change to a ration balancer, but I'm not sure how palatable those are. Right now she's getting about 2 cups of the Wellsolve twice a day, so not a lot.

    Suggestions? Thanks!

    Adams Equine Wellness

  • #2
    I feed my cushings gelding microphase - it's a vitamin and mineral pellet. It is low calorie but it has all the vitamins and minerals he needs. I can't feed much in the way of grain. I also feed him Metaboleeze (B vitamins and chromium). He just gets the microphase pellets with the metaboleeze mixed in and he eats it right up. My other horses eat the microphase too. He does great on these two supplements and mixed alf/grass hay. My vet recommended both products. They are from Kentucky Performance Products. You have to get the metaboleeze through your vet, but my feed store got the microphase for me. If I needed to add calories in the winter I feed a little Releve ( also recommend by my vet).


    • #3
      I have a mare that goes off her grain on a spring/fall cycle too (posted about it here in the past). For the first 2 1/2 years no one could really explain it and she was called picky and high maintenance!

      First thing to always try is getting the supplements out of her feed tub to see if she eats her grain then. You can always dose them if she can't do without them.

      Also, do some reading on leaky gut syndrome. When they have it, because they don't have what they need to break down the food properly, the bigger food molecules end up in their hindgut, leading to leaky guy syndrome. So the theory is that they don't eat their grain because it's hard for them to digest it and eating it makes them not feel good. One symptom of leaky gut (not sure if it's a symptom of other issues) is what I call leaky butt. When the poop they have a thin stream of liquid that trickles out after wards.

      I'm not sure why it shows up spring/fall. One theory I heard is the enzymes in the grass change, though my mare goes out about 6 hrs/day in a paddock that doesn't have a whole lot of grass. I also wonder if the shedding/growing coat stresses their bodies if they have other issues.

      Fortunately, I have a great vet who works really hard to stay on top of the latest research. She has me feeding a probiotic and a digestive enzyme and we are trying to prop up her liver & pancreas function too.

      I hope this helps!



      • #4
        Here are a few very helpful websites for you, the first a compendium of useful things for both PPID and IR, the second a source for excellent online courses in equine nutrition, to supplement your OSU courses.

        Some taste tempters that have worked well for others are either peppermint tea poured over the feed and supps, or dried peppermint leaves sprinkled on top. There are others but those are the two I would try first. On a fully balanced feed that would simplify things for you, see if you can find Ontario Dehy Timothy Balanced cubes, with the lavender label on the bottom. (Ontario Dehy makes other cubes, but the balanced ones have had minerals added to make it a safe complete feed, all you'd need to add are vitamin E, iodized salt and some flax.)
        RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.