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Age of horse or pony when diagnosed with Cushings

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  • Age of horse or pony when diagnosed with Cushings

    We have a lesson pony who we think might have Cushings (grows long curly coat, doesn't shed out, topline atrophy, ouchy feet). The vet says that he is too young for Cushings and that the blood test is not accurate at this time of the year. How old was your horse/pony when he was diagnossed with Cushings (or when you first started to see Cushing type symptoms)?

  • #2
    It varies, but generally in the teens. The website www.ecirhorse.com has some good info. Some Vets still confuse Cushings and Insulin Resistance, which are two separate issues. Uncontrolled Cushings (aka PPID) can trigger IR if not already present, but most ponies are already IR just by virtue of being easy keeper type equids. The coat issues and atrophy do seem like PPID symptoms, the ouchy feet indicators of inadequately controlled metabolic (IR) issues, IMO.
    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.


    • #3
      Cushings can be diagnosed in horses/ponies as young as seven. You might want to go to TheHorse.com for some really good information about cushings and how vets test for it.

      The pony might be I.R. too (insulin resistant).


      • #4
        Ooops...we posted at the same time sdlbredfan!


        • #5
          LOL TBM, Great minds think alike?
          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.


          • #6
            Bodie has had a long hair coat for years. He is now 19 but the hair coat has been aorund at least 6 years. We tested and tested him but always negative. Mild IR if anything. He finally came up positive in 2008. The pergolide helps with the coat but it is still big! He is healthy and has no other issues at this point!


            Rerider/Haydunker Clique

            RIP Barbaro, you were my hero!


            • #7
              I have an 8 yr old with it. Was diagnosed after ruling out epm, lyme, and ulcers. Pergolide has made him back into the horse we knew and love. He presented with a rough coat, behavioral changes and muscle wasting on his topline.
              "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


              • #8


                • #9
                  My mare was diagnosed with Peripheral Cushings at age 13 after she foundered -- I don't hear that term used anymore -- I remember being concerned about her cresty neck when she was about 11 and put her on a magnesium supplement for a while -- Her coat was on the thicker side of average, but not really long (I didn't clip her in the winter and still kept her in work) -- Now, at age 20, even with daily Pergolide, the hair on her sides gets pretty thick --

                  How long does your vet want to wait before pulling blood? I know the tests are unreliable in the Fall, but have wondered if it's not 'winter-y' enough to test in Dec -- I usually ask my vet to test my mare when he's out to pull coggins which is often done in January --
                  "I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM


                  • #10
                    We had a ten year old registered polish arabian that was shivering one winter, even when all others were warm and he tested positive for Cushings.
                    No other symptoms at that time.
                    He went on medication and was fine from then on.


                    • #11
                      My arabian mare was 17 when she was diagnosed after she foundered. I am really angry with myself regarding the founder because I have been bugging my vet for the last year to run blood tests for IR and Cushings and she looked at me like I was stupid. Not listening to my gut cost my poor mare a very painful episode. If you think there is a problem don't take no for an answer on pulling blood work and insist on the ACTH test for Cushings, not the Dex Suppression test.


                      • #12
                        My Appy diagnosed around 16 years, showed none of the classic symptoms. No long hair coat, not fatty deposits. Just chronic laminitis which is why we finally tested him after years of trying to stabilize his feet.


                        • #13



                          are the ages my horses got cushings... Can happen way younger though!

                          Ours had not feet issues but had/have long coats, potent pee & peed alot, atrophy top lines, "fat-but skinny", battle to keep ample weight on them.


                          • #14
                            All of my horses as they aged (with the exception of my stallion, Boleem who died recently at age 26 and a rig who lived until his 40's) started showing signs of Cushing's at age 23 -25.

                            Only one foundered mildly on grass.

                            But all developed the long coat that took forever to shed out...a few needed clipping in summer as they headed toward their 30's.
                            www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                            "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                            Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube


                            • #15
                              If one of my horses had all the symptoms you described.....my vet wouldn't even test she would just prescribe pergolide.

                              I know of and 8 year old that died suddenly of cushings....he started siezuring.....due to where the location of the tumor in the brain.



                              • Original Poster

                                The vet did give me pergolide even though he insists that the pony is too young. Apparently, it shouldn't hurt him if he doesn't have Cushings and the treatment will be diagnostic if he does improve.