Cushings in a 9 year old gelding??

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Cushings in a 9 year old gelding??

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  • Cushings in horse always hairy
  • equine metabolic syndrome fat now thin

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    02-08-2012, 04:57 PM
Question Cushings in a 9 year old gelding??

Is it possible for a horse this age to have cushings he's very long haired like goat haired. He upto date on everything plus his teeth were just done he has hay 24/7 timothy and alfalfa mix hay. Plus fed grain twice a day 2lbs a feeding.He has lost weight ribs are easely felt but he not real skinny still looks ok weight wise. He seems way to hairy compared to my other two whos coats are maybe a inch long. He is on a good feed triple crown senior plus beet pulp 1 1/2 pound dry weight its soaked before I feed it. His hair is like two inchs long maybe even longer. His coat does have shine to it just seems to be way longer then it should for his age. I switched him over to the tc because I thought the feed I was feeding before wasnt good enough. He was on just whole oats before he's been on TC since december. How much would it be to test for cushings? Iam thinking about having vet out to have him tested.
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    02-08-2012, 05:56 PM
Green Broke
I had to research this and the answer is "yes but it's rare".

I am bookmarking this link because it shows the NSC value of many feeds and all the grains. Great for folks that don't understand why fat horses and/or metabolic horses shouldn't have grain

According to this 2009 article, the youngest horse, on record, to have cushings was seven years old.

Can you post full side pictures in good light? By full side, I mean a picture that clearly shows the body from nose-to-tail.

There is also a metabolic disease called Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS), a/k/a "peripheal cushings". It isn't really cushings but falls more in line with insulin issues.

The horse will lose weight and also muscle mass. I have one horse with EMS and one with legitimate insulin resistance

The best thing would be to have your vet do two blood tests.

One to check insulin level.
One to perform the ACTH test which checks cortisol level.

Do NOT let him talk you into a dex suppression test (dexamethasone).

Again, if you could post a clear picture in good daylight, those of us with some experience dealing with these types of horses might be able to offer a half-educated opinion. There is still no replacement for the results of blood tests however.

Hope this helps
    02-08-2012, 05:58 PM
Green Broke
You may want to wait & see how he sheds out. That's usually a tell tale sign. Also (sometimes on these in varying combinations) excessive thirst, voracious appetite without weight gain, fatty deposits over the rump or where there normally isn't, puffy lower eyelids, cresty neck, saggy looking belly, change in behavior-usually irritable, poor healing of simple wounds &/or abscesses, abnormal sweating such as when it's cold & they aren't doing any work. Look at the big picture.
I have some older horses & every year I worry that this will be the year they don't shed but so far so good & they are in their 20's.

ETA: Also the long coat tends to be curly
    02-08-2012, 07:45 PM
Walkinthewalk thanks I will get pictures tommarow its dark now. Iam not sure if what I see is a possible problem. He doesnt seem to have excessive thrist but then again there are three horses drinking from the trough. Just seems like he's way to hairy he doesnt have fat deposits anywhere I see but maybe iam barn yard blind. I will look at the site on feeds to see if what iam feeding is low NSC. He was on oats for seven of the eight years iv owned him. And he always tend to be a fat pig but not so much this year like I said he's not like skinny by any means. Thanks natisha he is starting to shed some but its not real warm here yet.
    02-09-2012, 04:48 PM
Heres 2 picture of him.Hope they show up
    02-09-2012, 05:55 PM
Green Broke
I am leaning toward having a vet look at him and do some testing.

He may not have cushings but it appears something might be going on.

He looks awfully low in the back for only nine. That could be muscle waste; even if he doesn't get a lot of pasture exercise, that's still quite a dip for a nine year old.

If the up close shot of the hair is on his side ---- that's an awful lot of shaggy hair for such a young horse but, in the distance pic, the hair looks normal.

Even though he doesn't look over weight, I almost think I see too much crest to his neck. If you feel/jiggle that high point on the neck and it feels solid or feels like well set jello, it's another signal of metabolic issues.

If you decide to have the vet run some blood tests, please remember to NOT let them do a dex suppression test on him; do the ACTH blood test instead.

Also the majority of vets are not up-to-speed on metabolic issues. They mean well but they don't know that much. If you feel your vet isn't giving you clear answers, the next best thing would be to take this horse to a university with an equine extension; provided there's one pretty close and your weather isn't so bad that it's a safety risk to get there.

Others may not see anything wrong but, I dunno, I've had a whole bunch of horses that went thru OH/PA winters for 40+ years and none of them ever had a coat like that, regardless of age.

I think you're right to be concerned:)

Here's hoping that there isn't anything wrong with him, except a gene that says "I want my hair to be long and shaggy so you'll worry more"
    02-09-2012, 06:33 PM
Ok I felt his neck its like well set jello. His hair coat in person is pretty shaggy looking the one picture doesnt show that. That's why I took a close up shows better what it looks like when I look at him in person.To me he looks fat in the one pic but that's a lot of hair we rode yesterday and when his hair flattens down he looks much trimer. So how much for these blood test to find out whats up with him. I know just need a ball park figure iam in minnesota. Even my twenty five year old isnt that shaggy coated she has less hair then him.
    02-09-2012, 07:08 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by spirit88    
Ok I felt his neck its like well set jello. His hair coat in person is pretty shaggy looking the one picture doesnt show that. That's why I took a close up shows better what it looks like when I look at him in person.To me he looks fat in the one pic but that's a lot of hair we rode yesterday and when his hair flattens down he looks much trimer. So how much for these blood test to find out whats up with him. I know just need a ball park figure iam in minnesota. Even my twenty five year old isnt that shaggy coated she has less hair then him.
Just to be sure on the neck, feel the same spot on your 25 yr old for comparison.

My vet only charged $77 to draw one vile each on two horses, plus the road fee but, he seems to be cheaper than most.

I am going to guess blood tests to be around $100 - $150. That should include drawing blood to check insulin and another vile to check ACTH (cortisol), road fee, and for the vet to send the two viles off to a Lab.

Results should not take more than ten days (generally five), unless the Lab is really back logged for some disease outbreak.

If the vet wants to do a CBC (complete blood count), that's an even bigger owie to the checkbook

These days, the prerequisites for my vet drawing blood for insulin testing means:

1. Horse needs put up for the night.

2. No feed after 10:00 PM.

2.1 Horse can have grass hay and water.

3. NO HAY in the morning and vet is at my barn by 9:30 to draw blood.

Once that is done, then the horse can eat and be turned out.

Something else that came to mind and, I don't know if it shows itself in this manner, is the possibility of a mineral deficiency.

That can be chased down by soil samples, hay samples, hair samples from the horse.

I have been reading a lot about the affects of high arsenic levels in soil and well water. There's a gal in Oregon with a cushings pony that its arsenic level tested toxic. The other horse did NOT test for toxic levels, so now she is really stymied.

Arsenic is naturally occurring but it can reach toxic levels just like selenium can.

Also, if I remember correctly, isn't MN an area that tests high for selenium?

Sometimes when these minerals are "toxic high" in the soil (which carries to hay and grass) they cancel out other beneficial minerals, for lack of a smarter way of saying that

Lots to think about and maybe the bottom line, before spending money on blood tests, would be to consult a degreed equine nutritionist in your area. They generally hang out at universities and, I happen to know the University of Minnesota has a big equine program.

I know that because my two metabolic horses were enrolled in their insulin study program in 2010.

They have and are doing a lot of research into metabolic issues. I have done all this yattering and only just now thought about the Univ of MN - dumb dumb dumb.

This is the link that I used to initially get my horses into the program. There's a "contact us" link at the bottom. I really think this might be the place to start. If they can't help you, they should be able to point you in the right direction

Survey - CVM - Equine Genetics and Genomics Laboratory, University of Minnesota

That all being said, please update with whatever you find out
    02-09-2012, 07:46 PM
My mares neck doesnt feel like his does he wasnt this shaggy coated last winter and it was a heck of alot colder. Like many 20 below zero nights we had weeks of very cold last year. I will look in mineral possible problem I don't do a bunch of supplements so I don't think anything would be at a toxic level. Our water was tested was not high in arsenic so I don't think that would be a issue. I try to keep the feeding program simple They have free choice hay and get as little grain as possible. No extra supplements being fed.I feed TC senior so not feeding sweet feed. I will give my vet a call in AM.
    02-09-2012, 08:12 PM

Looks as though he's ben long term obese, if he's lost a lot of weight & still cresty & chunky looking. IR & other probs can also cause extra hair - & hoof - growth. Also heard of 'detoxing' from chemical wormers & such 'curing' excessive hairiness & failure to thrive that has been suspected as cushings.

I'd look into his diet & consider not feeding grain & cutting back/out alfalfa, as that is a high energy feed that will contribute to his weight probs. It is also very high in calcium & protein which can be problematic in excess & cause imbalances if not part of a well balanced diet. I think generally grass/grass hay & a good nutritional supplement to balance his diet is all that's needed.

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