Cushings Disease

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Cushings Disease

This is a discussion on Cushings Disease within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • What type of hay should a horse with cushings disease be eating
  • Horse craves white salt

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    06-09-2008, 10:22 AM
Cushings Disease

Can someone give me more information about this Disease. The one little pony (yes Scribbles, the cuttiest little pony in the world) isn't doing too well at all and I'm afraid that it might be something serious.
He still has alot of winter fur and no matter how long we spend grooming him (we spent 2 and a friend) grooming him yesterday and though we got alot off, there is still alot there) it won' tall go away. He's really skinny though he gets alot to eat. He weights probably 500 pounds (when he was a good weight) and he gets probably half a bale (or more) plus grain, beet pulp, and wheat bran. But he's still really skinny. He seems really runned down and just doesn't have the "spark" that he once had.
Both me and the BO are trying to fatten him up...we are slowly upping his grain intake (so he doesn't colic) and he gets the ammount that Sonny gets now (or close to it). But I'm thinking it's something more serious than just not eating enough...cause if I got as much food as him...I'd get fat really quickly.

I told how Scribbles was doing to a friend and she said it sounds like Cushings Disease so I left a note for the BO suggesting to get Scribbles tested for Cushings Disease but I'd like more information on it, what all the symptoms are (so I can see if Scribbles is actually showing signs of it) and learn possibly pervention methods (if any) and how a horse gets it (if it's not through their genes).

Thanks alot!

Here's a picture of Scribbles also (a recent one...he looks kinda bad but not as bad as he does now)
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    06-09-2008, 10:36 AM
Try this site for starters,

It's a direct link to the page on Cushings and Equine metabolic issues. The main page is

In the end, a vet is the best person to confirm what exactly is going on with the pony, but on the other hand, it's not harmful to start feeding a horse as if he has cushings or IR (insulin resistance).
    06-09-2008, 10:43 AM
Of course we'd get a vet out to see what's best for him...but if he doesn't have any of the symptoms at all then what's the point of getting the vet out quickly...also too I want to learn more on it cause I just only heard of it yesterday
    06-09-2008, 10:48 AM
It might just be because Scribbles is old?
    06-09-2008, 11:50 AM
Super Moderator
First off, I would make sure he's on Equine Senior or some type of senior feed and second... yeah, my trainer has a pony like that and she does not ever lose her winter coat anymore. You have to body clip. No choice.
    06-09-2008, 12:30 PM
We have a horse who has Cushings, my buddy Solo.

Usually, a curly coat when he hasn't had one before is a symptom, along with problems shedding it out. A pronounced hump in his withers, and craving salt are others. Solo used to eat a normal salt block in a day. Weight loss is another, unless he has a history of being a hard keeper.

Cushing's is a tumor, so there really aren't many ways to prevent it. It's very manageable, Solo has had it for years and years and does fine.

That's all I know from being around Solo. Good luck with the little guy, he is a cutie.
    06-09-2008, 01:41 PM
Pony breeds are more prone to insulin resistance and Cushing's disease so it's worth looking into. Here is a good article for you to read: It covers the information presented at the Dec 2006 AAEP convention.

Grain is a very poor choice for this guy, especially in large amounts. A ration balancer would be a better choice and then add a bit of oil to increase the digestible energy of the diet.
    06-09-2008, 02:42 PM
Ryle: Scribbles lost a tooth when he was younger (the previous owner said when he was 12 he lost it....another horse kicked him in the mouth...knocking it out.....or so they said) so he has a really hard time eating hay...usually he just chews it and sucks the "juice" out of it...nothing more. The grain is really all he can eat easily.

I know when I put him in with Sonny the one time, Scribbles spent at least 30 minutes at his mineral/salt black (the brown mainly minerals I guess). But that may be due to he didn't have any in his stall anyways, so I can't really say if he ate alot of it cause he wasn't in there for very long.

Scribbles is probably 25 years old...just as old as the Appendix horse and the Paint at the barn....the two others had no problem getting rid of their summer coat...and Scribbles is shedding....just isn't getting it all off. I don't know if maybe he just grew an abrnormal ammount this winter and that's why or if he just isn't letting it all "go".

I'll be seeing the BO tomorrow and I'll see what she says about it. She may know more of Scribble's history than I do...I just know from what little she has told me and I'm sure she hasn't told me everything.
    06-09-2008, 02:57 PM
Super Moderator
Alfalfa cubes man... but I would still do equine senior... a handful a day... that's what my trainer feeds... she's not a vet tech but she's got 40 years experience....
    06-09-2008, 05:36 PM
If he has trouble chewing, then hay is pretty well worthless. I would switch to Equine Senior as recommended earlier. But I would call Pruina to see how much a horse his size should be getting per day because the recommendation on the bag is for a horse that is 900+ lbs. It's going to be roughly around 1.5% of his body weight per day though for weight gain 2% might be better.

And testing for IR and Cushings would be a really good

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