1. I'm not sure if the vet would see the need for a CBC blood work-up; I hope not, those are really expensive.
2. I would ask to test for insulin level and a blood draw to check the ACTH level.
2.1 He may try to tell you the Dex Suppression test is more accurate for testing cortisol levels but I would pass on it, as the Dex test has been known to throw horses into founder. I keep finding this.. How can it throw a horse into founder?
2.2 A simple blood test will still give some sort of baseline. It will probably show on the high side because we are still in the middle of winter when horses have extra fat, by nature, to keep warm. But there's an "acceptable high" that allows for winter fat.
2.3 This is an excellent article. It was written in 2005; while it gives some excellent information that may not have been in the link you posted, it is already old regarding method of treatment.
There's a newly approved drug, Plascend that wasn't known about back then. Advances
3. Here's the .gov link announcing the new drug "Prascend" that is supposed to put Pergolide in the closet regarding equine cushings. The rumor mill has it that it could possibly be three times the cost of Pergolide. FDA
Approves First Drug to Treat Cushing?s Disease in Horses[/URL]
You could ask your vet about Prascend. I've also read that it's like 3x the price of Pergolide. I know that he mentioned pergolide mesylate to my mom, I think it was the medicine Permax he also mentioned. I looked it up and I know SmartPak still carries Pergolide, as well as Prascend. I'll just have to ask him more about all that.
4. It is a rare vet that even gets a passing grade regarding metabolic issues. It's not their fault; they didn't spend much time on it in the classroom. Hopefully that is changing now that there's an explosion of horses with metabolic issues.
If you feel your vet isn't quite up to speed, seek out an equine nutritionist at the nearest university with an equine health program. Hadn't thought about that, I will look into that if I feel like he doesn't know enough about it :)
5. The herb of choice for mild cushings horses is Chastetree, a/k/a Chasteberry, a/k/a Vitex. It's the same Chastetree on the WalMart shelf to treat PMS in women.
Some folks go to Sam's Club, buy the berries in bulk and grind them up to feed the horse.
I buy mine from herbs4horses.com in Memphis, TN.
You could ask your vet if it might be prudent to go ahead and start your horse on Chastetree before the test results are back. IMO, Time Is Of The Essence, if the vet is saying he thinks your horse has cushings.
Chastetree is a "no harm no foul" herb if it turns out you didn't need it. Thanks! How exactly do you feed yours?
Finally, (you should be sick of me by now Def not, you're helping me out so much! Thanks! :)
Here's the link to Dr. Kellon's website which, has a link to her Yahoo Equine Cushings Group. It is free to join the group. Equine
Cushing's and Insulin Resistance Information[/URL]
There's a lot of good research and a lot of good "what works and what doesn't", if you can get past B.S. They play "50 questions" with new members before you can get a straight answer from them.
At the very least you could join and just quietly search thru all the info. I'll look into this, thank you!