The Horse Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,170 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My horse has recently been "unofficially" diagnosed with Cushing's disease/syndrome. I am planning on having him tested soon, but I want to help him out now with his thick coat in our warm Georgia winter. I am thinking about trying the chaste tree powder and I've heard some good things about it but I would like more input if possible.

Are there any negative side effects?
How much should I start off giving him and working up to?
Is it safe to be mixed in with the weight and joint supplements that he is already getting?

I'd appreciate any thoughts or answers to my questions. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,601 Posts
My horse has recently been "unofficially" diagnosed with Cushing's disease/syndrome. I am planning on having him tested soon, but I want to help him out now with his thick coat in our warm Georgia winter. I am thinking about trying the chaste tree powder and I've heard some good things about it but I would like more input if possible.

Are there any negative side effects?Not to my knowledge. I've been feeding it 4-1/2 years to my horse with Equine Metabolic Syndrome, which is Peripheal Cushings. Not really cushings but still a metabolic disorder in which the insulin has to be stabilized.

How much should I start off giving him and working up to?That can depend on living conditions (pasture or not, type of weather) and each horse's metabolism.

My horse comes in at night, with daytime turnout on 22 acres so he gets lots of movement. I feed him one heaping tablespoon daily during the winter months.

I up that to a heaping quarter cup when spring gets here and he's starting to shed but not letting go of everything as fast as he should.

Is it safe to be mixed in with the weight and joint supplements that he is already getting?Yes it is safe with all of those.

I'd appreciate any thoughts or answers to my questions. Thanks!
For sure, your horse needs tested but, don't let them do the Dex test (dexamethasone). It has been known to cause founder in some (not all) horses.

Ask for the ACTH test instead; it's a simple blood test that will determine cortisol level ALMOST as accurately as the Dex method.

Have the vet draw a second vile of blood to check the insulin level. Keep records of all this as it gives you baseline.

The chastetree won't hurt your horse, even if he isn't cushings.

BUT if cushings is suspected, the horse needs to get off bagged feed with oats, corn and molasses in it, five minutes ago.

If he is eating straight alfalfa, he needs backed off that and put on grass hay. Legume hays are not good for metabolic horses. He might tolerate the alfalfa ok for the moment but, as time passes he probably won't. Cushings does not go away; the best you can do is manage the horse's diet, hooves and exercise in a very strict manner and hope for the best.

As far as performance, while they're heart is in it, their energy level is not. These metabolic horses wear out a lot faster than what is normal for each particular horse.

My EMS guy is 24, he still goes out the drive at Mach 80, but after going up and down two steep hills, he really really slows down. This is the horse that used to make the 10 mile trip around our block coming back in the drive at the same Mach 80 he left it with:-(

Hope this helps:)
 
  • Like
Reactions: ljazwinski

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,170 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
For sure, your horse needs tested but, don't let them do the Dex test (dexamethasone). It has been known to cause founder in some (not all) horses.

Ask for the ACTH test instead; it's a simple blood test that will determine cortisol level ALMOST as accurately as the Dex method.

Have the vet draw a second vile of blood to check the insulin level. Keep records of all this as it gives you baseline.

The chastetree won't hurt your horse, even if he isn't cushings.

BUT if cushings is suspected, the horse needs to get off bagged feed with oats, corn and molasses in it, five minutes ago.

If he is eating straight alfalfa, he needs backed off that and put on grass hay. Legume hays are not good for metabolic horses. He might tolerate the alfalfa ok for the moment but, as time passes he probably won't. Cushings does not go away; the best you can do is manage the horse's diet, hooves and exercise in a very strict manner and hope for the best.

As far as performance, while they're heart is in it, their energy level is not. These metabolic horses wear out a lot faster than what is normal for each particular horse.

My EMS guy is 24, he still goes out the drive at Mach 80, but after going up and down two steep hills, he really really slows down. This is the horse that used to make the 10 mile trip around our block coming back in the drive at the same Mach 80 he left it with:-(

Hope this helps:)
Thanks! I know you were also helping me out on my other thread, I'm just trying to get more of an idea of what to do lol. Hunter is not eating alfalfa, and I put pics on the other thread of the feed he's on. He and the other horses have done really well on it. His feet are trimmed every 4 weeks and the farrier we use has a horse with Cushing's, so he's been helping me out feet-wise and will be helping keep an eye on him. I have noticed that some days he has less energy than others, so maybe the chaste tree berry powder will help..

I'm just trying to budget it all out and figure out roughly how much it'll cost me for the powder and other supplements and all that he needs.. I also talked with my vet today and he suggested the dex test, I asked about the risk of founder and he said it's low, and it'll cost about 250 with the 2 farm calls and the bloodwork. I think I'm gonna ask him about the other test, but I am going to be waiting at least a few weeks to do any testing. I'd really like to try the chaste tree powder to see if that makes a difference first. If it does then I'll keep him on it, otherwise probably do testing and get him on Pergolide. Does this sound like a bad idea?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Chasteberry is a great alternative for a natural treatment for cushings. Spend alot of time researching cushing for a neighbors senior horse, a mustang. After talking to her owner, I suggested trying the chasteberry which we ordered online. I think we gave her 2 teaspoons a day (I told him he needed to pull/cutback her grain, take her off the sweet version and buy a pellet version), mixed it with the little grain she got. Also advised she really didnt need to graze 24/7, so he started putting her up at night with a couple leaves of hay. Also suggested he start her on a joint supplement, so he went with the MSM (smartpak) that I was giving my mare. She was a different horse within a very short time. SHe was already foundered, but when my neighbor started using my farrier and she was getting trims on a regular basis, that was even improving. She was actually running the fields again, and the heavy signs she had of cushings were actually alot less. And there were no side effects that we noticed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,170 Posts
Discussion Starter #5

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
I believe we bought our at a online herb place
Bulk Organic Herbs and Spices
bought it in powder form..and I would start with 2 teaspoons and see how that goes first. Im sure the ones you had checked would work just as well..the mustang we treated was about 14 hands, but again i would start with 2 teaspoons daily and see how well that works first.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Theres probably not much difference other than "organic" implying there are no other additives and its natural. It was a less expensive option compaired to the ones we found that said was for horses but in reality is the same thing. Ive emailed smartpak (where we get most of our supplements) in the past to see if they could eventually add it to their selection but must not be enough interest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,170 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I looked for it through SmartPak since that's where I have Hunter's monthly supplements coming from, it'd make my life easier to keep it all together.. Maybe sometime they'll get it. I did notice the link you sent me was cheaper, so I may just go with that one. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Yes love the smartpaks:) Your welcome...might help if you send a email/suggestion about the chasteberry too. It could be they just have to wait on a certain amount of requests before they will add to their supplements. Their smartpaks sure make life easier, and no guess work. I hope you update how your horse does on the chasteberry. I had some doubts but it really does help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,601 Posts
Here's a couple links that talk about the Dex "suppression" test vs. the ACTH blood test.

"suppression" means just that. Enough dex is injected into the horse to suppress glucose - then see what the test results show.

I can't find my good article that discusses both at the same time. These will at least get you informed on both types of tests so you can make an informed decision - regardless of what your vet suggests:)

How to Test for Equine Cushing's Disease | eHow.com

Where it says in part:
The dexamethasone suppression test may cause the blood vessels in the hooves to constrict and increase the risk and severity of laminitis, according to Penn State University. Horses with Cushing's disease are already more susceptible to developing laminitis, a dangerous disease involving swelling in the hooves.
EQUINE CUSHINGS DISEASE

Where it says in part:
The test regime I am using now is to measure endogenous ACTH, cortisol, insulin and glucose from venous blood samples at 0900 hours before the morning feed and in a quiet environment. This is a simple test to use, although the blood cells have to be separated from the plasma and the sample kept frozen prior to testing. This test does not run the risk of inducing or worsening laminitis following the administration of a corticosteroid. It will differentiate between pituitary dependent Cushing's cases and those animals with obesity related laminitis
.


My Old Country Cow vet (not my vet anymore) wanted to do the dex test on my senior horse five years ago and I wouldn't let him. He did the ACTH blood test instead.

It's a good thing because, even though this horse has "perripheal cushings", he is not cushings (that's pretty confusing, I know). Point-being, my horse would've stood a good chance of foundering with the dex test. We're going on five years since formal diagnosis and, so far, his hooves are acutally healthier/tougher now than they've ever been.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,170 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks! I will definitely read those in depth in a little while... Gotta get hw done, been procrastinating all day! I really appreciate yalls help! I've ordered the chastetree to start Hunter on when I get it in. I will probably make another thread to keep updates on him :) right now he's shaved though so idk how much difference I'll see in his coat, but it's growing back and hopefully with the powder it won't grow back so long and will shed out properly this spring!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,405 Posts
Petey the Pony, who has cushings, gets 4cc's of Pergolide daily
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I am currently switching Hunter from CortaFlex to MSM, waiting on the CF to run out :) we'll see how that works for him! Should I start off with just 1 tablespoon of the chastetree and possibly work up to more after I see how it works for him? Or should I start with less?

Here are 2 sites where I found the powder:
Chaste Tree Berry Powder | Horse Endocrine Supplements | Equine Supplements > Endocrine Health | DePAOLO EQUINE CONCEPTS - DePaolo Equine Concepts
Horse Herbs Naturally - Herbs!
JUST AN ADDITION TO YOUR RESEARCH...I TREAT NOT JUST NATURALLY BUT PRACTICE AYURVEDA FOR HORSES..FEEL FREE TO VIEW MY SITE AND/OR CONTACT ME FOR DETAILS..Neachai- Equine Ayurveda
CHASTE TREE BERRY IS VERY EFFECTIVE FOR CUSHINGS AND EMS HORSES AND PONIES! IT IS DEFINITELY A FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE FOR US! GOOD LUCK IN YOUR SEARCH....THERESA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
very good response... my gelding has also been "unofficially" diagnosed with cushings and I started him on chastetree 2 months ago... now that his winter coat is starting to grow in I can't really tell if the chasteberry is doing anything yet? but I have confidence that by spring I will see a major improvement in him... I am also feeding one heaping tablespoon daily for now and will be switching to 1/4 cup in feb...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
My experience with the chaste tree berry powder

I used this for my horse who was diagnosed with cushings last summer he got quite bad quickly, so we had researched the chaste tree berry powder and it seemed great, we put Gent on it and he dropped a ridiculous amount of weight in 2 weeks, he had his winter coat on which when I took it off I was horrified, His hip bones were sticking out and his spine was really visible to the point where you could see the vertebrae, he was drinking excessively and therefore urinating a load more where we had to pretty much empty half of his stable every day, we stopped it straight away and he's now on medication from the vet. We've had to put him on a build up feed and oil to gain weight again, I just felt I should share this with people that are considering using the chaste tree berry, I know every horse is different so reacts differently to things but I would strongly advise keeping a close eye on weight loss, excessive, drinking/urinating if you start to use it as he looked so terrible so quickly after starting it!
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top