The Horse Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, so I found this little mare for sale, a Palomino beauty. She's cute and has some go to her; owners say she'd make a great barrel horse which is what I'm interested in. I was planning on meeting and test riding her soon. However, this little mare has Cushing's disease, so now I'm not sure. The post says she's sound but that's just something I'll have to check out if/when I ride her. She currently has EquiPak in her front shoes but they say her feet are hardening up and that the Cushing's never really bothered her soundness-wise.
I'm not familiar with Cushing's, so I really have no idea what to think when looking at this mare. Is it something that can go away? Is it manageable? Is she still healthy? She's still young and she's cheap. I've seen their posts over the past month or two and the price keeps dropping. No one wants to buy her. Are they right to not be interested? Is it safe to buy a horse like this? Obviously I want something sound, and I know sale ads aren't always exactly accurate. I just wanted to know what everyone here thinks.
If you could tell me more about Cushing's that would be great. If I were to buy her, what should I expect? Or is this a huge red flag to NOT buy her?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,159 Posts
Cushings is not often a young horse disease. How young is young? No, it won’t go away. Yes, it can be managed. Some horses have no notable effects when medicated. Others still struggle with symptoms even when impeccable managed. The problem is it’s such an individual issue you don’t really know until you know.

Also, it can go hand in hand with equine metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) which is often what leads to laminitic problems in these horses. But not all Cushings horses also have EMS.

After owning and managing horses with Cushings and EMS, I will not intentionally buy another one. I accept that most retired horses in my breed (Morgans) will have a strong chance of developing it in older age, and will need to be managed. But I would not be interested in a young horse intended for a performance career that already has metabolic issues.

There are lots of threads here about experiences with Cushings and EMS. You can use the search bar to pull them

PS-I admire the sellers for being upfront and disclosing this. Because it’s not typically an issue in younger horses, I think unscrupulous sellers could easily list the horse without ever mentioning it, letting it become someone else’s problem down the road. That said, I’m not surprised they’re struggling to sell her :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cushings is not often a young horse disease. How young is young? No, it won’t go away. Yes, it can be managed. Some horses have no notable effects when medicated. Others still struggle with symptoms even when impeccable managed. The problem is it’s such an individual issue you don’t really know until you know.

Also, it can go hand in hand with equine metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) which is often what leads to laminitic problems in these horses. But not all Cushings horses also have EMS.

After owning and managing horses with Cushings and EMS, I will not intentionally buy another one. I accept that most retired horses in my breed (Morgans) will have a strong chance of developing it in older age, and will need to be managed. But I would not be interested in a young horse intended for a performance career that already has metabolic issues.

There are lots of threads here about experiences with Cushings and EMS. You can use the search bar to pull them

PS-I admire the sellers for being upfront and disclosing this. Because it’s not typically an issue in younger horses, I think unscrupulous sellers could easily list the horse without ever mentioning it, letting it become someone else’s problem down the road. That said, I’m not surprised they’re struggling to sell her :(
Thanks for the info, I'll look into some websites and other threads to find out more. She's an 8 year old quarter horse, so a bit young for the disease from what I could understand.

Let's just say she's sound, and that her feet are, indeed, hardening up. If she can manage the disease well, does she have a possible life as a performance horse? I understand all horses are different. She's been okay up until now, but will it get worse?

Let's also just say that her sugar intake is really, really, low. Is there still a high risk of laminitis? Does the Cushings itself bring on the laminitis or just increase the possibility?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,004 Posts
Is she currently being treated with Prascend? Please know, a pill of Prascend is $1-3 depending on your location - some horses are treatable with 1/2 pill/day, some require 3+ pills/day. There is no other treatment for Cushing's than Prascend, so you must medicate. There are supplements on the market to help treat the symptoms (appetite issues, coat issues, hoof issues, etc) but this must be fed in addition to Prascend. Anyone who says Prascend is just one option of treatment is wrong - science does not support this.

Things that come along with Cushing's... Laminitis/founder risk, general hoof issues, dental issues (specifically EOTRH, or infection issues), coat issues, immune system issues, weight issues... The list goes on and on and on. If she has IR (insulin resistance), you must provide a low sugar/starch (NSC) diet. If she isn't IR, then you can experiment with having her on grass and higher NSC feeds BUT you should proceed with caution. The issues run much further than just hoof issues, and can quickly strain the pocketbook. Horses with Cushing's should also be retested every year to make sure the current dosage of Prascend is still treating it - depending on the year, I've paid $100-300 for this test to be completed.

My gelding, who was diagnosed at 22, is on 1/2 pill of Prascend which has been controlling his Cushing's for the past 3 years - many horses increase doage over time. He is not IR, so he is on a small grass lot and is fed a ration balancer (previously, before testing with a higher NSC diet, he was on Triple Crown Senior and a dry lot). He has dental issues, including EOTRH - every few months he gets an additional tooth removed. Eventually, he will have no front teeth. Also, I have to body clip him during the winter if I want to ride (his coat grows in wild) and have to body clip him in the spring (I almost lost him to a heat stroke his first spring after the diagnosis because he wouldn't shed).

Would I knowingly purchase a horse with Cushing's after my experience? No.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah... I knew any disease in a horse must be bad but I hadn't realized just how horrible Cushing's can be. From your experiences, my knowledge of horse health, and my bad luck, I probably won't get her. I don't think I want to get a horse that I know for a fact has issues, manageable or not. Especially since I would want to show her. I understand now why it's so hard for them to find a home for her. Both of my current horses have soundness issues, and I don't have the money or the patience to deal with another one. Thank you all for enlightening me! I was actually considering buying her but I don't think I can take the risk.

Also to answer your question, ClearDonkey, the post doesn't say anything about Prascend, just that she's on Nutrena Special Care feed. I'm so sorry about your gelding, but I'm glad to hear he's being managed alright.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,585 Posts
Unbelievable for a horse to have Cushings that young - especially a Quarter Horse since that breed is not predisposed to those kinds of things.

Metabolic horses don’t hold their energy level. She might (MIGHT) make the first turn then literally go down on the second or third turn.

That is asking a lot for that horse, not to mention how dangerous it could be for the rider. This is precisely why they are selling her.

I also give the Sellers a lot of credit for being up front with the disease. She may make a great trail horse for months or many years with proper care but she should never be used for any kind of strenuous event.

I lost a horse with Cushings in February. He had a major colic. Did the Cushings play a role in that? I don’t know but I can tell you the disease was progressing to where his daily dosage of Prascend was going to have to be increased.

Cushings is a gradual killer. There is no cure. As others have said, the horse has to be on Prascend, a prescription medication, which slows the progress of Cushings down, it doesn’t arrest it.

As has also been mentioned, insulin resistance can often go hand in hand, which is its own can of worms to manage.

You mentioned the horse has a shoeing package and the hooves “are hardening”. That is great news for the horse BUT that does not mean the horse is sound for barrel racing. Cushings disease often beget founder and worse yet continual hoof abscess’s .

Nupe. If you want a barrel horse, do this horse a kind favor, yourself a safety favor and pass on it.

If you want a nice trail horse and are willing to give this horse the never ending special medical care it needs, the price is right, then buy her.

No matter how cute she is, you can’t game on looks and you can’t be safe gaming on a horse with medical issues such as this.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,498 Posts
It's not only the potential hoof issues and depressed immune system. Even when treated, the winter coat is often extra long and takes longer to shed in the spring. It doesn't seem like such a big deal, but having the coat extra long after the weather gets warmer means you have to clip, or else go through a lot of work helping the horse shed.

I used to have to work daily on my horse's coat for weeks, with pumice and grooming gloves to get all the hair off. When she passed away at age 30 I was sad, but have not missed the spring shedding ritual I had for years.

I was lucky, my mare never developed insulin resistance and only was up to $60 a month for her pills the last several years. In her late teens before getting diagnosed, she had pneumonia and a neck abscess due to the depressed immune system.

It is sad a 9 year old horse has already developed Cushing's. For some horses it is slowly progressive, and if medicated they can outlive the disease. My other mare had a sudden onset of Cushing's and had to be put down after severe founder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
I have to agree with those here who have advised against buying this horse. I just put my lovely gelding Sloane down after several years of struggling with EOTRH, heaves, then a diagnosis of Cushings with resultant weight loss. I was never able to get the weight back on and he probably had a growth inside that was absorbing all the calories. He was anywhere between 26 and 30. Prascend is the only treatment and it brings its own problems. I don't think purchasing a 9yo already diagnosed is a good idea.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top