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Feeding A Cushing's Horse Questions?


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#1 msjwebb

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 07:42 AM



Ok guys. I have spent the last few days reading up on Cushing's and I/R as the vet said my gelding is showing signs of I/R and should start on a preventative diet as soon as possible to keep him from having full blown Cushing's if possible. :bigemo_harabe_net-135: Including a dry lot in the spring when the grass is new and high in sugar. So I have read so much crap about what NOT to feed the polar bear but not what TO feed him other than beet pulp which is not an option as we have tried this SEVERAL times and he refuses to eat it even with the molasses stuff (prior to having this appointment with the vet where I/R became a concern) think Mayo and Mike's cookie story. So, Rye grass and Alfalfa are out (meaning I get to kill off a whole pasture come spring as I planted it in a Rye mix (mostly Rye) last spring, UGH!) All sweet feed is out (has been now since the summer when it was so hot that I had a bag go bad and cause me a several hundred dollar vet bill)

I am looking at the low starch diets that are designed for HYPP horses as the vet recommended them.
No carrots or apples.......
Timothy hay?
Orchard?
Bangs head repeatedly on desk!!! :5298_orcspash: What CAN I feed the wooly beast?

#2 cecelia

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 07:54 AM

I would strongly encourage you to become a member of the Yahoo Equine Cushings group. My gelding is IR and that group saved his life. Both are run by Dr. Eleanor Kellon and she knows what she is talking about. They will answer all your questions about anything C/IR related.
Both Cushing and IR are manageable but they take a lot of dedication to your horse and his health. Good luck, you're in good company in those groups.
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#3 ladycascabel

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 08:30 AM

I've had great results with cinnamon (two tablespoons per feeding) and this supplement: http://www.theholist...aidGateway.html
I can feed my mare SMALL amounts of Purina Ultium (two or three handsful) to get her supplements into her and then she gets only bermuda or other grass hay as her roughage. She's been incident-free for two years now and her foundered front feet are almost back to normal thanks to my wonderful farrier!

I second researching the Yahoo Equine Cushings group, there is a lot of information there invaluable to people with affected horses.

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#4 D Taylor

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:41 AM

I suggest you not get hung up on names of feed ingredients and start looking hard at the numbers. NSC for most major brands is gladly shared by the maker. Call them if you do not find it online.

Purchase tested hay....never assume. Even soaking is NOT a guarentee. Also many hay sub and stretchers also have NSC #'s on the bag.

How strict you limit NSC depends on the severity of the horse.

Dry lots are not always the best idea as they limit exercise. Think about a grazing muzzle.

I think anytime you can join a group like already mentioned that it as wonderful. You can benefit from their experience and there is a ton of experience out there but also be wary of people promoting their way and the ever present buy this product (from me).

#5 msjwebb

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:07 AM

My problem with a muzzle is he is the one that is an escape artist. He was muzzled before when some yahoo at the boarding barn I was at thought I was neglecting him, because she never saw me, so she was feeding him what she feed her horse. This was 11 years ago. Well I was active duty and worked the night shift so I was always out in the morning or around 2 on my way to work. Anyway he ballooned up in 2 months and "almost foundered?" x-rays came back clean. I had been soaking his legs and feet because they were hot and called the vet. So tragedy avoided then. But he had to have a muzzle on in order to lose some weight and he shredded them in a matter of days. He has not had any other feet problems since.
The dry lot he will be on is the latest pasture area that has been cleared of all the trees except the 6 that were large and in really good shape. The stumps have been dug out and it has been leveled with fill dirt. I call it a dry lot as I have not planted any grass yet as it was finally done last week when the honey was home. It is about 200 ft by 150 ft so he will still get some exercise. I am hoping to be able to find something I can plant in this pasture that he CAN eat

I have joined the Yahoo group but there is so much stuff I cannot seem to find what I am looking for. So much DON'T's and not enough DO's.
Currently he is not severe as he just has a small crest and his coat is very thick and shaggy. He did shed out last year fine and had a similar coat. The vet said the blood test are best done in the spring for accurate readings, so we are waiting until his coggins is due in Feb for that. So we are not even 100% sure he has I/R and if he does how bad, so I am looking at trying not to make him horribly unhappy, but make him healthier so he does not need to be off pasture for the rest of his life

#6 LaurieB

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:14 AM

Exercise is very important at this stage, keeping the body fat down can prevent in IR horse from going into Cushings. The good thing is that we can control that! Diet, especially limiting sugars, is critical too but differs from one area to another because of the soil and types of hay that is grown. We have Bermuda Grass here that has actually tested higher in sugars than alfalfa at times so I wouldnt dare to recommend diet for another area.
That group sounds great, Im going to check it out as we are dealing with several horses who came to us with this problem (friend has a sanctuary and we have a ton of different issues with many of the horses that we've taken in)
Luckily there is lots you can do and making a plan, like you are, will make a huge difference for him!
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#7 kathy e

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:24 AM

The people on the Yahoo group are great, but from personal experience I've found that the diet is not the answer for all horses. Just like people, every one has individual needs. My daughters' mare foundered 3 times in 2 years while I searched, researched and experimented with all the suggested diets. She has finally been stable on a diet of grass hay only. She still did not look good, though, and still had an incredibly cresty neck. A few months ago I stumbled on For Love of the Horse while I was researching something else for a friend. They have a chinese herbal formula that has done wonders for HER. I can only speak for her, but she looks better than she has in a LONG time.

#8 lunatuna

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:40 AM

Iam not much help because we just put down mom's mare (EMS - equine metabolic syndrom) as well as she had chronic laminitis and founder. And we suspect she got cushings near the end too.

Unfortunately all these problems can go hand in hand. We kept the diet fairly strict to just plain oats a few pounds and a grass/timothy hay. As well as not much lush grass.

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#9 msjwebb

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 12:04 PM

Exercise is very important at this stage, keeping the body fat down can prevent in IR horse from going into Cushings. The good thing is that we can control that! Diet, especially limiting sugars, is critical too but differs from one area to another because of the soil and types of hay that is grown. We have Bermuda Grass here that has actually tested higher in sugars than alfalfa at times so I wouldnt dare to recommend diet for another area. That group sounds great, Im going to check it out as we are dealing with several horses who came to us with this problem (friend has a sanctuary and we have a ton of different issues with many of the horses that we've taken in) Luckily there is lots you can do and making a plan, like you are, will make a huge difference for him! Laurie

Thank you that explains a lot on why there are not many dos listed.
I am hoping he is just at the beginning stages and we can correct him with diet and exercise. Ya hunting season is over so we can hit the trails more than just Sundays again.

#10 D Taylor

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 12:22 PM

My problem with a muzzle is he is the one that is an escape artist. He was muzzled before when some yahoo at the boarding barn I was at thought I was neglecting him, because she never saw me, so she was feeding him what she feed her horse. This was 11 years ago. Well I was active duty and worked the night shift so I was always out in the morning or around 2 on my way to work. Anyway he ballooned up in 2 months and "almost foundered?" x-rays came back clean. I had been soaking his legs and feet because they were hot and called the vet. So tragedy avoided then. But he had to have a muzzle on in order to lose some weight and he shredded them in a matter of days. He has not had any other feet problems since.
The dry lot he will be on is the latest pasture area that has been cleared of all the trees except the 6 that were large and in really good shape. The stumps have been dug out and it has been leveled with fill dirt. I call it a dry lot as I have not planted any grass yet as it was finally done last week when the honey was home. It is about 200 ft by 150 ft so he will still get some exercise. I am hoping to be able to find something I can plant in this pasture that he CAN eat

I have joined the Yahoo group but there is so much stuff I cannot seem to find what I am looking for. So much DON'T's and not enough DO's.
Currently he is not severe as he just has a small crest and his coat is very thick and shaggy. He did shed out last year fine and had a similar coat. The vet said the blood test are best done in the spring for accurate readings, so we are waiting until his coggins is due in Feb for that. So we are not even 100% sure he has I/R and if he does how bad, so I am looking at trying not to make him horribly unhappy, but make him healthier so he does not need to be off pasture for the rest of his life

Teft or crab grass. But weather and other factors influence nsc of pasture.....meaning no guarentees. If severe enough even the nsc in safer pastures maybe toohigh.