Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many
articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse
Here he reproduces
in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of
them common problems which afflict horses.
Topics click on Vet Advice Menu.
Q. My mare has been diagnosed with Cushing's Disease. What is this
and what's the best way to manage this condition?
cause of Cushing's is usually a disturbance to the pituitary gland
in the brain. This disturbance causes more steroid hormone to be
produced in the body. Common signs of the disease are a long, hairy
coat with a large belly, laminitis, more drinking and urininating
than usual, sweating and repeated non-specific infections with slow
healing of wounds.
Even more serious
signs may be blindness and fits. The condition is most commonly
confused with laminitis caused by digestive imbalance.
possible to treat a horse which is affected by Cushing's, but is not
easy, as the problem is often caused by a tumour on the pituitary
gland. As far as management goes, you should try to reduce the risk
of complications and try to keep your horse as generally healthy as
possible. Make sure she is wormed regularly, that you give her good
hoof care, keep up to date with her tetanus vaccination and get her
teeth checked regularly. Feed a good mineral supplement, and immune
system feed supplements can help a lot.
As for the
treatment of Cushing's disease, drugs such as cyproheptadine, pergolide
and bromocriptine can be used and can effectively control the problem.
Ask your vet for advice.
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