Sunday, November 20, 2005

Cushings Disease...."does this halter make me look fat ?"


As horses live longer we have to deal with the everymore likely possibility of "cancer".
One of these is a small tumor on the Pituitary gland at the base of the brain. The Pituitary gland is responsible for regulation of Hormone production in the body and as tumors develop they cause an abnormal production of these substances. In the Horse this frequently leads to "Cushings Disease" and a wide array of clinical signs such as Laminitis, a long curly hair coat and excessive drinking. The big problem is the laminitis and hoof abcesses which can spell disaster for your horse, the key is picking up the problem early. To do this we do an extensive physical exam to see if this could actually be Metabolic syndrome (another problem) and then do diagnostic testing for organ function and a dexamethasone suppression test. While the tumor itself is not treatable at this point there are medications we can use to control the clinical signs. Primarily we use Cyproheptidine and Pergolide . The cost of treatment is usually less than $60 dollars a month and can keep your horse is reasonably good health for years to come. Stay alert for any of these symptoms in your horse and watch for the wavy hair that doesn't shed out in the summer.

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