Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don't Worry


So, my mantra right now is “don’t worry”. Yes, the weather is incredibly warm and beautiful, but it’s really early for it to be in the 70’s in New England in mid-March. The horses are shedding like crazy. Siete looks normal, but Silk has an unusually heavy coat. Yesterday, when it was downright hot out, she was sweating and her hair on her neck was wavy and curling. It looks different than it ever has before. Leaping to the worst case scenario, I thought, omg, she’s got Cushings!

Now, there are no other symptoms like excessive water drinking or laminitis or eating too much. She’s actually more fit than she was last year. I’ve changed her diet to Uckele’s senior feed and a little D-Carb Balance, and she’s a perfect weight, with much better energy. At the end of April, Silk will be 24 years old, and we did notice that she seems to be getting hairier each year. The vet did bring up the C-word last time she saw Silk and said I should keep an eye on her because at this age….

So, as I groomed her last night, I calmed myself and came up with a plan. I’m calling the vet today to schedule their Spring shots, and I’ll have Silkie tested for Cushings. If that is what it is, the disease is obviously in a very early stage, and I know that I will be able to manage her care to deal with it. Horses who are treated with pergolide and fed properly can live five to seven years, I read in one of the hundreds of articles that I poured over last night.

This morning, I forced myself to think only positive thoughts about how good she looked and how bright and happy my darling old lady is. The birds are singing, the flowers are popping up, the flies are not out yet. Everything will be good. Silk is fine. And I’ll just keep telling myself that over and over.

13 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

Your lovely Silk most likely doesn't have Cushings. It might just be her age. I'll tell you why I think this. Our Mellon is about the same age as Silk, maybe a year or two older. For the last few years he's gotten as hairy as a yak. We had him tested and he was negative. Might be that like us aging, their metabolism slows down too and they don't shed out as fast. We took a shedding blade to him last week because he was so miserable, hot and sweaty. Don't worry, I'm sure she's fine and will shed out in time. It's hard to get old.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks, A - I needed to hear this from you! Yes, getting old is a bummer.

Anonymous said...

Hey Victoria~ Agreeing with GRAY HORSE MATTERS~ horses grow and shed their coats by the length of the days, rather than the temps. My almost 28 yr old has for the last 3 or 4 yrs had a heavier coat than eEEEver before, we're in Florida so you can imagine how hot he is, curly and shaggy, on the 80degrees+ days we've had all winter this year. My vet recommended body clipping him where the blanket goes back in December, and then blanket if we get a cold snap, but I haven't done that and now he's shedding out in big golden CLUMPS, NEVER seen so much fur, but a close match last 2or3 years. Just sayin~ don't know but doubt Silk has the 'C' problem. Best to get her checked if you're concerned. My vet isn't concerned about my guy, says the older they get the shaggier in winter, making up for the also aging internal thermostat. Love your blog. M.

Victoria Cummings said...

M - You're making me feel much better! Thanks for that info and I'm glad that you like my blog!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

My OTTB is so hairy as he developed quite a great coat this Michigan winter that he too is dropping fur in clumps but his neck fur looks wavy due to the amount, the gloss and him sweating. I was worried as well and had an IR test to make sure there was no hiding signs of Cushings especially since he's had laminitis (but from fever/gut issues trigger). The coats are brought on by the light of the day, and this unseasonable warmth is causing a bit of an issue. I'm sure she is fine :)

Kate said...

Our Lily has developed Cushing at about the same age as your Silk - the heavy, wavier coat was the tip off. Otherwise she's fine. She's on pergolide now, and we expect her to do well.

Victoria Cummings said...

Kristen - I hope you're right.
Kate - My intuition tells me that even though Silk isn't showing any other symptoms of Cushings, I need to check it out. If nothing else, there will be a baseline blood test for future reference.
How is Lily doing on the Pergolide? I understand that getting the right dosage can be tricky sometimes.

Oak in the Seed said...

We tend to jump to the worst conclusions when our animals change but we blow off own issues of age.

This is one area my husband wishes he was more "equinesque" and grow more hair on his head with each passing year instead of less!

billie said...

If you didn't already find it, go to this site and read about Cushings, especially their thoughts on testing for it:

http://ecirhorse.com/#

There is an accompanying yahoo group where there are many informational files you can read on every aspect of managing a Cushings' horse. The information collected by this large group of Cushings' horse and their humans is HUGE and basically an informal research study. Many folks end up printing out info and giving it to their vets b/c the info is so much more current/thorough than what the vets learned in school.

Right now there is a huge brouhaha going on about the meds used to treat Cushings - while Pergolide has been the gold standard, a company recently developed a med called Prascend that is being used by many vets now - and of course it's MUCH more expensive. If you join the group you'll see a lot about that. I've been a member for several years mainly b/c I wanted to be ready for it if Salina or Keil Bay developed symptoms. So far, not, but like you, I want to be prepared.

Victoria Cummings said...

thanks Billie - I had a feeling that you would be a great resource for me on this subject! I am part of the Yahoo IR/Cushings group but it's so dense. I'll research this new med you mention. My vet is really up to date on what's happening. She went to Cornell and is young and smart, so I think she'll know about a lot of this information.

Wolfie said...

All of the horses here look like hairy sweaty beasts. These temperatures are crazy! Silk looks good - I believe that weight gain is also a symptom and she does not look "fatty" by any means. Hope the vet is able to ease our mind.

Máire said...

I had a homeopathic vet out to Rosie in the autumn. She commented that she thought Rosie could have Cushings. She also said that she thought there was no need to do expensive tests that would result in equally expensive medical treatment that is not long term. She treated Rosie homeopathically. I also researched and have had Rosie on Chaste Berry (Agnus Castus) all winter and this Spring she is shedding! Not as much as Ben, but a lot more than last Spring. I am so pleased. She is also looking and moving very well. (She is on hay - to her disgust. Not on Spring grass.)

So, good luck with it, and do consider alternative approaches.

Victoria Cummings said...

Wolfie - I scheduled the vet to come this week and do Spring shots and the blood test, so I hope you're right!

Maire - I am very interested in the homeopathic approach to treating this. I did order the chaste berry, and after the results of the blood test, I will be better able to decide what to do next. It's really amazing how many horses get Cushings Disease, isn't it?