A little bit worried about Cushings

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weeburnsyg

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Hi all, I'm looking to those with more experience and knowledge than me please.

I have a year old Falabella filly, we've had her now a few months. I live in Northern Ireland where the weather is typically a little cooler compared to a lot of places but nothing significant (very little snow throughout the winter). For the past two months, spring has been fairly dry and temperatures have been around 14-20oC (59-70F) which is typical for this time of year here.

The problem is my yearling's coat is not shedding. I mentioned it to my vet when she came out to vaccinate them a few weeks ago and we gave her a different wormer just in case that was the problem. It helped a bit but she still has loads left. I'm plucking and grooming her several times a day, some of it just is not ready to shift at all.

I'm concerned it may be Cushings but I'm hoping I'm completely barking up the wrong tree and it's just a young horse / random environment temperature thing? Her body perhaps just hasn't had enough experience to learn the climate here yet (she is from here as are her sire and dam).

I think she also has a bit of a pot belly although she doesn't appear lethargic. She's a quiet little soul but does play a lot with my other mini so I don't think I've any concerns about her energy levels.

In addition, they are on restricted grazing at around 3 hours a day. They have been getting out for several weeks now but her droppings are still very soft and a bit runny after they have been out. I thought that should have settled down by now? They are on soaked hay at all other times.

I also have a Falabella/Shetland blend gelding. His coat completely shed several weeks ago and he is having no soft poo problems or any other issues.

Here's a pic of said filly, taken just last week.

So, my questions now are,
  • Should I be concerned about it?
  • Should I clip the remaining winter coat off now it's getting warmer? It's the norm here to not clip them (unless showing) and if you do only clip them from five years old.

My vet is due out in a few weeks for their second vaccinations but of course it's eating at me now so I wanted to get some peoples' thoughts.

Thank you in advance!

Glenda x
 

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Willow Flats

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I am not an expert, so please wait on others answers, but a trainer and friend of mine that has a yearling was just here and said that her yearling looked awful because she was not shedding well either so she has just clipped her.

The temperature range you have listed, is that your daytime high? Because we are gettiing quite warm here, but still very cool at night. She blankets her little one.

That's a lot of lush green grass. I don't give mine that long of a turn out when my grass is green, but I would see what others recommend. I also start them off really slowly and increase the time.
 

Taz

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I wouldn't worry at all about her coat or Cushings. It's normal for some yearlings not to shed well, clip her if she gets hot. She does look like she has a pot belly, how often was she wormed last year? That could be it, I'd talk to your vet about that when she comes next. I only have 2 babies but there should be more coming along with more experience. She's adorable!!!!
 

LostandFound

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I have never heard of cushings starting that young. Which isn't to say it's impossible just not the most likely cause. Minis don't seem to shed out like full size horses as babies...I would suggest body clipping for comfort and seeing what happens next spring before worrying about that.
 
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Abby P

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She is so cute! And I agree, Cushing's is a disease of older horses, it's rare for a horse under mid-teens to get it, much less a yearling.

Foals do need to be dewormed more and differently than older horses so I bet that is part of the story with the pot belly, maybe the runny poops, and possibly the coat not shedding too. And as others mentioned, babies might hold onto their coats a bit longer, too.
 
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Marsha Cassada

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What do you vaccinate for?
What kind of wormer do you use? Be proactive for your ponies, as some vets don't understand them. Can your vet test a fecal sample to see what might be best to use--if any?
Your baby may need more protein. And is she getting exercise?
 

candycar

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I second Marsha on the protein. Young often get big bellies from not enough protein. With limited pasture and soaked hay yearlings may not be getting the right nutrition to grow. Maybe you could try a hard feed made for young ones up to two years. Start slow and build up to desired amount.
 
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MindySchroder

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Actually yearling often do not shed their coats and can look a bit rough, even if you are feeding them correctly! I just clipped my yearling shetland pony to get his thick, sheep fleece like coat off. He was so sweaty and miserable. I just took the hair off his body, neck and head and left his legs. LOL!
IMG_8785.jpg

BUT Cushings is no longer an old horse disease. It is great that you are thinking proactively! They are finding Cushings in horses as young as two years old. (But I am confident that you are dealing with normal yearling coat here and not Cushings.) I just wanted to clear that up. I was told the testing for Cushings is getting better and better and they are more able to detect it in the younger horses now.
 

Cayuse

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I agree with what everyone else has said but thought I'd add that I have a mini that get runny poops on anything more than an "almost" dry lot where he just get nibbles of grass here and there. Also, along with parasites, runny manure can be an indicator of hind gut problems like ulcers so it might be worth mentioning to the vet.
About the clipping, if she's hot, I'd go ahead and clip her and start fresh.
 

Maryann at MiniV

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I agree with a lot of what's been posted. Do another worming in a couple of weeks and increase her protein with some grain. Doing both should address her belly. It's highly unlikely she has cushings. As for her coat? Some of ours are weird about shedding evenly too, but if it's getting hot, clip her WITH the grain of the fur instead of against it. That will smooth her coat a bit but still leave her with a layer of protection if it's still chilly at night.
Oh, and a fecal wouldn't hurt either.
 

chandab

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While Cushing's is found in younger horses, it's rare for it to be found in horses under 5 years old.
Yearling miniatures often have trouble shedding their first winter coat, as it also has some fuzzy foal coat mixed in, so it just doesn't shed as nicely as an adult coat.
What is her diet? All the details. Yearlings are still growing, so have higher nutritional demands than adults. So many are afraid they'll get fat or founder, so often under feed them; they need proper nutrients to grow.
What is her deworming history? Youngsters have a different deworming protocol than adults, as they have not yet acquired immunity to any of the parasite they can get. Quite rigorous deworming compared to adults.
 

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