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Older mini horse with issues....help?

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slonewbt

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One of my minis (age 20) was just diagnosed with myopathy and we also suspect cushings. He's also a quiddor so has been on alfalfa/timothy pellets...he can't eat hay (but his teeth are fine - not sure why he balls and spits hay out)...anyway, due to the myopathy and cushings, our vet has recommended putting him on a complete low starch senior feed. I purchased Triple Crown Senior feed today but am confused on how much to feed. The label says 12 lbs daily for a 1200 lb horse ...he weighs probably 250 so I would figure 2.5 lbs/day or 1.25 lbs per feeding. He was eating almost 5 lbs of alfalfa/timothy pellets a day and is thin so I'm wondering if 2.5lbs a day is sufficient....any thoughts or recommendations??
 

Taz

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I've had good luck with a combination of senior feed and plain beet pulp. The senior is high fiber but the beet pulp is a great source of very easily digested( and chewed) fiber and if you get the plain there is almost no increase in blood sugar from it. Make sure you soak the beet pulp. I would slowly change him over to replacing the hay pellets with beet pulp and adding the senior and see how his weight goes, you can always increase if you have to later. Have you already switched him off the hay pellets onto senior?
 

Marsha Cassada

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I would question the condition of his teeth. My horses get yearly dentist work. About a year ago, my older boy (age 25) started coughing. I took him to an equine hospital for dental work and asked about the coughin. Same hospital I had used in the past. He listed to the sinus, checked lungs, found no reason for the coughing. My horse had also been leaving chewed up quids sometimes. The vet told us he had invested in some new dental tools for miniatures. Hurrah! He was able to get all the way back with the new, small tools (hard work, too; he worked up a sweat!). My horse didn't cough again and no longer leaves quids. Just saying, sometimes it is extremely difficult for vets/equine dentists to get to those very back areas and it is so important.
 

chandab

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While I'm not sure I'd up the TC senior, but what about adding in a forage source he can eat? My old man gets hay pellets mixed into his senior, and then all soaked, plus he has access to chopped alfalfa/timothy hay (this i can leave out dry for him, so it's free choice for him, he rifles it, eating the choicest bits, and I feed his left-overs to one of the other horses).
The TC senior says to start with 12# then adjust up or down to suit the individuals needs, your horse may need more than the base level. I still say mix in some plain forage cubes or pellets, or the chop.
 

Abby P

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I agree with everyone else's suggestions - and also getting the Cushing's treated will help with body condition.
 

slonewbt

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While I'm not sure I'd up the TC senior, but what about adding in a forage source he can eat? My old man gets hay pellets mixed into his senior, and then all soaked, plus he has access to chopped alfalfa/timothy hay (this i can leave out dry for him, so it's free choice for him, he rifles it, eating the choicest bits, and I feed his left-overs to one of the other horses).
The TC senior says to start with 12# then adjust up or down to suit the individuals needs, your horse may need more than the base level. I still say mix in some plain forage cubes or pellets, or the chop.
Vet says due to the myopathy and quidding-no hay. The myopathy is the most concerning at this time. He needs low starch/sugar b/c his muscles are storing glucose in excess. I can't let him graze either until we get the myopathy under control. :-(
 

slonewbt

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I agree with everyone else's suggestions - and also getting the Cushing's treated will help with body condition.

Any ideas about what to do about Cushings when you can't give prescend? Due to my own health concerns, my vet and doctor don't advise me handling prescent/pergolide. I had a mare years ago on it as well and she got depressed and went off feed b/c of it. My vet is checking into another drug that might help. I"ve only had this mini a few weeks - poor guy. Looks like he came with a few issues. :-(
 

slonewbt

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I would question the condition of his teeth. My horses get yearly dentist work. About a year ago, my older boy (age 25) started coughing. I took him to an equine hospital for dental work and asked about the coughin. Same hospital I had used in the past. He listed to the sinus, checked lungs, found no reason for the coughing. My horse had also been leaving chewed up quids sometimes. The vet told us he had invested in some new dental tools for miniatures. Hurrah! He was able to get all the way back with the new, small tools (hard work, too; he worked up a sweat!). My horse didn't cough again and no longer leaves quids. Just saying, sometimes it is extremely difficult for vets/equine dentists to get to those very back areas and it is so important.
Maybe...I don't believe we have anyone who specializes in mini teeth around here. He has had a dental and been checked annually. My vet was pleased with this teeth but he has a differently shaped jaw which may case the problem structurally. According to his prior owner, this has been an issue for years and years so he has been on pellets.
 

Abby P

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It's hard to comment on the Cushing's without knowing how bad his numbers are. There are some other things that people use, like herbs, that can help but IME only with more mild cases.

The low starch/sugar will be beneficial for the Cushing's too since that often comes along with insulin resistance. So you might need to play around further - I'm not sure what the levels are on the TC Senior these days but some horses need to stay REALLY low, like 8% sugar + starch total. Alfalfa tends to be very low but then some horses can't handle that either, for other reasons!

I haven't used them in a long time but Ontario Dehy used to make a balanced timothy hay cube that was guaranteed to be low sugar/starch. I think there are other hay-based products available now as well. If you haven't already you might join the Equine Cushing's group - not sure of its home these days (Google it, or someone here might be on it) but there is a ton of information there that is probably a lot more up to date than mine!

Good luck, it's so tough when they have these issues, especially when more than one thing is going on at a time!
 

slonewbt

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It's hard to comment on the Cushing's without knowing how bad his numbers are. There are some other things that people use, like herbs, that can help but IME only with more mild cases.

The low starch/sugar will be beneficial for the Cushing's too since that often comes along with insulin resistance. So you might need to play around further - I'm not sure what the levels are on the TC Senior these days but some horses need to stay REALLY low, like 8% sugar + starch total. Alfalfa tends to be very low but then some horses can't handle that either, for other reasons!

I haven't used them in a long time but Ontario Dehy used to make a balanced timothy hay cube that was guaranteed to be low sugar/starch. I think there are other hay-based products available now as well. If you haven't already you might join the Equine Cushing's group - not sure of its home these days (Google it, or someone here might be on it) but there is a ton of information there that is probably a lot more up to date than mine!

Good luck, it's so tough when they have these issues, especially when more than one thing is going on at a time!
Right? It's so frustrating at times. I have a 30 yr old with no issues who acts like an 8 yr old and my 20 yr old has all sorts of issues. sigh...doing my best. Vet is coming back again tomorrow to take more blood to see if the myopathy is progressive.
 

chandab

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Vet says due to the myopathy and quidding-no hay. The myopathy is the most concerning at this time. He needs low starch/sugar b/c his muscles are storing glucose in excess. I can't let him graze either until we get the myopathy under control. :-(
Hay pellets tend to be lower in sugar/starch; but if that's a worry, then the perhaps the Triple Crown Naturals Timothy Balance cubes, they are under 10% sugar/starch content, just need soaking to fluff and reduce chance of choke. Safe for metabolic equines, so should be safe from a sugar/starch perspective.

Any ideas about what to do about Cushings when you can't give prescend? Due to my own health concerns, my vet and doctor don't advise me handling prescent/pergolide. I had a mare years ago on it as well and she got depressed and went off feed b/c of it. My vet is checking into another drug that might help. I"ve only had this mini a few weeks - poor guy. Looks like he came with a few issues. :-(
While it doesn't slow the pituitary issues, Chastetree berry can help manage Cushing's symptoms, some equines do well with this alone, others need the medication. It comes in pellets, powders and liquids. Smartpak has pellets. Evitex is the most recommended liquid.
 

slonewbt

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Hay pellets tend to be lower in sugar/starch; but if that's a worry, then the perhaps the Triple Crown Naturals Timothy Balance cubes, they are under 10% sugar/starch content, just need soaking to fluff and reduce chance of choke. Safe for metabolic equines, so should be safe from a sugar/starch perspective.


While it doesn't slow the pituitary issues, Chastetree berry can help manage Cushing's symptoms, some equines do well with this alone, others need the medication. It comes in pellets, powders and liquids. Smartpak has pellets. Evitex is the most recommended liquid.
I've never heard of the triple crown timothy balance cubes. I'll have to see if our feed store carries them. I don't mind soaking at all. I was looking at NSC levels and the triple crown complete senior is 11.7 compared to alfalfa pellets which are only 9%. I'm getting so confused b/c I've heard some say never feed alfalfa to minis and others say thats all they feed.
 

chandab

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Some areas alfalfa is the only forage people feed, but I'd not recommend over like 25% of the forage be alfalfa, it's high calories and protein, and the minerals can be hard to balance (it's high calcium and low phosphorus, it's about 5:1; horses only need about 2:1, and phosphorus is not tasty, so hard to get them to eat it). Alfalfa does tend to be lower sugar/starch than many grass hays, but the high protein and calories means it should be fed in limited quantities to keep the ponies from getting to fat, which makes it hard to keep forage/fiber in front of them all the time.
 

Cayuse

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Any ideas about what to do about Cushings when you can't give prescend? Due to my own health concerns, my vet and doctor don't advise me handling prescent/pergolide. I had a mare years ago on it as well and she got depressed and went off feed b/c of it. My vet is checking into another drug that might help. I"ve only had this mini a few weeks - poor guy. Looks like he came with a few issues. :-(
Cyproheptadine is a drug used for Cushings. Maybe that's the one your vet is looking into, if not, it could be another option to check out.
 

slonewbt

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Cyproheptadine is a drug used for Cushings. Maybe that's the one your vet is looking into, if not, it could be another option to check out.
I believe that is the one he mentioned. He said he's used it in conjunction with pergolide when the horse can't tolerate a higher dose of the pergolide but has had limited success with it alone.
 

slonewbt

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Some areas alfalfa is the only forage people feed, but I'd not recommend over like 25% of the forage be alfalfa, it's high calories and protein, and the minerals can be hard to balance (it's high calcium and low phosphorus, it's about 5:1; horses only need about 2:1, and phosphorus is not tasty, so hard to get them to eat it). Alfalfa does tend to be lower sugar/starch than many grass hays, but the high protein and calories means it should be fed in limited quantities to keep the ponies from getting to fat, which makes it hard to keep forage/fiber in front of them all the time.
That's exactly what my vet said today. He said alfalfa should never be more than 40% of diet for a mini...even less is better. He gave me the okay to feed a few cups of alfalfa pellets along with the senior feed as my little guy doesn't seem to like the senior feed and does like alfalfa...gotta get him to eat! He's definitely not fat right now so gaining a bit would be fine
 

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