Pergolide use in Minis

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bevann

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After having tests done by my vet on 2 Mini mares who are full sisters my vet is starting them on Pergolide pills.I am picking up meds on Monday to start.Anybody out there doing this so I know what to expect. the older mare has lost weight due to being on dry lot, but her neck is thick, fat and very hard.she is in excellent body weight otherwise and very healthy.Her younger sister has mild laminitis which we now have under control .X rays of both froont feet show no rotation of coffin bone and we are weaning her off bute.She is also on dry lot with feed restrictions.Prognosis is good for both mares-I just really need to get rid of this fat cresty neck.Dam of both mares had Cushing's disease for several years before being put down due to blindness and loss of control of hindquarters.Another full sister has no symptoms.Any info you can share will be appreciated.
 

Tam VanderWerf

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We have a mare that tested negative for Cushings. No matter what we tried, she still had a HUGE neck. Our vet suggested we try Pergolide on her for a couple of months to see if her neck would reduce in size. She also told us to measure her neck the day we started the Pergolide, which was a liquid and administered in a .03 cc dose one time per day.

I am happy to report that we measured her neck June 1st after being on the drug for one month and it reduced in size by 1 1/2 inches!

We have also started her on 1 oz. per day of Remission made by Animark, which we bought through Horse.com. It is supposed to help with horses that are prone to founder and have big necks. I'm hoping it works better than the Quiessence we had her on for 6 months+. That was soooo pricey and it didn't work for our mare.

Good luck with your mares. I'm sure happy with the results of the Pergolide.

Tam
 

targetsmom

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Glad I saw this post and will be following it closely. Our 4 year old show mare has a heavy crest which I was - until last week - able to keep under control with a fairly low starch diet, no grass, exercise, neck sweating, and Remission. But last week her neck seemed to blow up almost overnight and I am having a vet check her today. I will mention the Pergolide. I joined the Yahoo group yesterday.
 

Hosscrazy

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Hopefully you have joined the Yahoo Cushings forum (which I also moderate) - if not, I highly recommend that you join this group:

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/EquineCushings

I had my mare on Pergolide for 2 years - the tricky part is finding the correct dosage for your horse. Full size horses usually get 1mg per day - I had my mini on 1/4 mg per day, which was too much to give at one time. Symptoms include loss of appetite, and excessive sleeping - excessive sleeping meaning she would literally fall asleep in the middle of a meal. So I ended up splitting her dosage into 1/8 mg per day, twice a day. I used the liquid compound pergolide as it was easier and more accurate to measure than the pills. One of the risks of pergolide can be a burst heart valve, which I will be honest and tell you that's what happened to my mare. She was 21 years old, had Cushings/IR and had severe rotation in both front feet from laminitis. After a 2 year battle, I had to euthanize her due to the burst heart valve but honestly, I would do it again (use the pergolide) if I was faced with this situation again in the future.

Best wishes to you.

Liz R.
 

Mocha

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This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart as I have a 15 year old mare who was diagnosed with Cushings almost 2 years ago. I also have 2 other mares who were diagnosed with Insulin Resistance (IR). What many people, and way too many vets do, is to confuse the two conditions. I am not an expert and will not do a technical dissertation here, but I do want to say that Cushings Disease is treated with Pergolide, where IR is treated by diet and excersize (when horse is able).

Some Cushings horses are ALSO IR, but all IR horses do NOT have Cushings Disease. Despite what some folks seem to be saying, it is not protocol to treat your overweight, cresty horses, who are most likely IR, with Pergolide.

I enthusiastically recommend the web site Keri has mentioned on this thread - the Yahoo group targetsmom has just joined. (You will love it there, Mary!) It ihas been my bible for the last two years. It is run by a very respected and published veterinarian who specializes in equine nutrition, and the site is light years ahead in research and information on Cushings and IR. You owe it to your horses to check out this site.

It should also be noted that minis are a breed that is prone to Insulin Resistance, and that untreated IR and Cushings can lead to laminitis - something to be avoided at all costs, as we know. In the case of one of my mares, she was never overweight, had no heavy crest or fat pads in those telltale places, but seemed always just a little 'ouchy'. After joining the Yahoo group for my Cushings mare, I had the other mare tested for glucose and insulin -- and her insulin levels were off the chart! Insulin resistant horses do not have to be 'fat'. I had been 'killing' her with sweet feed for years - like feeding a diabetic candy - and at that point, I changed my whole feeding program, and now everyone here - broodmares, stallions, babies, show horses - are on a low sugar/starch diet.

All my mares are doing very well now - the IR mares on their strict low starch/sugar diets with minerals balanced to their hay, and my Cushings girl well under control with a similar diet and daily Pergolide.

The Equine Cushings/IR site also has valuable info. on very reasonably priced sources for Pergolide capsules - the safest form, with the longest shelf life, in case your horse really does have Cushings Disease.

Well, I got a little carried away, after all.
This has become a passion of mine. Please do go take a look at the web site (Yahoo group) mentioned. It is THE place to learn all you ever wanted to know on this subject. http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/EquineCushings/
 

JewelsOK

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I totally agree with everything Cindy said! I have not dealt with this in minis, but my daughers 14.3 hand mare was IR. We were told by our vet and farrier that she likely had cushings and she would need Pergolide, but she was tested at a university vet hospital and it turns out she had IR (she was also tested for pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) aka "Cushings" and was negative).

We kept her sound with strict diet, plenty of exercise and quiessence (I never could tell if it was helping or not, but I felt like I was doing something to help). We never did lose all of the crest, but she has stayed "sound" and rideable (she did have about 6 degrees rotation in her bad foot).

Have the test run and find out for sure what you are dealing with. Thankfully our test were all run for free as the university was looking for horses with either disorder for studies they were doing.

Julie
 

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