Coping with equine cushings

What is cushings?

Equine cushings is a progressive condition that is identified by a number of symptoms that can affect your horse or ponies quality of life. It is likely that without diagnosis from a vet and medication and/ or change of management the condition will worsen.

What are the signs?

The clinical signs are lethargy, recurrent infections, increased thirst, an abnormal (often long/curly) coat and muscle wastage.

What should I do if I think my horse has cushings?

If you think your horse might have cushings you should speak to your vet and they can do a blood test to test your horse for the disease.

How is it treated? 

Cushings is usually treated with some type of medication in a tablet or paste form and a change in management to help control it. A low sugar, starch and protein diet is best.

What does this mean for me and my horse?

Finding out your horse or pony has cushings could make you anxious with the unknown, but the best thing you can do is to listen to any advice from your vet. They will help you find the best way to manage the condition for your horse, as every horse is different.

Although there is no cure for cushing's syndrome it can be managed with a strict/careful routine, appropriate nutrition and veterinary treatment, many horses and ponies with the condition continue to have comfortable and active lives.

This means, in most cases, horses and ponies with the condition can still continue to be exercised. Regular exercise can be key to help maintain a good weight and to manage the condition.

Nutritional management of horses and ponies who have cushings is very similar to that of a laminitic and should therefore focus on maintaining healthy body condition and providing a diet that is high in fibre and low in sugar, starch and protein.

[Photo of Ruby, one of our miniature Shetlands, who is on treatment for cushings]

Coping with equine cushings