Older Horses Losing Their Hair

The Cushing’s is very noticeable.

I noticed Poppy’s unusual shedding in late March of 2017. Her hair was thick from winter growth and seemed normal before spring started.

Is It Cushing’s?

As I started the currying process hair came out in bunches. I still didn’t think much of it. I can’t make it out to see my horse everyday so next time I was out there I was a little shocked at how terrible she looked. (See included picture). It breaks my heart to see her look like this.

Long hair grew under her chin and on her legs. Under her belly the hair grew thick and like soft down. That hair is still there as I write as well as some curly hair on her neck. On her back and rump is smooth and shed out normal looking.

She still has that blotching look. I’d read if Cushing’s is caught early it’s better treated. I made an appointment and got my little mare into the vet clinic.

What Is Cushing’s?

Cushing’s also known as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), is a gland problem with mostly elderly horses, but I’ve read it can come up in younger horses, some as young as five.

The pars intermedia in the pituitary gland which is at the base of the horse’s brain begins to grow.

Cushing’s isn’t in any particular breed. It can show up in any horse or pony.

A blood test is done and analyze and the vet will no if it’s Cushing’s or not.

Cushing’s in a horse is a tumor growing in their pituitary glands. A stress hormone called cortisol is a result of the tumor.

When my vet was explaining about the stress, I misunderstood and told him my horse was in a nice place, not stressful at all. He patiently explained it’s the tumor in the gland that causes the stress, not the environment.

There are treatments, not a cure, but a help for the horse’s health. My horse will be taking pergolide.

I wrote briefly about Cushing’s here and also included a video.

Yes, It’s Cushing’s, But There’s More

Yes, she tested positive for the Cushing’s, but you know when you go to the doctor for one problem and the doctor finds something else? This is what happened. The vet checked her heart and lungs, eyes and all was good.

Then he looks at me and says there is one thing he’s concerned about. There’s a lump near one side of her uterus. He performed a rectal exam and there is a melon size lump. So not sure how this is going to play out.

She’s looking so much better.

She’s Still Rideable

He says she’s still rideable and not in pain. I rode her the other day and she was all eager to get out to the pasture. The owner had set up some poles and barrels. We went around these at a walk. I then got her into a trot, but she turned it into a lope and a buck. The little stinker, I knew she was going to try that. I stayed on and turned her out of the buck. We tried it again and she stayed at a trot.

This will probably be an ongoing post. I’ll update as time goes on.

Thank you for stopping by. Please leave a comment or ask a question. I’ll do my best to answer.

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