Dear SmartPak: How do you feed a horse with Cushing’s?

SmartPak’s staff veterinarian Dr. Lydia Gray answers a question from the owner of a horse with Cushing’s, a disease caused by an overactive pituitary gland.

From the SmartPak Blog:

Hello, I have a Cushing’s mare who is really sweet, she isn’t too bad yet but definitely has it. She isn’t on Pergolide yet, I will probably put her on it in a few years, depending on her condition. I don’t know what to feed her, she is slightly overweight, but it’s more of the muscle wasting so she looks like she is overweight. I don’t know if I should feed her a high protein/low fat or a high fat/ low protein diet. – Olivia

Dear Olivia,

I’m going to take the liberty of providing medical advice as well as nutritional advice in your situation. My recommendation (with the support of your veterinarian) is to start your mare on Pergolide now for her Cushing’s Disease since she’s already showing external signs of the condition, meaning it’s progressed beyond the early stages. By the time you observe hirsutism (long, curly hair), the disease is in the later stages and treatment may not be as effective. Starting her on medication sooner rather than later may slow the progression of the disease and improve her quality of life so I encourage you to rethink your decision to wait.

Continue reading Dr. Gray’s answer here.

Go SmartPak, and Go Riding!



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