As the number of horses known to have Cushing’s Syndrome increases, questions on how to feed horses with this condition also increase. As a starting management practice, your veterinarian may recommend pergolide as an added medication for your horse. This is available from a number of pharmaceutical sources by prescription. When it comes to feeding them, though, here are a few tips that may help make life a little easier:
Consider Joint Support for Horses with Joint Problems
If your Cushing’s horse has some joint problems, you may want to also consider using one of the chondroitin sulfate + glucosamine products that are available in supplement form.
Opt for Low Non-Structural Carbohydrate (NSC) Forage
Cushing’s syndrome horses require a hay or pasture source that is low in non-structural carbohydrates (NSC), so you might want to have your forage tested.
Choose Fortified Senior Feeds For Horses With Cushing’s Syndrome
They do well on senior feeds that are fortified with lysine, methionine, biotin, vitamin E and organic trace minerals (copper, zinc, manganese and selenium) to help maintain muscle mass, support hoof growth and support immune response.
Follow Feeding Directions for Senior Feed
Feeding directions need to be followed to make certain enough senior feed is being fed as these older horses may not be able to utilize forage very efficiently.
Address Weight Maintenance
If your horse is not maintaining weight, you may need to increase the feeding rate of the senior feed or add a low starch, rice bran based high fat supplement.
Consider Medication and Cost For Horse’s With Cushing’s Syndrome
Most senior horses with Cushing’s Syndrome do very well on a senior feed and appropriate medication. Cost of pergolide can vary greatly and your veterinarian may be able to direct you to the best source. Good luck, and please let us know if we can help!
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