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11:00am - 12:30pm
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5:00pm - 7:00pm
Sat 9:00am - 11:00am
By appointment only
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
DOES YOUR PONY HAVE CUSHINGS?
These are all common clinical signs of Cushings disease. This month we are supporting the national campaign 'Talk about Cushings' to raise awareness of this disease. Cushings is the most common endocrine disease in horses and up to 40% of ponies and horses above 15 years of age can be affected.
What is Cushings?
Cushings is caused by a hormonal imbalance. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain are vital in the role of hormone production and regulation. In Cushings there is degeneration of the pituitary gland that produces the hormone dopamine. This results in a reduction in the overall level of dopamine. Dopamine inhibits the neighbouring pituitary gland and therefore results in an overproduction of other hormones like ACTH. This leads to high cortisol levels and the clinical signs of Cushings.
Clinical signs not only include a hairy coat all year round, recurring laminitis and lethargy but also abnormal fat distribution, pot-bellied appearance and loss of muscle, excessive sweating and increased drinking and urination. Laminitis can be a fatal and distressing condition and it is thought that up to 80% of laminitis cases could be due to Cushings disease.
Diagnosis of Cushings involves a simple blood test measuring the resting hormone ACTH. This month for a limited time only we have teamed with animal health company Boehringer Ingelheim who are offering a £15 discount voucher off the cost of the blood test This does not include any existing cases already on treatment.
Treatment consists of a daily tablet, 'Prascend' that acts directly on the hypothalamus in the brain to reduce cortisol levels. More than 80% of horses will respond to this drug and it can reduce the clinical signs shown and improve your pony's quality of life. It can take time for the levels of cortisol to adjust and it is recommended to repeat a blood test 6-8 weeks after starting treatment. It can take 6-12weeks to see the full benefit of treatment.
During the campaign you can download a £15 money off voucher from www.talkaboutcushings.co.uk. This can redeemed for the blood test for Cushings through the practice.
If you have any further questions regarding this scheme or if you think your pony may have Cushing's our team of equine vets would be happy to answer any of your queries.