Last Updated on July 26, 2022
When it comes to Cushings disease in horses – natural treatment options are not frequently discussed. However, when given alongside medical therapies, some natural treatments can help a horse with Cushing’s disease live a more comfortable and healthier life. Let’s take a look at some Cushings disease in horses – natural treatment options!
What Is Cushing’s Disease In Horses?
Cushing’s disease in horses is a hormonal disease that commonly affects older horses. The correct name for this disorder is pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID).
PPID causes changes within the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain. This gland works like a control center for the body – it receives signals from the brain, and produces hormones in response to these signals. The hormones then travel to other organs in the body and trigger certain metabolic processes to take place.
When a horse has Cushing’s disease, the pituitary gland loses the ability to recognize when to stop producing hormones. This means that abnormal amounts of hormones are produced, causing a range of metabolic disturbances within the body. These manifest in an unusual and classic set of symptoms.
A horse with PPID will have symptoms including increased sweating, weight loss, excessive drinking, and urinating. The most common sign seen by horse owners is an abnormal hair growth pattern – the hair is not shed normally in the spring, and instead grows long and curly. This can lead to skin conditions, which are exacerbated by a reduced resistance to disease.
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How Is Cushing’s Disease In Horses Treated?
Cushing’s disease in horses is not curable, and treatment with medication from your veterinarian will help to slow the progression of the disease. The treatment of choice is a prescription-only medication called pergolide, or Prascend. This medication works by inhibiting hormone production by the pituitary gland, helping to reduce the effects of hormonal imbalances within the body.
Once a horse is diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, life-long treatment with pergolide is normally recommended. If the medication is stopped, the pituitary gland will again start to produce abnormal levels of hormones, and the symptoms will recur. Regular blood tests will help to monitor the effectiveness of the medication, helping to determine if the dose is accurate or if it needs to be increased.
What Are The Best Natural Treatment Options For Cushings Disease In Horses -?
While the main symptoms of Cushing’s disease in horses are kept under control by medical therapy, many veterinarians advocate that a holistic healthcare approach is the best way to manage a horse with Cushing’s disease. This is because although the hormonal imbalances can be controlled to some extent, there is no cure for this disease and seasonal fluctuations in symptoms will frequently occur.
Cushing’s disease in horses – natural treatment options are a good way to manage the symptoms caused by these hormonal imbalances, enabling the horse to live a long and comfortable life.
Here are some natural treatment options that may be given alongside prescription medication for horses with Cushing’s disease:
- Chaste Tree Berries – this is a hormonal normalizer, thought to stimulate the production of dopamine. This helps to regulate the pituitary gland, alongside medical therapy.
- Rose Hips, Turmeric, Green Tea, Grape Seed, & Hawthorn – these natural treatments all have potent antioxidant properties, which can help to reduce the incidence of secondary infections in horses with Cushing’s disease. Antioxidants also help to prevent cellular aging and death.
- Hawthorn, Nettle, Cayenne, & Rose Hips – these are commonly added into feed supplements for horses with Cushing’s disease as they help to support and maintain the circulatory system.
- Milk Thistle Seed & Dandelion – both of these herbs help to support liver and kidney function.
- Bilberry & Eyebright – given to help maintain and improve eyesight.
- Kelp – a good source of minerals and amino acids, helping to support the endocrine system.
- Garlic, Calendula & Rose Hips – are given to support the immune system, which is often compromised in horses with Equine Cushing’s disease.
Summary – Cushings Disease In Horses – Natural Treatment
So, as we have learned, when it comes to Cushings disease in horses – natural treatment can be helpful, but this is normally alongside medical therapy to control the disease. Cushing’s disease in horses is not curable, and treatment with medication from your veterinarian will help to slow the progression of the disease. Natural treatments for Cushing’s disease in horses can be given alongside medical therapy to help alleviate the symptoms of this degenerative disorder.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on Cushings disease in horses – natural treatment! Do you have a favorite natural treatment for Cushing’s disease in horses? Or maybe you’re struggling to get your horse’s symptoms under control with conventional Cushing’s disease medication? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
Does A Horse With Cushings Need Medication?
Horses with Cushing's disease are normally given medication, even if they have very mild symptoms or none at all. This is because Cushing's disease in horses is a life-long progressive condition, and medication can help to slow the progression of this disease.
Can You Reverse Cushings In Horses?
Cushing's disease in horses cannot be reversed - once a horse has this disorder, it will have it for the rest of its life. However, with medical therapy and good nursing care, the symptoms can be kept under control for many years.
What Can I Give My Horse For Cushing's Disease?
Horses with Cushing's disease are normally treated with a prescription-only medication called pergolide, or Prascend. This inhibits hormone production by the pituitary gland, helping to reduce the effects of hormonal imbalances within the body.
Can Cushings In Horses Be Treated Naturally?
Horses with Cushing's disease are treated with medication to control the hormonal imbalances within the body, but natural treatments can be given alongside this to help alleviate the symptoms and keep the horse more comfortable.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE