My horse has been diagnosed with Cushings disease. He is managed on pergolide and seems quite happy. However he has lost so much condition and muscle plus he has constantly got an itchy skin - particularly around his bottom and under his legs. We have tried a short treatment of steroids but once that has finished the itching comes back. What would you recommend ?
Type of Animal: Horse
Name of Horse: Taffy
Short course of steroids plus fusiderm but am very conscious that steroids are not what I would want to use much as he had a bout of laminitus two years ago.
Hello. Thank you for asking your question. My name isXXXXX will try to help.
You are correct, we want to avoid steroids, as much as possible, in a horse that has Cushing's and a history of laminitis.
Is Taffy really 45 years old?
Does she having the itching, and hair loss, all year round or just this time of year?
Does she live outside or does she spend time in a stall as well?
Oops sorry - no he isnt 45 - he is 18 !!
He lives out in the summer on restricted grazing. The itching started around Christmas and after consulting my worming company and vet, we treated it as pin worm and washed him every day, clean stable, clean bedding etc. however it has now started all over again and it is driving him mad. To the point that he will scratch against anything and even sit on the ground. Its very distressing for him. He is on a proper worming regime with "Intelligent worming" so Im convinced it isnt worms.
I do not think it is pin worms either. That usually just causes itching around the rump.
Plus regular rotational deworming takes care of pin worms.
I was going to be very impressed if he was 45. That would be the oldest horse I almost know. 18 is still pretty good : )
He may have cullicoides(biting midges) sensitivity which is also known as summer eczema. I think this may be the cause of his troubles. They feed at dawn and dusk so it is best to keep them inside during these times. If that is not possible, then put a fly sheet, with a neck attachment, on him. I just did a lot of research on fly sheets, and purchased a Rambo one two weeks ago for my horse. It is a little more expensive but seems more durable with good air flow. You can try hydrocortisone creams and sprays to help reduce the inflammation. Apply the hydrocortisone 2-3 times a day. Oral antihistamines will help with the inflammation and allergic reaction as well. I would try keeping him on one called "hydroxyzine." You have to get it from a vet. There is another one called "tri-hist" which works well too. But I have seen a number of horses stop sweating on the tri-hist so you would have to monitor him for that. Give him a good bath, in chlorhexadine (nolvasan) or betadine shampoo twice a week. Also keep him well coated in fly repellent. The sun breaks the fly spray down so get one with a sun screen in it. Those drops, that come in a tube, that are suppose to be long acting fly control do not work.
He could also have inhalant allergies which is called "atopy." He could be allergic to dust, molds, pollen, trees, grasses, pollen, and weeds. This is often seasonal and his symptoms may flare up with the change of seasons. The vet can now take a blood sample and send it off to see what he is allergic to. Then you can try to prevent it. He can be given "allergy shots" for his allergies as well. The shots help desensitize him to the allergens. You can also give him antihistamines for this.
He could also have ringworm which is a fungal infection. I would think your vet would have tested him for that if they thought it looked like ringworm. To test for it, a hair sample is taken and cultured to see if it grows. If positive, anti fungal medication can be applied topically and given orally.
If you have any additional questions, please click "reply."
DVM for 14 years, Equine chiropractor, Riding 34 years