What Grain To Feed A Horse With Cushing’S? (TOP 5 Tips)

Horses and ponies diagnosed with PPID/Cushing’s Disease should be fed a low sugar and starch diet. As alfalfa is naturally low in both sugar and starch, there are a number of feeds in our range that are suitable.


  • What Grain To Feed A Horse With Cushing’S? Triple Crown Senior is a beet pulp-based, textured feed recommended for Cushing’s horses that have a hard time maintaining weight and need a little extra fat, without the extra carbohydrates. It has a high nutrient and fat content, is soft, and easily digestible, and has a low NSC level of 11.7%.

What grain should I feed my horse with Cushings?

Increased energy requirements can be met by feeding alfalfa (lucerne) hay or chaff, super-fibers such as beet pulp and soy hulls, or a low- to moderate-NSC feed. Feeds that are higher in fat (greater than 6%) are preferred as they are less reliant on carbohydrates for energy.

Can you feed oats to horses with Cushings?

Even though oats are the grain lowest in sugar and starch, at around 45 to 50% starch they are still far too high in starch for horses on a low sugar and starch diet, eg insulin resistant horses, horses prone to laminitis, those with disorders like Cushings or PSSM etc, as well as many horses who are prone to ulcers,

Can Cushings horses have rice bran?

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.

Is beet pulp good for horses with Cushings?

Triple Crown Senior (http://www.triplecrownfeed.com/products/feeds/senior-horse-feed- formula-seniorhorsefeed) is a beet pulp-based, textured feed recommended for Cushing’s horses that have a hard time maintaining weight and need a little extra fat, without the extra carbohydrates.

What should a horse with Cushings not eat?

Feeding Horses with Cushing’s Disease These horses are often insulin resistant and have high blood sugar levels so non-structured carbohydrates (NSC) need to be avoided. Feeds low in soluble carbohydrates (sugar and starch or NSC) are recommended.

Is alfalfa good for horses with Cushings?

Regular exercise reduces blood glucose levels, so it will help horses with Cushing’s disease. Standlee Premium Western Forage offers several products that can be beneficial in the feeding program of horses with Cushing’s including: Premium Alfalfa Pellets or Organic Alfalfa Pellets.

Should I feed my horse beet pulp?

Beet pulp is an excellent ingredient for complete horse feeds, where no hay or a limited amount of hay or pasture is fed, such as feeds for older horses or horses with respiratory problems such as heaves.

Can oats cause laminitis in horses?

Laminitis and colic are often the result of undigested starch entering the caecum of the horse where it is broken down and fermented by microbes. The starch in oats is quickly broken down into sugars in the small intestines and absorbed long before reaching the caecum.

Is whole oats good for horses?

Most oats fed to horses are whole, meaning each kernel is encased in a hull or fibrous sheath. Because of their high fiber content and low energy value, whole oats have traditionally been a relatively safe feed for horses when compared to other cereal grains such as corn.

What can I feed my Cushings horse to gain weight?

Enrich Plus® and Omega Match® ration balancers are great options for horses who are overweight or who maintain their weight well on forage alone. They are fed at low rates to meet protein, vitamin and mineral requirements in a low starch and sugar meal without added calories. -.

Is rice bran OK for insulin resistant horses?

Rice bran also has a low glycemic index and is therefore appropriate for horses with ECD. Feeds designed for senior horses may not be desirable for horses with ECD because they might contain ingredients such as molasses, which in turn produce a high glycemic response.

Should you clip a horse with Cushings?

Horses with Cushing’s disease often struggle to shed their winter coats, so their coats are thicker all year round, which can become uncomfortable for them. Because of this, you should clip them regularly.

How do I get my horse to eat Prascend?

Starting with the easiest

  1. Hide it in their food.
  2. Put it in a piece of apple or carrot.
  3. Wedge it in a polo or preferably three!
  4. Make a sandwich!
  5. Mix with some apple puree or custard.
  6. If your horse doesn’t have laminitis you could add a small amount of molasses or honey to a handful of feed and put the tablet in.

What do you feed insulin resistant horses?

Select hay with a low level of soluble carbohydrates for the IR horse. Small grain hays such as oat and ryegrass have much greater sugar content than other grass hays like timothy and orchard grass.

What do you feed a horse with equine metabolic syndrome?

Feeding hay with low levels of sugars (soluble carbohydrates). Moderate quality timothy or orchard grass hays are best. Oat and rye grass hays have more sugar than do timothy or orchard grass. Legume (alfalfa) is OK, but it has more calories than do grass hays, which can lead to obesity.

Feeding Horses with Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease, which is more correctly known as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), is a neurological ailment that causes an overgrowth of a section of the pituitary gland. Cushing’s disease affects the pituitary gland’s ability to produce insulin. As a result, the adrenal glands produce an excessive amount of particular peptides and hormones, which have a direct influence on their function. An abnormally long hair coat that does not shed properly (hirsutism), a poor hair coat, loss of muscle mass, weight loss, tiredness, increased drinking and urine, and recurring infections are some of the clinical indications of this condition.

Horses ranging in age from seven to forty years old can develop PPID.

Regular wellness examinations by a veterinarian, as well as attentive monitoring by the horse’s owner, are crucial in spotting the early indications of PPID in the horse.

A nutritional perspective, horses diagnosed with PPID should be fed a diet that contains good quality protein to promote muscle mass, appropriate calories to support weight maintenance, and a balanced mix of vitamins and minerals to support the proper functioning of the entire body system.

  1. Forage sources with low sugar and starch contents should be used initially, with hay soaking for 60 minutes in cold water or 30 minutes in warm water in some cases needed to further lower the starch and sugar content by 20-30 percent after that.
  2. Horses with insulin dysregulation, laminitis, and PPID can benefit from WellSolve L/S ®.
  3. With 11 percent maximum starch and sugars assured, it contains no grains or molasses, and it supports the horse’s health with the required vitamins, minerals, and protein.
  4. If your horse has dental problems or missing teeth, you can feed him Equine Senior ®Active to replace the hay or pasture in his or her diet.
  5. In addition to being made with a combination of fiber sources, such as beet pulp and high-quality hay, it also provides a diet that is lower in nonstructural carbs, making it a good choice for older horses that are sensitive to carbohydrates.
  6. Additionally, it contains high-quality protein and greater calorie levels to provide additional support for tougher keepers or those who are still working or competing.
  7. Ration balancers such as Enrich Plus ® and Omega Match® are excellent choices for horses who are overweight or who do not maintain their weight well on forage alone.

-. It is recommended that you consult with your veterinarian about your horse’s feeding program in order to identify which precise diet, management, and treatment plan is ideal for his or her condition.

Feeding a horse with Cushing’s Syndrome

In tandem with the growth in the number of horses diagnosed with Cushing’s Syndrome, there has been an increase in the number of queries about how to feed horses with this illness. Pergolide may be recommended by your veterinarian as an additional medicine for your horse as a first-step in the treatment process. This medication is accessible by prescription from a variety of pharmaceutical providers. In terms of feeding them, though, there are a few suggestions that may make things a little less difficult for you.

  1. For horses with Cushing’s disease who are suffering from joint difficulties, you may wish to consider supplementing with one of the chondroitin sulfate + glucosamine preparations now available on the market
  2. You should consider having your forage evaluated if you have horses with Cushing’s syndrome since they require a hay or pasture source that is low in non-structural carbohydrates (NSC). In addition to organic trace minerals (copper, zinc, manganese and selenium), they do well on senior diets enhanced with lysine, methionine, biotin, vitamin E, and lysine. These nutrients assist preserve muscle mass, promote hoof growth, and boost immunological response. It is necessary to follow feeding instructions to ensure that sufficient senior feed is provided, as these older horses may not be able to consume forage as efficiently as younger horses. Increasing the feeding rate of the senior feed or adding a low starch, rice bran based, high fat supplement may be necessary if your horse’s weight is not maintained at the recommended level.

The majority of older horses with Cushing’s Syndrome fare quite well on a senior diet and with the proper treatment in place. The cost of pergolide can vary widely, and your veterinarian may be able to point you in the direction of the most cost-effective provider. Good luck, and do let us know if there is anything we can do to assist you!

Feeding the Horse with Cushings Disease

A horse suffering from Cushings Disease must have his or her food carefully monitored and controlled. It is common for Cushing’s horses to suffer from laminitis and have weakened immune systems. A healthy feeding regimen can assist to lower the likelihood of laminitis while also providing a diet that is strong in antioxidants, such as selenium, vitamin E, and vitamin C, which helps to strengthen the immune system of the horse in question. While some horses with Cushing’s disease require medication, the vast majority may be handled with proper nutrition and exercise alone.

  1. It is recommended that hay and other fibrous feedstuffs make up the majority of a horse’s diet.
  2. The average 1,000-pound horse should be given 15 to 20 pounds of hay every day, according to this rule of thumb.
  3. Avoid grains and feeds that include molasses, as they have a high concentration of NSC.
  4. In general, sugar content of young plants is higher than that of mid-bloom to mature grasses, which are lower in sugar content.
  5. Grass hays have an NSC content ranging from 7 to 18 percent on average.
  6. While cool-season grasses, such as orchard grass and timothy, are often found in increased abundance in NSC, warm-season grasses are not.
  7. Alfalfa might be a suitable alternative for a horse suffering from Cushing’s disease if they are having difficulty maintaining their weight because it is higher in calories than grass hay.

Other Cushings horses are more prone to becoming overweight than others, and some Cushings horses have a difficult time maintaining decent physical shape.

Despite the fact that fat is incredibly energy dense, it contains little easily digested carbohydrate, which causes insulin levels in Cushings horses to rise.

In order to ensure that they receive adequate nutrition, it is critical that they take a full vitamin-mineral supplement that contains antioxidants.

It is possible to give the body with the vitamins and minerals it requires while also contributing relatively little to the total NSC levels of a meal by feeding a supplement such as Horse Guard, which is only fed at 2 ounces per day.

It contains a full dose of Horse Guard to aid in disease prevention, a fantastic prebiotic and probiotic package that helps your horse get more out of his feed, and a base of cool energy from extruded soybeans to provide your horse with energy from protein and fat.

Supplementing with 100 percent flaxseed oil, such as FLOW, can further benefit your Cushings horse by lowering the amount of insulin released into the circulation after bouts of stress.

Flaxseed oil also has the added benefit of reducing unwelcome irritation.

Choose hay that is appropriate for your horse’s nutritional requirements.

A larger horse will fare better on a hay that is harvested during the warm season.

Provide your horse with an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement, such as Flaxen Flow, to aid in the reduction of inflammation and the regulation of insulin levels.

While some Cushings horses require medication, many others may be treated only with nutrition.

In order to lessen the likelihood of your Cushings horse acquiring laminitis and to ensure that your horse lives in the most comfortable environment possible, you should follow the procedures outlined below.

Feeding PPID Horses – The Horse

I was afraid that my 22-year-old gelding could be suffering from metabolic difficulties, so we had him tested for Cushing’s disease and insulin resistance. It was only recently that we received the findings, which showed that his ACTH was close to 150 pg/ml (normal range 9 to 35) and his insulin was 45 uIU/ml (normal 10 to 40). Pergolide will be administered to him, and I would want to know how I should manage his food while he is on it. What ideas do you have for improving the situation? The fall season is a popular time for assessing a horse’s adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels, which can be used to rule out pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, commonly known as equine Cushing’s disease).

Once upon a time, it was believed that using ACTH levels as a diagnostic tool in the early fall was a bad idea because of this.

For horses with PPID, contrary to popular perception, the autumn may be a particularly opportune time of year to test because of the possibility that they will have a more deep reaction to the seasonal ACTH increase.

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Disease Overview

Pitta pituitary tumors linked with PPID have an effect on the adrenal glands’ ability to produce cortisol, which is a stress-related hormone, into the bloodstream. Cortisol is a stress hormone that plays a vital role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. It also helps to maintain the balance of insulin’s effects on the breakdown of sugar for energy production. When raised over prolonged periods of time, such as in the case of high circulating ACTH levels, excessive cortisol levels may have detrimental implications for the body.

  • It is possible that your horse’s high insulin level is the consequence of the impact of elevated ACTH on cortisol levels as a result of PPID.
  • Horses suffering from PPID, particularly those that are not thought to be at risk of IR, are more likely to develop IR as a result of the PPID.
  • When cells lose their sensitivity to insulin, the pancreas secretes more insulin in order to do the same task.
  • When cells are unable to obtain the energy they require from glucose, the body mobilizes fat as a source of energy.
  • Fat reserves are not the harmless deposits that we used to believe they were.

As a result, horses suffering from IR may be suffering from chronic low-grade inflammation. High insulin levels in a horse that are left unregulated might further increase the likelihood of the horse developing laminitis.

How Diet Changes Can Help

Pharmaceuticals are used to treat Cushing’s disease. Given that horses with PPID are at risk of developing—or already have—IR, nutritionists and veterinarians typically advocate giving a diet low in non-structural carbohydrate to these animals (NSC). An NSC diet has the potential to regulate glucose levels in the bloodstream, preventing a large rise in insulin levels. It is common for horse owners to be concerned about reducing grain and treats from their PPID/IR horse’s diet. However, while grains and treats that are heavy in starch and sugar should be avoided, your horse’s forage should be your first focus.

All horse feeds, including forages fed to horses with PPID and IR, should contain no more than 10 percent combined starch and ether soluble carbohydrate (ESC), which is a type of carbohydrate that, like starch, is digested in and absorbed from the small intestine, and no more than 10 percent combined starch and ether soluble carbohydrate (ESC).

Some horses that are extremely sensitive to carbohydrates appear to benefit from a low water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) content in their diet.

Horses with PPID and/or IR should be given forages containing no more than 12 percent starch and WSC on a dry matter basis, according to the findings of those doing research on metabolic disorders in horses.

However, not everyone has the same definition for this word, which makes it critical when evaluating feeds by NSC level to understand how the value was generated.

Hay testing.

Of course, if the forages you are feeding have not been evaluated, then all of this knowledge about differing values is meaningless. By simply glancing at a bale of hay, you will be unable to determine any of these values. I thus strongly advise you to experiment with hay. A test that offers a comprehensive profile of all carbohydrate fractions as well as a slew of additional information should cost no more than roughly $30. Testing, on the other hand, may become impractical because to the rapid changes in hay.

Soaking for 30 to 60 minutes is sufficient; using hot water may be more efficient than using cold water; and soaking for hours should be avoided since other nutrients, in addition to sugars, may be lost.

The quantity of sugar removed will vary from hay to hay and may still be greater than optimal, however it is better than the amount eliminated if the hay is not soaked. It is only after a sample has been soaked that it may be tested in order to determine its true safety.

Choose forage wisely.

Alfalfa hays are often considered to be the greatest option for horses that suffer from PPID and IR; nevertheless, because alfalfa has a lower NSC than grass hays, it may be a viable alternative in some cases. Because alfalfa is higher in calories per pound than most grasses hays, I avoid feeding it to horses that are overweight or obese. Some PPID or IR horses are claimed to be underperforming on alfalfa, based on anecdotal evidence. My opinion is that it is a question of getting to know your horse and making judgments based on that specific person.

A possible advantage of eating alfalfa for horses with PPID who might suffer from muscle wasting is that the higher protein quality in the diet that comes as a result of the increased alfalfa consumption may aid in the preservation of muscle mass.

They also make certain that all necessary micronutrients are delivered, which is essential for the proper functioning of the metabolism and immune system, among other things.

In order to minimize the total NSC in the diet, you can substitute them for any or all of your other forage sources.

Antioxidant support.

However, while the pathophysiology of PPID is still not completely understood, some studies have suggested that horses with PPID have a greater level of oxidative stress, which may be a contributing factor to the loss of hypothalamic innervation in the pituitary gland. This, together with the fact that impaired immunological function is a prevalent symptom of PPID in afflicted horses, implies that treatment with antioxidants may be beneficial. Horses in their older years may have less ability to produce vitamin C in their livers, and hay is often low in vitamin E, which is a problem.

Omega-3 fatty acids.

According to research, providing horses with insulin resistance with a supply of omega-3 fatty acids may aid in the improvement of insulin sensitivity. Because most forage-based diets tend to be poor in omega-3 fatty acids, I recommend supplementing horses on PPID and IR with omega-3 fatty acids derived from plant, algal, or marine sources to improve their health. Horses participating in the study trial were given 38 grams of omega-3 fatty acid per day.

Take-Home Message

Many horses with PPID can have happy and active lives for many years if they receive quick diagnosis, pharmacological therapy with frequent blood work to monitor dose, and a well-managed dietary regimen.

PPID or Cushing’s Disease in Horses, Feed For Cushing’s Disease

Dengie Feeds published an article on the 29th of August, 2019.

What is PPID?

In horses and ponies, pituitary pituitary insufficiency (PPID), often known as Cushing’s disease, is a degenerative endocrine illness that impairs the regulation of hormones generated by the pituitary gland. It is most frequent in older horses and ponies.

What are the symptoms of PPID/Cushing’s Diseasein horses?

  • It has a longer, thicker coat that does not shed properly in the spring. Possessing a pot-bellied look Excessive urination and use of alcohol
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle tone is being lost. There is a higher risk of developing laminitis.

If you are concerned that your horse or pony is exhibiting indications of PPID/Disease, Cushing’s you should visit your veterinarian, who may recommend a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. If your veterinarian prescribes veterinary medicine, it can assist to treat the symptoms as well as balance the hormone levels in your horse.

What is the cause of PPID/Cushing’s Disease in horses?

PPID is caused by the progressive degeneration of neurons in the hypothalamus over a period of time. It is these neurons that are responsible for the release of dopamine, which serves to suppress the synthesis and release of hormones from the pituitary gland’s pars intermedia, which is one of the gland’s three lobes. In the absence of a signal to cease, the pars intermedia continues to manufacture hormones, resulting in excessive amounts of these hormones circulating throughout the body. PPID/Disease Cushing’s is characterized by several common symptoms, including a longer, curly coat that does not shed, an appearance that is dipped back and pot-bellied, frequent drinking and urine, and a higher vulnerability to laminitis.

How to manage PPID

In horses and ponies, the underlying endocrine abnormalities associated with PPID/Disease Cushing’s can raise the incidence of laminitis by as much as 50%. Those who have EMS as well as PPID are at an even larger risk of developing laminitis than the general public. The dietary factor that finally leads in the clinical indications of laminitis is frequently diet-related, and is most typically caused by an excessive intake of sugar and starch, respectively. Consequently, while searching for appropriate equine and pony feeds for horses and ponies diagnosed with PPID/Disease, Cushing’s it is recommended that products with minimal sugar and starch content be used.

Top Tips From Our Equine Nutritionists

Here are the top four recommendations from our nutrition team for horses and ponies suffering with PPID/Disease. Cushing’s Develop the practice of monitoring your horse’s weight on a regular basis, using both weigh taping and body condition scoring to determine its weight. Maintaining a healthy weight for your horse or pony is important. Learn how to keep track of your horse’s bodyweight by clicking here. A well-balanced diet is essential for horses suffering with PPID/Disease, Cushing’s as they may have weakened immune systems and bad skin conditions.

A broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement or balancer is required when providing less than the recommended quantity of fortified feed, or when feeding your horse a high-fiber diet. This is done to ensure that your horse’s diet is well-balanced.

When selecting a suitable horse feed, other age-related difficulties, such as dental problems, may need to be taken into consideration. Given that PPID/Disease Cushing’s is more common in older horses, poor dental health might be an extra issue to contend with. Dietary fiber feeds, such as Dengie Alfa-Beet, that may be soaked before to feeding, may be simpler to chew and can be used as partial hay replacements.

  1. Various meals and flavors should be used to pique their interest.

Horses suffering with PPID might be finicky. Providing them with a variety of high-fiber diets may entice them to consume more. In the stable, if your horse doesn’t eat much hay, try putting a bucket of chopped fiber feed beside it and seeing whether or not you can get your horse to consume more fiber. Second, experiment with new flavors or herbs in their meal to keep them interested.

Which Dengie Feeds are suitable to feed a horse with PPID/Cushing’s Disease?

A reduced sugar and starch diet should be offered to horses and ponies that have been diagnosed with PPID/Disease. Cushing’s Because alfalfa is naturally low in sugar and starch, there are a variety of feeds in our range that are suited for use with alfalfa crops. Dietary balance and a level of energy adequate for your horse’s condition and workload are important considerations. Remember, not all horses with PPID/Disease Cushing’s are obese! Horse meals with low calorie content for overweight horses or horses doing little or no work: Horse meals that are high in energy and conditioning for underweight horses or horses in training include:

  • Free of Molasses
  • Alfa-A Oil
  • Healthy Tummy
  • Alfa-Beet

Horse feeds for people who want to keep a healthy weight include the following:

  • Hi-Fi Molasses-Free
  • Healthy Hooves
  • Healthy Hooves Molasses-Free
  • Alfa-A Lite
  • Alfalfa Pellets
  • Alfalf

PPID Case Study

Chewy is typical of many horses in that he was diagnosed with PPID when he was 22 years old as a result of frequent attacks of laminitis, which led to his eventual diagnosis. Chewy tested positive for both PPID and Equine Metabolic Syndrome, according to the results of the tests. Chewy’s owner, Rebecca, adjusted his diet after consulting with our nutrition specialists. He now consumes Hi-Fi Lite andLeisure VitsMins. His weight and growth were closely watched; he reached his highest weight of 468kg at one point.

Recommended Diet

The bucket feed is 1kg of Hi-Fi Lite, divided into three feedings each day. Forage consists of 5kg of hay, which is divided into two portions: 1kg after lunch and 4kg at night. The horse must be turned out for five hours each day from 7:30am to 12:30pm and must be muzzled throughout the spring and/or fall when there is a plenty of grass. Using our nutrition team’s guidance, Chewy shed 70kg in just three months, reaching his lowest weight of 400kg at his heaviest. Chewy has been free of laminitis ever since he lost the additional weight and became healthier.

To read Chewy’s tale in its entirety, please visit this link.

Feeding Horses With Cushing’s Disease

Providing adequate nutrition to horses suffering from pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), also known as equine Cushing’s disease, can be challenging at times. Horses suffering from PPID are typically older, underweight, and may have insulin resistance, as well as recurrent laminitis or insulin resistance. Veterinarians must first address the following questions before they can offer the appropriate dietary advice for horses with PPID: 1) Is it necessary for the horse to acquire or lose weight?

  • Regardless of the answers to these questions, horses with PPID should be fed a forage-based diet that will allow them to retain (or regain) their normal body condition while avoiding obesity, which will aggravate insulin resistance in the long run.
  • Ideally, concentrates should be fed only when necessary to maintain ideal body condition (BCS) on a scale from 1 to 9.
  • When you eat small, regular focused meals (less than 0.5 percent of your body weight), you will see less variation in insulin and glucose levels, and you will be less prone to develop insulin resistance.
  • Pellets or extruded feeds that are richer in fiber (more than 10%) and fat (greater than 5%) can be used in place of sweet feed to supply additional nutritional energy to the animals.
  • Forced exercise or labour should only be performed on horses who are not suffering from active laminitis and are free of musculoskeletal problems.
  • This can result in laminitis in sensitive horses during certain times of the year.
  • Increased carbohydrate content in pasture grass is connected with a favorable correlation in insulin levels.
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From August through October, the mean ACTH concentration was at its greatest.

Because of the seasonal high in ACTH concentration, together with the peak in glucose and insulin concentrations in September, it is possible that an increased risk of pasture-associated laminitis in the autumn is a result of this combination.

To maintain body condition and prevent obesity, horses with PPID and a decent BCS score who do not show signs of insulin resistance can be fed in the same way as a normal horse would be fed.

To induce weight reduction, enhance insulin sensitivity, and lower the risk of laminitis in overweight or obese horses with PPID, they should be fed in a manner similar to that of horses with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS).

Horses over the age of ten are more likely to suffer from pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, and many of them are underweight as a result of aging or dental issues.

Higher energy requirements can be met by supplementing the animal’s diet with hay, a pellet with low levels of starch and sugar (low-NSC), and 1/2 to 1 cup (120-240 mL) of vegetable oil twice daily.

It is also possible to feed calorie-dense feeds that are heavy in fat (more than 7 percent fat).

A high-fat (30 percent of digestible energy delivered as fat) diet, as opposed to a more typical diet, was found to severely decrease glucose tolerance in non-obese Thoroughbred geldings that were beyond the age of two.

To encourage weight growth in thin horses with PPID, it is recommended to employ a balance of fats and carbs, along with more fodder, because a high-fat diet may decrease glucose tolerance and a moderate carbohydrate intake enhances insulin response.

Kentucky Equine Research provided permission for this reprint.

Optimal Diet for Cushing’s Disease

This horse has the characteristic Cushing’s disease look, which includes a shaggy, irregularly shed out coat, muscle wasting, and muscle wasting. Q:disease Cushing’s has been diagnosed in my older horse. Can you provide me some recommendations for the best diet plans? A: It is not rare for an older horse to acquire pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, often known as Cushing’s disease, which is caused by a malfunction of the pituitary gland. The horses with this failure of the pituitary gland exhibit muscle atrophy along their toplines and hindquarters, and they may have a potbelly look as a result of their inclination to develop a long and shaggy hair coat that sheds irregularly.

  • NSC content is high in many senior feeds, which should be avoided when feeding a horse with Cushing’s disease.
  • A diet containing less than 10 to 20% of total digestible energy should be fed as a primary goal (the combination of sugars and starch, or NSCs).
  • The majority of horses will consume grass at a rate ranging from 112 to 2 percent of their body weight every day.
  • Because certain hays may have high amounts of NSC, it is vital to be aware that this might vary depending on the variety of grass used and when and how the hay was collected.
  • With its excessive shaggy and fuzzy coat, this horse has the pot-bellied aspect that is characteristic of a typical Cushing’s horse.
  • If extra calories are required to maintain body condition, in addition to providing high-quality forage, high-fat supplements (oil and/or stabilized rice bran) should be substituted for grain in place of grain.
  • This drug makes it possible for the horse to make the best possible use of a Cushing’s “diet.” More information about Cushing’s Disease may be found here.

Managing Equine Cushing’s Disease With Nutrition

Horses are living longer lives, much as humans. It is critical to find solutions to help them maintain their health and athletic function while also improving their overall quality of life. It entails closely monitoring and controlling the horse’s food, as well as keeping an eye out for sickness.

Cushing’s disease is discussed in this issue, as well as the causes of the condition and how to diagnose it, as well as the diet that should be used for horses with Cushing’s disease and horses with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.

Equine Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease, also known as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), is a hormonally active tumor of the pituitary gland located near the base of the horse’s brain that causes the horse to produce excessive amounts of hormone. The pituitary gland of afflicted horses generates excessive levels of pro-opiomelanocortin, which is a neurotransmitter (POMC). It is normally secreted at low levels and aids the body in responding to short periods of physical, emotional, or environmental stress.

The production of excessive POMC over an extended period of time appears to contribute to the development of illness.

Cushing’s Disease Symptoms

Its most typical symptom is a long, curly hair coat that does not shed properly throughout the transition from winter to summer months. Extraordinary sweating, lethargy, poor athletic performance, infertility, muscle wasting (particularly along the top line), abnormal fat distribution (accumulations in the crest of the neck, along the tail head, sheaths, and above the eyes), delayed wound healing, increased susceptibility to infections, increased water consumption, and passage of large amounts of urine are some of the other symptoms.

Cushing’s disease is more common in horses that are middle-aged or older, usually around the age of twenty.

In advanced situations, the symptoms are plainly discernible.

There are two clinical tests available: 1) a dexamethasone suppression test and 2) a plasma ACTH measuring test (dexamethasone suppression test).

Managing Cushing’s Disease

A mix of medicines and supportive care can be used to control the illness. Because there is no way to reverse or cure this sickness, this will be a lifelong procedure for the patient. Treatment may not be necessary in the early stages, and measures such as body trimming to remove excessive hair coat, nutritional management, and regular inspection of the teeth, hooves, and other preventative care may be sufficient to provide a high quality of life for the horse. Cushing’s disease is treated with the use of two medications.

Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action.

Feeding Horses with Cushing’s Disease

Non-structured carbohydrates (NSC) should be avoided in this population of horses since they are frequently insulin resistant and have high blood sugar levels. Feeds that are low in soluble carbohydrates (sugar and starch, or NSC) are suggested for horses.

The majority of horses with Cushing’s disease should be fed a total diet containing less than 20% NSC, according to the feeding recommendations. A dietary NSC level of less than 10 percent may be required for some horses and ponies in order to avoid significant problems.

No More Sweet Grass

Pasture grasses, particularly during the spring and autumn seasons, can contain high levels of NSC, increasing the risk of colic and laminitis in horses. When horses are on pasture, the risk of colic and laminitis is increased. Given the increased likelihood of laminitis and founder in horses suffering from Cushing’s disease, pasture grazing should be severely restricted or avoided entirely. For further details, please see. In addition to a healthy diet, nutritional supplements for the management of equine Cushing’s disease are highly suggested by experts.

Regular exercise has been shown to lower blood glucose levels in insulin-resistant individuals, and it should be beneficial to horses as well.

Adams, Ph.D.

12 ways to manage the diet of a horse with Cushing’s disease

  • Cushing’s disease (also known as PPID, pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction) is the most common equine hormonal disorder, and it is most often caused by an enlargement of the pituitary gland or a tumour affecting the pituitary gland. Cushing’s disease is characterized by an increase in the production of the hormone cortisol. Even though there is no cure for Cushing’s disease, horses with the illness can have pleasant and active lives for several years if they are managed carefully, fed appropriately, and get medical treatment. It’s important to remember that the ideal method to manage the food of a horse or pony with Cushing’s disease is in a similar fashion to how you would manage the diet of an alaminitic horse or pony.

12 ways to manage the diet of a horse with Cushing’s disease

1. Make an effort to keep your horse’s waistline under control. Attempt to maintain a bodily condition score of around 5 out of 9. 2. Stay away from diets that contain a lot of grains. This is especially true for horses and ponies who are used for little labor, those that are prone to laminitis, and those that are overweight. 3. Feed frequently and in little amounts. This will help to prevent big fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels. 4. Ensure that the diet is completely balanced in terms of high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals, among other things.

  1. The Laminitis Trust has certified a variety of fibre-based feeds that are low in sugar and starch.
  2. Have your forage tested for water soluble carbohydrate (sugar plus fructans), which should be less than 10% of the total weight of the forage.
  3. 8) Make all dietary adjustments gradually, including the addition or removal of fodder or pasture.
  4. Keep meal portions to less than 2kg per meal (per person) (less for ponies).
  5. Take into consideration the use of a nutritional supplement that may assist in maintaining a healthy metabolism and/or immune system.
  6. If weight increase is required, consider a feed that is high in fibre and fat and low in starch, or consult with a nutritionist for guidance.
  7. Make sure your worming regimen is up to current and effective at all times.
  8. More information about Cushing’s disease may be found here.

Equine Cushing’s disease

The disorder, also known as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), is more frequent in older horses and is suspected when a horse exhibits the traditional characteristics of having a long, thick hair coat that will not shed. Besides aberrant fat deposits, increased thirst and urination, a decreased susceptibility to illness, and a predisposition to develop laminitis more rapidly than healthy horses, horses with Cushing’s disease may also exhibit other symptoms. It will be necessary to consult with a veterinarian in order to establish the horse’s bodily condition, the existence of insulin resistance (IR), and the horse’s levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).

The following are nutritional advice for horses that have been diagnosed with Cushing’s disease or who are exhibiting early indications of the condition, as determined by a veterinarian.

  • All PPID horses should be fed a forage-based diet that will allow them to maintain (or regain) their normal body condition while avoiding obesity, which will increase IR. Horses should be kept away from pasture at periods of the year when the grass is high in sugars. A low glycemic index (GI) feed concentrate is one that helps to keep body condition at roughly 2.5–3 on the 0–5 body condition score index. Keep meals brief and often spaced out to minimize significant fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels. Feathers, such as beet pulp or soy hulls, are good low-GI diets for horses with PPID (for example, the McMillan Grain Free formula). In the presence of indications of IR, it is recommended that feeds containing more than 3 percent molasses and 20 percent non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) be avoided
  • In order to offer additional nutritional energy, pellets or extruded feeds that are richer in fibre (10 percent) and fat (5 percent), such as NRM LGI Sport or McMillan Grain Free, should be fed in place of sweet feeds. Precautions should be taken with senior diets that may include high levels of NSC or molasses. Meet the nutritional needs of overweight horses with balancer pellets, such as NRM Equine Balancer, which supply nutrients while using a low amount of calories. For underweight horses, low-GI complete meals such as NRM Low GI Sport or NRM Evolve should be utilized. If necessary, fat sources such as KER Equi-Jewel, sunflower seeds, or oil can be incorporated in diets to help improve body condition. To provide a glucose-regulating and anti-inflammatory impact without increasing caloric intake, provide long-chain omega-3 fatty acids derived from KERx EO-3. Use 60–120ml per 500kg of body weight. Limiting fructan intake from pasture and supplementing with a hindgut balancer such as KERx EquiShure can help to stabilize the hindgut pH and bacterial population in the hindgut. Antioxidant supplementation with natural vitamin E, such as KERx Nano E, can help to combat oxidative stress. If your horse has laminitis, feed Equin Hoof Food or KER Bio-Bloom to encourage hoof development and allow for more fast reshaping following the incident. Provide the horse with access to rock salt or a salt block to relieve himself. In order to boost palatability and induce absorption of supplements, small quantities of chaff or soaked beet pulp/soy hulls may be added to the mixture.

Consult with a trained Equine Nutritionist if you want more assistance or guidance on feeding horses with Cushing’s disease. Luisa Wood, Equine Nutritionist, has contributed to this article.

Feeding those with Cushings Disease (PPID)

You may save this article as a PDF file. PPID is a prevalent neurodegenerative endocrine (hormonal) illness that affects the aging horse, but it has been documented in horses as young as seven years old in certain cases. Hormones are found in a delicate balance in the body of a healthy horse and play a crucial part in the maintenance and management of physiological processes. Those suffering from PPID have an imbalance of these hormones in their bodies. It is the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, both of which are located at the base of the brain, that serve as the control center for hormone production.

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A part of the pituitary gland known as the pars intermedia is responsible for controlling the secretion of hormones such as ACTH (adrenocorticotropin hormone) and cortisol, which results in the symptoms of pituitary paroxysmal insufficiency (PPID).

Equine and pony patients suffering from PPID may exhibit one or more of a variety of signs and symptoms.

  • Long or curly coats that do not shed completely are the most well-known and, in many ways, the simplest to identify. The look of having a pot-bellied stomach, which is frequently caused by muscle loss over the topline and aberrant fat distribution (above the eyes, crest, and above the tail head)
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Increased water consumption causes people to become more thirsty, which causes them to pee more frequently. Predisposed to laminitis or at risk of developing it before the above-mentioned symptoms manifest themselves

If you feel that your horse or pony is suffering from one or more of these symptoms, you should consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. They will do one or more blood tests to determine the levels of ACTH and/or cortisol in the blood. Pituitary hypofunction is treatable with medicine, and the majority of veterinarians recommend Pergolide, which works by stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain and replacing the activity lost due to the damage to the pituitary gland’s nerve supply.

  1. It is common to utilize the improvement in clinical symptoms and ACTH levels to find the appropriate dosage rate for each horse because the dose range is broad.
  2. Dietary Administration When it comes to regulating diets for equines suffering from PPID, the increased risk of laminitis as a result of hormonal imbalances is the most important consideration.
  3. It is also possible that decisions concerning the diet will be influenced by whether or not the horse or pony has previously suffered from laminitis.
  4. In order to avoid having to continuously change the general diet, it is recommended including extras to entice them, such as spices such as cinnamon, fenugreek and mint, apple juice, or blended or shredded apples, carrots, and bananas, among other things.

It may sometimes be advisable to administer medicine in a different setting from the primary concentrate feed. Forage is important in promoting weight gain and maintaining condition.

  • Forage (hay/haylage) should ideally have a water soluble carbohydrate (wsc) concentration of less than 10% in order to aid in the regulation of sugar consumption
  • However, this can only be validated by having it properly examined. As a general rule, later cut, coarser hay/haylage has a lower wsc content than younger cut hay/haylage. In order to lower the wsc content of hay/haylage, it is recommended that it be soak for 12 to 16 hours. Slowly increase your tolerance to this because soaking might detract from the flavor, and be cautious in hot conditions to avoid fermentation or bacterial development. Provided that the necessary measures have been followed, forage may be given as needed to provide fiber calories and to promote intestinal health. Forages harvested after the first of the year have a lower nutritional value
  • Thus, Alfalfa Plus Oil and/or Fibre-Beet can be offered as additional sources of highly digestible fibre, as well as some high-quality protein and other minerals. The amount of time spent at grass will need to be closely monitored in order to keep fructan (sugar) consumption under control. It is safer to let them out very late at night, when grass fructan levels are at their lowest, and to bring them in by mid-morning the next day. If possible, avoid bringing out livestock into pastures during cold, sunny circumstances, such as frosty mornings, when the fructan levels will rise.


  • However, while calories are essential to develop or maintain condition, many conventional conditioning feeds should be avoided since they are based on cereals that provide starch, which should be consumed at the lowest possible levels. EaseExcelandEaseExcel Cubes are high-calorie, low-starch meals that may be used to increase condition and performance while maintaining cereal intake to a bare minimum
  • They are also a good source of protein. Keep CalmandMeadow in mind. Sweet with Turmeric are complete and balanced meals that are low in starch and high in fiber, and they will aid in the promotion and maintenance of body condition. When more calories are necessary, the Outshinehigh oil supplement may be added to an already established balanced diet
  • Nevertheless, As an alternative,Low-CalorPerformance Balancercan be provided to deliver high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals without the added carbohydrates and calories that come with a mix or a cube. “Safe” calories can then be added to the balancer in the form of Outshine, Fibre-BeetorAlfalfa Plus Oil, or any other food that is high in fiber.

Weight loss and waistline control are encouraged by forage.

  • If weight increase is required (see above), forage should contain less than 10% water soluble carbohydrates (wsc), and it may be necessary to soak the forage in order to minimize this percentage. It is recommended that fodder consumption be limited to the equivalent of 1.5 percent of the horse’s bodyweight every day in order to stimulate weight reduction. Prepare all fodder by weighing it before soaking it, then use small-holed nets to make a small amount of it last longer while keeping the horse eating
  • In addition to the turnout requirements outlined above, access to grass may need to be restricted by the use of strip grazing, muzzling, or other means. It is OK to feed light chafforSpeedi-Beet as a low-calorie alternative or as a supplemental fiber source as long as the overall fiber/calorie intake is managed.


  • The most effective method of providing a balanced diet is to feedLo-CalorPerformance Balancerto offer those nutrients that are likely to be missing in forage while avoiding the intake of unnecessary calories. Light Chaff, as well as tiny amounts of Speedi-Beet, can be fed with the balancer to stimulate chewing. (1 Baileys cup of dried Speedi-Beet soaked in 5 mugs of water creates half a bucket of beet with less calories than a Stubbs scoop of Light Chaff)

In recognition of the fact that each horse is unique, if you have any questions regarding feeding your PPID equine, please contact a Baileys Nutritionist on 01371 850247 or [email protected] for assistance.

Can You Feed Equine Senior To A Cushing’s Disease

The majority of older horses with Cushing’s Syndrome fare quite well on a senior diet and with the proper treatment in place. The cost of pergolide can vary widely, and your veterinarian may be able to point you in the direction of the most cost-effective provider.

What should a horse with Cushings not eat?

Feeds that are heavy in grains should be avoided. This is especially true for horses and ponies who are used for little labor, those that are prone to laminitis, and those that are overweight.

What can you feed a horse with Cushings disease?

In order to meet increased energy requirements, alfalfa (lucerne) hay or chaff, superfibers such as beet pulp and soy hulls, or a feed with a low- to moderate-NSC content can be provided. The use of fattier feeds (with a fat content more than 6 percent) is favored since they are less dependant on carbs for energy.

What grain should I feed my horse with Cushings?

Alfalfa has an NSC content of 10-15 percent on average, and oat hay has an NSC content of 22 percent on average. Alfalfa might be a suitable alternative for a horse suffering from Cushing’s disease if they are having difficulty maintaining their weight because it is higher in calories than grass hay.

What foods should you avoid with Cushings disease?

Calcium intake should be increased in order to safeguard the bones. For example, meals high in calcium can be beneficial in the prevention of bone disintegration. This reduces the likelihood of developing osteoporosis. Calcium may be found in abundance in green leafy vegetables, milk, almonds, and fortified meals, among other things. Vitamin D is also beneficial for the health of the bones and skin.

What should I feed my senior horse with Cushings?

A reduced sugar and starch diet should be offered to horses and ponies that have been diagnosed with PPID/Disease. Cushing’s Because alfalfa is naturally low in sugar and starch, there are a variety of feeds in our range that are suited for use with alfalfa crops.

Can you still ride a horse with Cushings?

If you are planning to start an exercise or riding program, you should check with your veterinarian before you begin. Horses with Cushing’s syndrome, on the other hand, can be ridden just like any other horse, especially if the Cushing’s condition is effectively controlled with medication.

Should you clip a horse with Cushings?

The Cushing’s illness, for example, is a health issue in which horses are trimmed since the ailment might cause a horse’s winter coat to not shed correctly. The clipping of a horse suffering from Cushing’s disease, even if it is only a partial clip, assists the horse to better regulate his or her body temperature during the summer and winter months.

Can horses with Cushing’s eat carrots?

Unfortunately, the majority of commercially produced horse treats, as well as apples and carrots, can contain a lot of sugar.

This creates a difficulty for horses suffering from Cushing’s illness, also known as Insulin Resistance/Metabolic Syndrome, because the sugar and starch consumption of these horses must be restricted.

Can Cushing horses have rice bran?

It is possible that you may need to raise the feeding rate of the senior feed or add a low starch, rice bran based high fat supplement if your horse’s weight is not being maintained.

What is the life expectancy of a horse with Cushings?

Veterinarians advise owners of Cushing’s horses to reduce the quantity of carbohydrates they give their horses (for example, grains or other concentrates), to keep the horse’s body condition score at a healthy level, and to ensure that his diet is appropriately balanced. Horses that are well-cared for should be able to survive for five to seven years or longer after being diagnosed.

Is alfalfa bad for older horses?

The digestive tract of aged horses is less effective in processing and absorbing nutrients than that of younger horses. Older horses sometimes have trouble chewing hay because their teeth have become worn down or have fallen out completely. Coleman has discovered that hay that is a mixture of grasses and legumes, such as orchard-alfalfa or timothy-alfalfa, is frequently an excellent choice for horses.

Are Oats good for horses with Cushing’s?

Although oats are the grain with the lowest levels of sugar and starch, at 45 to 50% starch, they are still far too high in starch for horses on a low sugar and starch diet, such as insulin resistant horses, laminitis-prone horses, horses with Cushings or PSSM, and many horses who are prone to ulcers, according to the USDA on August 10, 2020.

What diet is best for Cushing syndrome?

Although oats are the grain with the lowest levels of sugar and starch, at 45 to 50% starch, they are still far too high in starch for horses on a low sugar and starch diet, such as insulin resistant horses, laminitis-prone horses, horses with Cushings or PSSM, and many horses who are prone to ulcers, according to the American Horse Council on August 10, 2019.

Can Cushing’s go away on its own?

However, when you have an excessive amount of cortisol in your system, it can cause other systems in your body to malfunction. It is possible to treat the majority of Cushing’s syndrome instances; however, it may take some time before your symptoms begin to subside. Women are more likely than males to be affected by this illness.

How would you differentiate Cushing’s disease from Cushing’s syndrome?

Cushing disease is a kind of Cushing syndrome that is distinct from the others. It happens when a pituitary tumor causes the body to produce an excessive amount of cortisol. When it comes to endogenous (originating inside the body) Cushing syndrome, Cushing illness is by far the most frequent kind, accounting for around 70% of all cases.

Can horses with Cushing’s eat grass?

Pasture grasses, particularly during the spring and autumn seasons, can contain high levels of NSC, increasing the risk of colic and laminitis in horses. When horses are on pasture, the risk of colic and laminitis is increased. Given the increased likelihood of laminitis and founder in horses suffering from Cushing’s disease, pasture grazing should be severely restricted or avoided entirely.

How do I get my horse to eat Prascend?

Getting started with the simplest Put it in their meals to trick them. Put it in a slice of apple or carrot to make a sandwich.

Wedge it in a polo shirt, or better yet, three! Make yourself a sandwich! Combine with some apple puree or custard to make a delicious dessert. If your horse does not have laminitis, you might mix a little bit of molasses or honey with a handful of feed before putting the pill into the feed bowl.

What does Prascend do for Cushings horses?

What are the advantages of treating horses with PRASCEND for both the horses and the owners? Prascend treatment has been shown to enhance the overall quality of life in PPID-affected horses by minimizing the appearance of common indications and decreasing the likelihood of developing additional illnesses that may be connected with the disease.

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