Cushing’s disease brings misery to many horses and ponies – and their owners – and many will be battling with this painful and unpleasant condition now – as symptoms often first appear in the autumn.
Equine Herbals Cushy Life is a supplement that provides nutritional support for normal hormone balance and many owners testify to the difference it has made.
It is produced by New Zealand herbalist James Hart – whose innovative liquid herbal range we first wrote about on this blog a year ago.
Common symptoms of Cushing’s disease include:
- Excessive thirst
- Coarse, dense, curly coat
- Heavy sweating
- Increased appetite
- Lack of energy
- Dull eyes and coat
- Lack of immunity leading to other illnesses and infections
Cushing’s disease is often found in horses in mid to late life, although equines as young as seven have been known to develop it.
A small benign tumour on the pituitary gland – which controls the production and release of hormones responsible for many basic body functions – causes Cushing’s disease.
There is no cure for Cushing’s – but it can be managed and the symptoms improved.
Cushy Life is made from the liquid extract of the Chasteberry – also known as Vitex Agnus-castus.
Pegasus Health also sells pure Vitex Agnus-castus in the form of dried, ground Agnus-castus berries which we also recommend.
In recent years the Laminitis Trust carried out a trial to examine the impact of Vitex Agnus-castus on cases of Cushing’s disease in some 120 horses and ponies. They found that all owners reported improvement in some areas with their horses becoming more active and less depressed. Many also shed the excess hair they had been carrying.
Owners reported that their horses became more energetic and interested in their surroundings, were less depressed and began to enjoy life again.
The UK Horse Journal also ran a similar trial on a smaller group of 10 horses and ponies aged between 13 and 25 years who had either been diagnosed with Cushing’s or were showing classic symptoms of the condition.
They said that response was “rapid and dramatic” with excess hair being shed and energy levels rising in around three weeks on average.