Friday, July 4, 2008

Wade's new clothes

Wade, Wade, Wade.

What looks like one of TREES' strongest, healthiest geldings is actually one big ball of special needs.

To begin, Wade has Cushings. He had already been diagnosed as Cushingoid before arrival and was being treated with pergolide. He seemed to be free of observable symptoms, with the exception of excess sweating on moderately hot days.

Two summers ago, Wade had a short period of the itchies. Tail rubbing, belly rubbing, occasional hives. Episodes seemed to come and go quickly, so we didn't get overly concerned.

Last summer, it became apparent that Wade was developing serious allergies to something in his environment. He rubbed an enormous bald spot on his tailhead. The hair on his midline was replaced by weeping, itchy lesions. He lost most of the hair on his face, even though we never saw him rub his head.
Allergies in horses are often treated with steroids like dexamethasone or prednisone. Steroids and Cushings, however, are not a good mix. Wade was given hydroxyzine, an antihistamine, and Voila! Itching was gone, hair returned, life was good. Hydroxyzine, in horse-size doses, though, can get a little pricey.

As spring 2008 approached, it was obvious Wade was facing even more pronounced symptoms. By now, the vets were fairly sure Wade's sensitivity was to insect bites. As they dispensed antihistamines, they recommended finding fly spray concentrates and diluting to only 10% rather than 5% or less. Ach. Not something we really wanted to apply to a horse with so many imbalances already.

Thus began yet another round of experimentation and observation. Aha! Wade was coming in with hives in the morning, but by each evening the hives were pretty much gone. The culprit seemed to be nocturnal.

Coincidentally, Schneiders catalog came along......lo and behold, a Mosquito Mesh sheet for horses! Its perfect. Wade wears his at night. No hives, no tail rubbing, his facial hair is returning. Bingo! And he's been off hydroxyzine for several weeks now. Even better!

He's not wearing it in the photo above, but as an afterthought, we also purchased a neck protector since there were a few bites just in front of the sheet.

Wade wears his new clothes at night, and trades them during the day for a fly mask and boots.

Oddly enough, Wade's excess sweating seems to have decreased as well. Whether or not the two things are actually connected is in question, but we'll take it!

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