Given that I bought my first horse, Sam, when he was 15, I guess I shouldn’t have been too shocked to find him into his twenties before I knew it. But as a spry, active, and healthy guy, I figured he was on Arabian time where old age wouldn’t really kick in for a few more years. So when his ACTH numbers came out high this spring, consistent with pre-Cushing’s, I was thrown for a loop. I’d always known Cushing’s horses, but they were usually well into the obvious stages of the disease: long haircoat, muscle wasting, etc. And while I anticipated having to confront the challenges of an aging horse at some point, it was still a difficult to imagine my sleek twenty-three-year-old in this boat.
Nonetheless, I appreciated the education my SmartPak career had given me, and it helped me feel much less dreary about the diagnosis. With the help of my veterinarian, we worked out a regimen involving prescriptions and supplement changes, as well as an overall evaluation of his current diet. Fortunately, Sam’s condition did not also involve insulin resistance, so that was one less thing to worry about and meant he could stay on his current grain and hay. We added Prascend, which should hopefully help slow the progression of symptoms. SmartPituitary Senior also came out just in time to start Sam on it, which made finding the right combination of support easy for me. This supplement helps to support normal immune function, maintain healthy muscle mass, and may help support normal shedding—all things I was looking for. My other favorite new supplement? Hands down, SmartCombo Senior Ultra, which keeps Sam qualifying for ColiCare. Once again, one less thing to worry about!
Testing and catching the issue early may be our biggest advantage in effective treatment, so although I don’t think Sam would consider himself senior (as he gallops around the pasture), I’m glad in the end that we did test him. I’m hoping that he can continue to feel and act young at heart for many years!