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Discussion on Thyroid supplement

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Diane Edmonds
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 1110
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Friday, Jul 13, 2007 - 4:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr.O. I was reading a recent article on EMS and they stated one of their recommendations was to put the horse that is foundering on this for 3-6 mos. It said it helps with weight loss and insulin sensitivity. I believe Hank has EMS... he is such an easy keeper, he has to be starved to loose weight. Do you believe this could help foundering horses with EMS? I have read the article in here about thyroid supplementation. Just wondering if you would think it would be helpful in certain cases? Here is an excerpt from the article
Consider strategic use of levothyroxine (generally used as replacement therapy in reduced or absent thyroid function) for three to six months in obese horses.

However, “We are not treating hypothyroidism!” he stated. “That condition is extremely rare in horses. We are using it to accelerate metabolism (to decrease body weight).” Frank said in an ongoing study, horses in a dry lot and given levothyroxine (Thyro- L; Lloyd Inc., Shenandoah, Iowa) lost an average of 62 kg, compared to 25 kg lost by horses in a dry lot without evothyroxine.

The following facts should be considered if you have a horse that is showing signs of becoming overweight or having insulin resistance.

* Not all obese horses have EMS, and not all horses with EMS are obese.
* Diet and exercise are the main management and prevention strategies. Owners should avoid feeding concentrates and control affected or at-risk horses’ exposure to pasture.
* Levothyroxine can be given to reduce body weight and increase insulin sensitivity for three to six months.

Here is the whole article if you are interested.
I would appreciate your thoughts.
http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=9988
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 18843
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Saturday, Jul 14, 2007 - 12:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have seen this recommendation before but my experience with it was that I did not see a change with it's use alone as noted above. I always had to adjust diet and exercise and when I made these changes without the thyroxin supplement they still improved. So I just quit its use entirely. Every other species has serious consequences to supplementing thyroxin in the form of hyperthyroidism but history suggests that horses tolerate it well. Perhaps if I ran into the case I could not control through just management I might reconsider it's use in such a case. But what are you going to do when the recommended 6 months is up?
DrO
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Diane Edmonds
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 1114
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Jul 14, 2007 - 1:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I was wondering about the 6 mos. thing also, but it seems they recommend this for foundering horses. I suppose hopefully they could start some kind of exercise after that amount of time.

I have considered this with Hank, he is only getting about 8 lbs. of hay and 1/2 cup of pelllets. He is dropping weight, but I would think it would be coming off faster, without being able to exercise him...due to founder it is much harder.
I would not change his diet, but I am wondering if it might help him shed the pounds a little faster. I am HOPING in 6 mos. time I will be able to exercise him, but in the mean time would it be a viable option? I do have some thro-l here that another horse was on and it is not out dated yet, I have been real tempted to try it, but I don't want to do any harm either. Did you have any problems with the horses that were supplemented with it?
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Melissa Baker
Member
Username: mysi

Post Number: 20
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Saturday, Jul 14, 2007 - 8:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Diane- I have a 17yr old FAT pony who my vet told me I must make her loose weight. I was feeding her 1/2 cup of pellets and 2 flakes of hay a day. She is exercised 6 days a week and her weight would not budge. She gave me the Thyro-l medication and said to keep her on that. So I started it and within 3 weeks she was drastically thinner. I even cut her from 1 scoop of it to 1/2 and she was still dropping weight. She urinated about 4x more than before and she turned into a cranky little witch. She started to look emaciated and was loosing muscle so against my vets judgement I decided to stop giving it to her. I will say it worked as far as loosing weight.
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Diane Edmonds
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 1116
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Jul 14, 2007 - 9:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Melissa Did the weight stay off after you took her off it? and did you cut her feed anymore while on the thyroid meds? Did she get un-cranky after you removed it? Thanks
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Julie Masner
Member
Username: juliem

Post Number: 217
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, Jul 14, 2007 - 10:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane, I would say my experience with Thyrol L exactly illustrates what Dr. O told you above. Why mess with a horse's chemistry when it's unnecessary? Interesting comment regarding cranky--my gelding was also cranky the entire time he was on it. The supplement didn't help, may mess with the horse's own production of thyroid and as far as I know, there's not much research telling us exactly what happens when a horse is taken off the supplement, but there is research telling us it is largely unnecessary. Your horse is losing weight--you're on the right track. Just concentrate on finding the right farrier or start learning to trim yourself! Seriously, I think you could do it!
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Melissa Baker
Member
Username: mysi

Post Number: 24
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Saturday, Jul 14, 2007 - 10:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

She gained most of the weight back . I never through all of this changed her feed, including now it's the same. And she completely returned to normal a couple of days off the meds. (she's still a little cow though - she is a pony after all, lol.)But not a psycho like she was there for a while, she was nasty. I guess you have to weigh the pro's and con's. If it was to save her life I would put her back on it, but she's perfectly healthy just fat. Ive attached a pic of her chubby.
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Diane Edmonds
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 1117
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Jul 14, 2007 - 11:07 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the info on your very cute chunky pony! Hank also has 1/4 welsh pony in him, vet always says that's his problem (kiddingly). Problem was my over feeding...that horse can survive on air and just can't be fed normally.

Thanks Julie, I guess my impatience is rearing it's ugly head again. Hank is doing VERY well... no more boots or pads, off of bute, and on ground that is "normal" he is striding right out. Hard cement type ground still makes him shorten his stride. The farrier is coming Mon. and I am going to shoe him for awhile with the pour in pads, I think his thin soles need protection at this time. The constant bruising is not helping him any. If I was able to turn him out to pasture I would consider keeping him barefoot, but unfortunately I can't/shouldn't do that at this time.
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