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Karen-MHWF
 #1 
Has anyone out here ever used Evitex (brand name), or Chaste Berry (Vitex Agnus-castus) for a horse with Cushings?  Or used it for just plain hormonal balance, etc.?  I would love to hear from anyone who has, and hear any input you may have on the efficacy of this natural alternative for horses with Cushings, or whatever you may have used this for. 

Thanks in advance! 
Sherri N.
 #2 

Back to work, eh Karen?   :)  I haven't heard of this product or chaste berry for Cushings . . I have heard of a combination of magnesium, chromium & cinnamin bark for Cushings and other metabolic/sugar processing problems both equine & human.  Here is a link for the product I do know of:

http://www.kamanimalservices.com/syndrome_x.htm

 

But please keep me posted if you find out about more about chaste-berry & Cushings . . I always wonder if the condition arises from confinement & sweet feed, like TV and Krispy Kremes would try to make me diabetic.  ??

 

Kay P.
 #3 

 

And not to take away from the question at hand, but if it's for hormonal balance, does it work on people too?? (seriously!!)

Sherri N.
 #4 

Ha!  No kidding --sign me up for some chasteberry!

Karen-MHWF
 #5 

:) It may work for people.  You know people are effectively using glucosamine and chondroitin now, and that was first studied on horses joints. 

 

Still no one out here who has used Chasteberry?  Companies that manufacture and sell products of course will claim all of the best, but there's no replacing hearing from real people who have actually used things to find out what works and what doesn't. 

 

Here is what I've heard claimed for Chasteberry:  Chaste Berry has been in use for centuries as a reliable medicine, balancing and regulating the mammalian hormonal system.  It gently, but effectively, supports the normal functioning of the pituitary gland, correcting hormonal disturbances.  Support of the progesterone level is extremely helpful in counteracting the irritability and unpredictability that can happen with mares "in season", making them more comfortable, cooperative and safer to handle.  Evitex is also used for overly aggressive stallions and geldings.  The traditional uses for the active ingredients in Evitex (chasteberry) are:  as a specific remedy for mood changes, anxiety, nervous tension, and physical discomfort related to estrous cycles; to support progesterone production; to regulate and balance female hormonal cycles; to support and increase fertility; as long-term care for the prevention/treatment of Equine Cushings Syndrome, non-cancerous tumors and cysts, and for hormonal adjustment of spayed mares.  No known toxicity level. 

 

Please post if you have used chasteberry in your equine, I'd really appreciate hearing from you and the uses, effectiveness.  Thank you!! 

Karen-MHWF
 #6 

Here's a quick run-down about Cushings for anyone reading who is wondering.  (A lot of times Cushings Syndrome is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland in horses) 

 

‘Cushings’(also called Hyperadrenocorticism) is a disease of the
endocrine system. It is caused by an abnormality of the pituitary
gland, at the base of the brain, which makes the body produce
excessive amounts of cortisol – the body’s natural steroid
hormone.

Its effects can be seen throughout the body. You may have noticed
your horse having:

Increased thirst
Increased appetite
Increased urination
Pot bellied appearance
Loss of topline muscle.
A thick wavy hair coat in the summer – failure to shed its
winter coat.
Chronic laminitis.
Lethargy


Complications of Cushings

Immunosuppression that could cause your horse to be prone to
other diseases especially skin diseases like rain scald.
Laminitis. Signs include: Lameness
Heat in the feet
Increased digital pulses in the feet
Reluctant or hesitant gait ("walking on eggshells")
A "sawhorse stance," with the front feet stretched out in front
to alleviate pressure on the toes and the hind feet "camped out"
or positioned further back than normal to bear more weight.
Rings in hoof wall that become wider as they are followed from
toe to heel
Dropped soles or flat feet


What Happens Next – Treatment from the Vet
There are a number of treatments available for the treatment of
Cushing’s disease.

Your vet will decide which is the best treatment for your horse
but the principle behind each treatment is very similar. Each
treatment is lifelong.

Within the brain a substance called Dopamine prevents
overproduction of hormones. Serotonin is another naturally
occurring substance, which has the opposite effect. So, to treat
your horse you can either use a drug which mimics dopamine
(Bromocriptine or more commonly used, Pergolide) or a drug which
blocks the effect of Serotonin (Cyproheptidine).

Trilostane, a drug that blocks cortisol, is another alternative,
which is about to be licensed in the UK. Ask your vet for further
details.

How can you help?
The increase in cortisol is similar to the effects of stress, so
decreasing the stress experienced by your horse will help. This
can be done by:

Sticking to a strict routine
Provide a safe comfortable, quiet haven for the horse.
Avoiding turnout with aggressive horses.
Keeping feed and water conveniently located.
Clipping the horse in warm weather and using rugs when cold.
Keep the horse well groomed to minimise skin disease.
Inspect the hooves daily, keep in good shape, and monitor for
signs of laminitis (see above).
Minimise contact with new horses.
Immunise as necessary.
Worm regularly.
Check dental health.
Provide a high quality, easily digestible diet.

Prognosis and Long Term Outcome
Treatment is lifelong, as is management. This condition cannot be
cured but horses can continue in comfort for many years.

Laminitis is the most serious complication.

karen_wilson
 #7 

hello!  i've just started researching cushings tx's for my 20 yr old arab gelding and i found this link and found it of interest:

http://www.equine-rescue.com/equine-cushings.html

 

 

Peggy-IL
 #8 

I forwarded this post to my friend with a Cushings pony. She highly recommends a product which has chasteberry as its main ingredient. http://www.chamisaridge.com/horses/1/H2108  Rather pricey, but she swears by it. This company also has chasteberry available by itself. http://www.chamisaridge.com/horses/1/H687 Lots less expensive. I've never used either of these products myself, but I did use the canine Veteran supplement for my old dog, and it made a world of difference. I'm a strong believer in herbal remedies since I saw how much better it made Bear feel.

Karen-MHWF
 #9 

Thank you so much for the input Peggy, I really appreciate it!!  I've heard some pretty great things about the chaste-berry for Cushings. 

 

P.S.  We got the pics of Festin...BEAUTIFUL!!! THANK YOU!!!  (I'll share those on the forum eventually too.) 

Karen-MHWF
 #10 

I'm just bringing this back to the top, as the subject has been brought up about testosterone levels in horses, and I have heard that chaste-berry has worked well for people with those "studdy" geldings.  I have not seen this with my own eyes, but, hey..a natural product that promotes good health and can help balance these levels is worth a shot! :) 

Judy - Ia
 #11 

Hi,

     Has anyone used Chaste Berry yet?   Was just doing some reading and wondered if anyone tryed it, and what for, and what the results were.  Thanks!

kris g
 #12 

Yes people can take Chasteberry.  My chiropractor recommended for PMS and IT DEFINITELY HELPS!  I don't know what the dose was, but you start it right around ovulation.  The product I got I bought from her, but I think you can get it just about anywhere.

 

Karen-MHWF
 #13 

Bumping this thread back up, due to the recent news that Pergolide (medication for Cushing's in equines) may be ceasing manufacture. 

Windee
 #14 
I'm not a regular here (and live a long way from Wisconsin!) but just came across your thread by chance.

Last year I put a 6 year old gelding on ChasteTree Berry (in powder form) in an attempt to alter his incessant, year round studdy behavior and it really seems as if it has done the trick. I decided to hold my opinion till this spring when the mares have strong cycles and our stallion stirs up everyone's hormonal drive. The gelding has not whinnied, nickered or mounted anyone thus far so I would say that it definitely worked for my intentions. (also, early last year we had a hormone panel done on him and he came out "normal".) Because he is a hyper kind of guy with short attention span I also put him on powdered magnesium citrate not too long ago. I believe it has has had an additional positive effect for him and this beautiful horse no longer drives me crazy!

Among the websites that I gleaned insight from were:
equine-rescue.com/newsletters/newsletter-september-2003.html (be sure to look at later newsletters for the addition of magnesium to the diet)
and
http://www.foxdenequine.com/quies.htm & http://www.foxdenequine.com/faqs.htm

These links are discussing things like Cushings, Laminitis, Cresty Necks, etc... None of which my gelding had been diagnosed with or suspected of. It was just a hunch to move forward and try this approach. We generally have what most would consider a well thought out holistic feeding program, yet after this horse had been with us awhile something was still missing. His "symptoms" were things like: hard to keep weight on, incessantly studdy behavior, flighty, short attention span, (sometimes) frequent urination.

Because I had easy access I ended up buying powdered Chaste Tree Berry and powdered magnesium citrate from other sources than the links that I posted here.

ChasteTree Berry is also known as Vitex Agnus-castus. From what I've gleaned it is a very safe substance and magnesium is very safe as well.

I also began using ChasteTree Berry & magnesium for a couple of older horses that had foundered previously and/or appear to be IR and one that has a large cresty neck. I believe there are positive changes but have only just started a short time ago and do not have measurable results.

Hope this is helpful!

Karen-MHWF
 #15 

Hope all is well over there in Colorado, and thank you so much for your input! 

Sherri N.
 #16 

Thanks for this info!  I have heard of magnesium being deficient in most human & horse diets these days & of it being a calming mineral.  I have had good luck with B complex vitamins with magnesium added for crabby or young, impatient horses as well.  My horse is 24 & I noticed his winter coat seemed longer this year.  I don't know if it's too early to be concerned, but I will print out this info & keep for future reference if he doesn't shed out normally.

Thanks!

 

Mary H.
 #17 
Here is some more information on another drug that can help Cushings horses.  I'm going to ask the vet about it.  Sorry if it was already mentioned - I didn't take time to read the entire thread - couple of busy days here.  I like the percentage they give for improvement in the animal though!

Cyproheptadine (Periactin®).
This seratonin blocker is available in tablet form, which is easily absorbed into the horse's system. Horses are normally started at about 0.13 mg/kg (or about 58 mg for an average 440 kg horse). The dosage should be until the clinical signs of Cushing's begin to improve.

The simplest way to gauge improvement is to have the owner monitor the horse's water intake over a 24-hour period. This is best achieved by keeping the horse stabled and provided with water in a bucket. The dosage of medication is slowly increased until the horse's water intake returns to normal levels (usually taking about six to eight weeks). During this time, other symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome, such as the heavy coat and pot belly, also disappear, and the horse regains vigour and muscle tone. After this level of improvement has continued for a month, the dosage of cyproheptadine is gradually reduced until a maintenance level is reached.

Cyproheptadine is effective in about 75 – 80 percent of cases.




Karen-MHWF
 #18 
Oh yea, we understand busy. ;)  I'm guilty of skimming threads too. 

I just wanted to mention that we have had a horse that was on Cyproheptadine in the past also and have discussed this a little bit previously (don't worry, your not guilty of not seeing it in this thread). :)  It has been used pretty extensively, but it was the consensus, I thought anyway, that Pergolide was much more effective.  Cyproheptadine I know was less expensive than Pergolide....hopefully this will be another alternative if all else fails also for the Cushing's equines out there. 
Thanks for sharing Mary!
Mary H.
 #19 
You guys are busy?!  hehee - Bill reminded me that this is the drug that "Heart" came to our farm on for her Cushings and that was several year ago.  It was thick, chalky and messy....now doesn't that sound lovely?  Perhaps they have improved on that but it was very hard to get into her - like wormer - and at the time it was a much higher dose.  Not the greatest but if Evitex isn't effective at least there is an alternative if pergolide does become unavailable. 
rustyappy
 #20 

Bringing this back to the top for Lisa C - for your gelding we were talking about this weekend...

Lisa C
 #21 
Thanks appy, always looking out for my best interest. I will look into this some more.
Cole is doing so much better it is not even funny. He is full of life and back to his a$$ self again.

Thanks
Lori
 #22 
I'm new to this forum although I visit your site and read the forums all the time.

I used Evitex on an older cushings gelding a few years back with great success. I started it in the spring when he just wasn't shedding out well. It was the only thing I could afford to use regularly. Within a week of starting him on it, he began to shed out beautifully. I noticed after a few weeks that he was regulating body temperature more efficiently with less heavy sweating, his appetite was much improved, and he had a gleam in his eye and a kick in his step. I became a believer and wouldn't hesitate to use it on another horse, although it is my understanding that not all horses respond to it. He was 30+ at the time and I was nothing but happy with the results.

And it is affordable enough to give it a try.

Hope that helps.
Karen-MHWF
 #23 

Popping this to the top for Kellie from Rio....hopefully there is some info here that may help you Kellie. 

Karen-MHWF
 #24 

Giving this thread a bump for someone who had questions about Cushings...there are some useful links on this thread. 

Karen-MHWF
 #25 

Just a bump on this thread for some reading on Cushings. 

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