From Endurance to Dressage
Speedy and I just can't catch a break. On Thursday, Dr. Tolley called with the results of Speedy's most recent ACTH results. For those who are new here, Speedy has Cushing's Disease. Retesting the ACTH levels can indicate whether the disease is being controlled by medication or not. I wrote a Cushing's Tutorial here. I am not a vet, so take the information with a grain of salt. In short, Speedy's ACTH levels didn't fall as we had hoped; neither did they remain where they were. Oh, no. Instead, his have risen 239%.
In January of 2019, multiple abscesses in quick succession screamed red flag to my vet, especially since Speedy had never before abscessed and he was also quickly approaching his 15th birthday. Dr. Tolley ordered Speedy's first ACTH test. The results came back at only slightly elevated with a score of 56. While low, it was still too high for mid-winter, so Speedy was started on 1 mg of pergolide daily.
Throughout the rest of the winter and spring, things went well. In early August, he developed another abscess, and in November another one. And of course, we had yet a third one in mid-February. Speedy's still recovering from that one. It would seem that the Prascend was working through the first half of the year but not so much in the second.
I guess the good news is we now have an explanation for why the abscesses continued. The only thing we can do is increase Speedy's daily dose of pergolide from 1mg to 2. Prascend, the brand name for pergolide, isn't cheap though. I pay $2.13 per pill, and before you tell me I can get it slightly cheaper, I am aware of that.
I choose to order it through my veterinarian's online pharmacy because I don't have to do anything except change the AutoShip date when needed. Well, that and provide my credit card. My vet takes care of everything else. It's convenient, and for the $8.00 a box I might save by ordering through Allivet, I'll stick with my vet's pharmacy.
Let's be honest here; $4.23 per day is a lot of money. That's $29.61 a week or $131.13 a month. Even scarier, it's a whopping $1,543.95 a year. I can't afford more. Maybe it's more honest to say I WON'T afford more. It breaks my heart to say it, but at some point, the price of a treatment is more than I am willing to spend. In June, we'll test his ACTH levels again. This test will tell us if his Cushing's Disease is under control or not.
While it kills me to say this, if his numbers have risen even more, I can't justify spending $200 a month on three pills a day. I am willing to do a lot for my horses, but at some point, I'm just going to have to take a step back and let nature run its course. Will that be easy to do? Oh my gosh, no! It will break my heart.
For now, we're taking it one day at a time.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: