Equine Cushings Disease has a new name due to new insights into this complex condition: Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID).
PPID is a common disease in older horses; the clinical signs are associated with abnormally elevated hormone concentrations in the blood. Along with other hormones, cortisol plays an improtant role in the disease.
The average age of horses diagnosed with PPID is 20 years, with over 85% of the horses being greater than 15 years of age. Although most common in aged horses, PPID has been diagnosed in horses as young as 7 years of age. All breeds of horses can develop PPID, however ponies and Morgan horses have a higher incidence.
Clinical signs of PPID can vary depending upon the stage of disease. The most striking sign, but one which is not always present, especially in early cases, is an excessively long and curly coat that doesn't shed properly.
Other symptoms that have been associated with PPIK include excessive drinking and urination (polyuria/polydipsia), laminitis, lethargy, excessive sweating, muscle mass loss, repeated infections such as sole abscesses, tooth root infections, sinusitis, infertility, and occasionally bulging of the eyes as a result of redistribution of supraorbital fat.
Diagnosis of the condition can be made by a special blood test to measure the response of the horse's endocrine system to an injection of cortisone.
For more information about the diagnostic procedure and possible treatments, please contact us at Rosehill Farm.