What causes PPID in horses?

PPID is caused by degeneration of neurons that affect the production of hormones such as adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). Common clinical signs include a long, curly hair coat, delayed shedding, loss of muscle, poor immune function, and laminitis.

Why do horses get PPID?

The underlying cause of PPID is loss of inhibition of the pars intermedia region of the pituitary gland. As a result, the gland becomes enlarged and there is a marked increase in the production of certain hormones.

What is the best hay to feed a horse with Cushing’s?

Alfalfa averages 10-15% NSC, and oat hay is very high, averaging 22%. Alfalfa can be a good option for a horse with Cushings if they are a hard time holding their weight because it is more calorie-dense than grass hay.

Is PPID in horses hereditary?

A role for a genetic contribution to equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and pars pituitary intermedia dysfunction (PPID) has been hypothesized. Heritability estimates of EMS biochemical measurements were consistent with moderately to highly heritable traits.

How long does a horse live with Cushing’s?

Well-managed horses should live about five to seven years or more past diagnosis. In severely affected horses, however, laminitis and recurrent infections are time-consuming and expensive to manage and can shorten the horse’s anticipated life expectancy dramatically.

How does PPID cause laminitis?

Insulin dysregulation places horses with PPID at a higher risk of developing laminitis, which can be the most devastating complication of PPID. Laminitis (founder) is a crippling disease caused by weakening of the tissues (laminae) anchoring the hoof wall to the underlying bone.

What is metabolic syndrome in horses?

What is Equine Metabolic Syndrome? Overweight horses, ponies, and donkeys are often affected by Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). EMS is an endocrine condition that affects the body in three ways: obesity and/or localized fat deposits, insulin dysregulation, and laminitis.

Can horses with Cushings be on grass?

Pasture grasses can have a high NSC content, especially during the spring and fall seasons, and the risk of colic and laminitis is greater when horses are on pasture. Since laminitis and founder are more common in horses with Cushing’s disease, pasture grazing should be severely limited or totally avoided.

How long can horses live with PPID?

PPID is the most common endocrine disease in horses and occurs most often in animals over 15 years of age. Many horses today live 30 years or longer because of improvements in nutrition and management practices in recent decades.

How common is PPID in horses?

Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID; equine Cushing’s disease) is an endocrine disorder that occurs in over 20% of aged horses, ponies, and donkeys. Most animals are over 15 years old when diagnosed, but PPID can occur in younger horses. It is, rare in horses less than 10 years old.

Can Cushings in horses be cured?

There is no cure for Cushing’s disease but the good news is that there are medications available which usually improve the clinical signs. Improvement of clinical signs will most often improve the quality and length of life for your horse.

How can you tell if a horse has Cushings?

  • Failure or later shedding of the winter coat that may become really long, matted and curly especially around the legs.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Increased drinking and urination.
  • Lethargy and poor performance.
  • A pot-bellied appearance.
  • Loss of muscle and topline.

How do you prevent Cushing’s disease in horses?

Although Cushing’s disease cannot always be prevented, there are precautions you can take to lower the risk. “The most important thing is to keep your horse’s weight down, providing proper nutrition, which means to feed him only what he really needs,” Langer says. Sugar intake should be minimized.

Are horses with Cushings in pain?

Do horses with Cushing’s suffer? As long as horses with Cushing’s disease are treated and monitored closely for any signs of pain (due to laminitis) or other abnormal characteristics of decreased quality of life, they are not thought to be suffering.

Should you blanket a horse with Cushing’s disease?

Some geriatric horses with Cushing’s disease need to be blanketed. Ironically, these horses develop an exceptionally long, thick winter haircoat, but often the hair needs to be clipped because they also tend to sweat excessively and inappropriately.

What age do horses get Cushing’s?

Equine Cushing’s Disease is a condition of older horses and typically develops in horses over 15 years of age, although it can develop in younger animals.

What happens if Cushings is left untreated in horses?

If a horse has untreated Cushing’s Disease, it is more likely to develop laminitis and the laminitis will be more difficult to control. If an equine has any of the clinical signs suggestive of Cushing’s, a blood sample can be taken to check ACTH levels in the blood.

Can Cushings in horses be treated naturally?

Good hoof-care combined with nutritional management and the application of other modalities, including acupuncture and Chinese and Western herbs, can complete the healing process. The successful treatment of equine Cushing’s syndrome is one of the best examples of treating a disease using the holistic approach.

Can you prevent PPID in horses?

It is not possible to prevent this condition. However, with available blood tests we are now able to recognize and treat more cases earlier and more effectively and many treated horses and ponies go on to live normal lives for many years after diagnosis and treatment.

Do all Cushings horses get laminitis?

Equine Cushing’s cases always develop laminitis if they live long enough. They may become immunosuppressed and subject to a variety of parasitic or infectious agents such as helminthiasis or pneumonia. Many cases show muscle loss and become polydipsic and polyphagic; they may be diabetic.

Does Prascend stop laminitis?

Several studies report improvement in the clinical signs of laminitis during treatment with pergolide. However, such improvements cannot be attributed to pergolide rather than other interventions such as farriery, rest or analgesia.

Why does Cushing’s cause laminitis?

It is thought that increased bodily fat causes the insulin resistance, which in turn stops the animals from metabolising sugar and starch properly. This then causes an excess of insulin in the blood stream, leading to an increased risk of laminitis.

When Should a horse be tested for PPID?

At the time of diagnosis, horses with PPID are >15 years of age, and usually older than 20 years. The typical clinical signs include hirsutism, loss of muscle, and accumulation of fat in the neck.

How do you treat insulin resistance in horses?

Feeding & Management: – Treatment for insulin resistance may consist of the following: Weight loss through diet and exercise if the animal is obese. Limiting carbohydrate (sugar/starch) intake through elimination of grain and high sugar feeds. Test pastures and hay for amounts of sugars present.

Does Cushings affect the liver in horses?

Equine Cushings cases if left untreated, will inevitably develop laminitis and many of them suffer from liver disease too. Because the condition results in suppression of the immune system, skin and other infections are common.

Do horses with Cushing’s shed?

Advanced signs and symptoms of PPID (Cushing’s Disease) – Changes in shedding and overall appearance of the horse’s coat may become more obvious and generalized. Loss of epaxial muscle (muscles along the horse’s back) may become increasingly pronounced. The horse’s belly may become distended.

How do horses develop Cushing’s disease?

In horses, PPID is attributed to an adenoma (a benign tumor) in the pars intermedia of the pituitary gland. The cells that make up the tumor produce excessive amounts propriomelanocortin (POMC) and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).

What grain should I feed my horse with Cushings?

Increased energy requirements can be met by feeding alfalfa (lucerne) hay or chaff, super-fibers such as beet pulp and soy hulls, or a low- to moderate-NSC feed. Feeds that are higher in fat (greater than 6%) are preferred as they are less reliant on carbohydrates for energy.


Cushings (PPID) and Metabolic Syndrome in Horses

More information about Equine Cushing’s Disease (PPID)

Metabolic Disease In Horses – Part 1 – Ask a Farrinarian

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