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  • Writer's pictureDrs. Luedke

What are the first signs of Cushing's disease (PPID)?

PPID, also known as equine Cushing's disease, is a condition that affects many older horses. It's caused by a hormonal imbalance in the pituitary gland, which controls the production of several hormones in the body. Here's what you need to know about PPID in horses.

  1. Symptoms: The symptoms of PPID in horses can be difficult to identify, but some common signs include a long, curly hair coat that doesn't shed, excessive thirst and urination, weight loss, and a tendency to develop infections. In severe cases, horses may also develop laminitis.

  2. Causes: PPID is caused by an overproduction of a hormone called adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), which is produced by a tumor in the pituitary gland. This hormonal imbalance can cause a range of health problems in horses.

  3. Diagnosis: To diagnose PPID, your veterinarian may perform a blood test to measure ACTH levels or perform a physical exam to check for other symptoms of the condition.

  4. Treatment: There is no cure for PPID, but the condition can be managed with medication. The most commonly used drug is pergolide, which helps to regulate the production of hormones and reduce the symptoms of PPID.

  5. Management: In addition to medication, managing your horse's diet and exercise routine can also help to reduce the symptoms of PPID. Horses with the condition should be fed a low-carbohydrate diet and given regular exercise to help maintain a healthy weight.

  6. Prevention: There is no known way to prevent PPID, but early diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce the risk of serious health problems associated with the condition.

In conclusion, PPID is a common condition that affects many older horses, but with proper management and treatment, horses with the condition can lead healthy and comfortable lives. If you suspect that your horse may have PPID, it's important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

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