Many people have heard of PPID or Equine Cushing’s Disease, but it can be a difficult disease to fully understand. By reading this blog post you can better understand what PPID means, how PPID presents clinically, how we can diagnose PPID, and what we can do to manage our PPID patients.
Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) is an endocrine disease that is thought to affect between 15-30% of aged horses. The most obvious clinical sign in more advanced cases is hypertrichosis (hair growth, abnormally long curly hair, and/or a failure to shed out normally in the summer). Other clinical signs can include increased drinking and urination, chronic infections, muscle wasting, weight loss, regional fat deposits, and an increased propensity to develop laminitis (founder). Because this disease occurs in older horses, it is often missed as the owner assumes that their horse isn't looking and feeling as well merely because they are getting older. The following is a report of one case in a horse used for competitive polo, written by her owner Connie: