Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) is an insidious disease affecting horses. The symptoms can be misinterpreted for many other common equine conditions. Left undiagnosed, the horse will suffer needlessly. There is currently no cure for PPID. It is a chronic, lifelong disease that requires daily medical treatment. Treatment can reduce clinical signs of the disease, improving the quality of life for the affected horse.

PPID causes the horse’s pituitary gland, which utilizes hormones to control body functions, to work overtime. This can lead to a variety of problems for horses, ranging from unexplained laminitis to abnormal fat deposits. PPID affects both male and female horses, all breeds and horses as young as 5 years of age. However, it is more common among older horses. PPID was previously referred to as Cushing’s Disease. It is not contagious.

Use this check list if you have concerns about the presence of PPID in your barn.

Early Clinical Signs:

  • Abnormal sweating (increased or decreased)
  • Change in attitude/lethargy
  • Decreased athletic performance
  • Delayed hair coat shedding
  • Desmitis/tendonitis
  • Infertility
  • Laminitis/recurrent sole abscesses
  • Loss of epaxial muscle mass (topline)
  • Regional adiposity
  • Regional hypertrichosis

Advanced Clinical Signs:

  • Abnormal sweating (increased or decreased)
  • Blindness
  • Dull attitude/altered mentation
  • Excessive mammary gland secretions
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Generalized hypertrichosis
  • Infertility
  • Laminitis/recurrent sole abscesses
  • Loss of seasonal hair coat shedding
  • Parasitism
  • Polyuria/polydipsia
  • Regional adiposity (bulging supraorbital fat)
  • Recurrent infections
  • Rounded abdomen
  • Skeletal muscle atrophy
  • Tendon and suspensory ligament laxity.

LOS LUNAS ANIMAL CLINIC can perform a simple blood test to determine the presence of PPID. Early diagnoses will lead to early treatment, thus giving your equine a better quality of life.

Call for an appointment if you have concerns about PPID. LLAC does make farm calls to simplify the collection of blood samples.