5 FAQs: Understanding the Equine Disease, PPID

Written by Valley Vet Supply

PPID (Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction), formerly known as Cushing’s Disease, is the most common hormonal disorder affecting horses and ponies; however, warning signs often go unnoticed.

Should your horse develop PPID, would you know what to watch for?

Better understand PPID with these five FAQs.

  1. What is PPID?
  2. PPID causes the horse's pituitary gland at the base of the brain, which controls body functions through hormone levels, to work double-time, resulting in a variety of lifelong problems for affected horses.

  1. How common is PPID?
  2. PPID impacts up to 30 percent of horses and ponies more than 15 years old. While PPID occurs most frequently in senior horses, young horses are still at risk. Horses as young as 5 have been diagnosed with PPID.

  1. Are there breeds at higher risk for developing PPID?
  2. All breeds, including both horses and ponies, can be at potential risk for developing PPID.

  1. Which warning signs should I watch for?
  2. Often, signs of PPID go unnoticed. How can you tell if your horse may potentially have PPID? Watch out for the following:

    • Decreased athletic performance
    • Loss of muscle mass
    • Change in attitude or energy
    • Delayed shedding or no shedding at all
    • Excess fat on tail head or neck
    • Infertility
    • Abnormal sweating
    • Laminitis
    • Blindness

    Experts recommend that horse owners perform frequent health checks to identify early signs of PPID. Catching PPID early on can have a profound impact on how the horse responds to treatment before other signs appear.

  1. What are treatment options for PPID?
  2. While unfortunately, there is no cure for PPID, horse owners can alleviate the impact PPID has on their horse’s well-being. Treatment with PRASCEND can reduce clinical signs of the disease and improve the quality of life for affected horses. PRASCEND is the first and only medicine available in the U.S. that is FDA-approved to treat PPID, providing a safe and effective treatment option. Command IR Ultra is an effective supplement used to support horses with PPID, aiding in reducing fat pockets, restoring body condition and addressing the metabolic condition.

    Through management techniques - focusing on stress, health and comfort - horse owners can reduce the impact PPID has on their horse’s life. To reduce stress, implement a strict routine as well as avoid turnout with overly excitable, aggressive horses. To help ensure the horse’s overall health, continue to deworm regularly as needed, and vaccinate against emerging disease threats. Additionally, horses with PPID may have varying consistency of coat shedding, some shedding too frequently while others barely shed at all. Their comfort can be increased by clipping their coat in the summertime and providing heavy, water-resistant blankets for cold weather in the wintertime.

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