Understanding Equine Cushing's Disease

Care About Cushing's is here to help further understanding of Equine Cushing's Disease - the 5th most commonly diagnosed disease affecting horses in the UK

Care About Cushing's

Equine Cushing’s disease (more correctly known as Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction or PPID) is a common hormonal disease of horses and ponies. Care About Cushing's is a community resource specifically developed to support horse owners in recognising the signs of Equine Cushing's disease, diagnosing it promptly, and creating the best management plan for their horse in order to maintain quality of life and reduce the risk of suffering associated with this disease.

What is Equine Cushing’s disease?

Membership

For expert advice and tools that will help you manage Equine Cushing's disease.

Finding out that your horse has Equine Cushing’s disease can be worrying - that's why 'Care About Cushing's' is here. We are here to support and guide you in sorting out the facts from the fiction, and provide a safe place for your horse's records and support you in making the best decisions for your horse. 

Join the community

Care About Cushing’s offers you the opportunity to become part of a community of fellow owners of horses faced with Equine Cushing’s disease. Becoming a member of this community offers numerous benefits, such as:

  • Instant access to expert tips on diagnosing and managing Equine Cushing’s disease (PPID) in your horse.
  • Simple accessible recording system to monitor your horse’s progress.
  • Video and document library to teach you useful techniques such as body condition scoring.
  • A direct line to veterinary experts ready to answer your questions.
  • Option to receive summaries of scientific advances in Equine Cushing’s disease and laminitis direct to your inbox.
  • Option to receive personalised alerts when action may be appropriate for your horse.
  • Option to participate in a survey to advance the understanding of Equine Cushing’s disease.
  • Learn from other horse owners experiences of Equine Cushing’s disease.

 

Features of membership

How to spot it?

The signs of Equine Cushing’s disease will vary from one horse or pony to another. It’s therefore important to monitor your horse for all the clinical signs that are associated with this disease.

Muscle wastage

Muscle wastage

Abnormal fat deposits

Abnormal fat deposits

Abnormal sweating

Abnormal sweating

Recurrent infections

Recurrent infections

Lethargy

Lethargy

Laminitis Rings

Laminitis

Increased thirst/urination

Increased thirst/urination

Abnormal coat

Abnormal coat

Reduced fertility

Reduced fertility

If you recognise one or more of the signs of Equine Cushing’s disease in your horse, there are three simple steps you need to take to find out if they have the condition, and how to best manage the disease so that they continue to live a happy and healthy life.

Horse of the Month

'Abbey' Draffan

Our Horse of the Month for August is the gorgeous Abbey! Abbey was diagnosed with PPID 6 years ago, but her owner now thinks that she was showing signs of Equine Cushing’s disease for some time before this that they had assumed were due to Abbey’s age.

When Abbey’s owner Jeanette bought her as a 15 year old she had a thick coat over the winter but shed it in the spring. Jeanette noticed though that Abbey’s moult was getting later and later each year, and the year Abbey was diagnosed she didn’t shed her coat at all until the summer. The other main sign that Jeanette picked up on was that Abbey was drinking excessively, emptying two large buckets of water overnight, and then of course having to empty her bladder so her bed was soaked! It was this sign that prompted Jeanette to discuss Abbey’s signs with her vet and although the vet wasn’t sure that Abbey had Equine Cushing's Disease they decided to test her anyway.

A blood test called a basal ACTH test was carried out and the ACTH result was extremely high which demonstrated that Abbey did have Equine Cushing’s disease. Medical treatment was prescribed by Abbey’s vet, and Jeanette has also worked hard with Abbey’s diet to keep her in the best body condition. Since her diagnosis Jeanette and Abbey’s vet have worked together to manage the Equine Cushing’s disease: they have needed to gradually increase her dose of medication over time in order to manage the signs of disease, and she is now fed hay rather than haylage. She finally retired from ridden work two years ago, but loses her thick winter coat in the spring and is very happy and healthy.

Thank you so much for sharing Abbey’s story with us – we’re so pleased that she is doing so well!

Share your story about managing PPID/Equine Cushing's disease