FACT OR FICTION?
THE TRUTH ABOUT PPID
Pituitary pars intermdia dysfunction (PPID) was previously known as “equine Cushing’s disease” by horse owners and veterinarians for years. In PPID, the pituitary gland works overtime, resulting in hormone imbalances that can disrupt normal body functions and result in a variety of physical health issues. As more information is learned, clinical signs of PPID are becoming more apparent; however, there are still several misconceptions about the disease. Steve Grubbs, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, equine technical manager for Boehringer Ingelheim, identified the seven most common misconceptions of PPID. 1. Horse owners should look only for a cresty neck, long hair coat and laminitis as signs of PPID.
FICTION – The early signs of PPID do not only include the above, but may also include: 1 • Regional fat deposits • Loss of topline • Delayed hair coat shedding or long hair only
in certain areas • Abnormal sweating • Decreased athletic performance • Change in attitude or lethargy • Infertility • Laminitis • Tendon and suspensory ligament issues
2. PPID is a condition that occurs in young as well as older horses.
FACT – “We have been tracking epidemiological information on horses diagnosed with PPID, and have found that PPID affects horses of all breeds and all ages, even as young as 5 years old 2 ,” Grubbs says. It is important to monitor all horses for clinical signs of PPID. “Horse owners should perform frequent overall health checks looking for early signs of PPID,” he says. “If you have concerns, consult your veterinarian. The earlier the diagnosis, the better.”
3. Horses that don’t compete as well as they used to could have PPID.
FACT – One of the earliest signs of PPID, decreased athletic performance and/or lethargy could indicate the horse has an endocrine issue such as PPID. 1 Grubbs says, “Catching PPID early may have a profound impact on how the horse responds to treatment before other signs appear.”
4. Signs of lameness are associated with PPID.
FACT – While laminitis is a well-known sign of PPID, until recently, other signs of lameness have not been considered to be indicators of the disease. However, new research is indicating that other causes of lameness, particularly certain tendon and suspensory ligament issues, are considered early signs of PPID. 1
5. Veterinarians can test for PPID only during certain months of the year.
FICTION – The resting ACTH concentration test can be used at any time of the year when you utilize seasonally adjusted reference ranges. 1 “Measuring resting ACTH is a simple blood test that your veterinarian can draw at any time,” Grubbs says. “The benefits to using resting ACTH include not only diagnosis, but also to monitor ACTH levels to know if treatment is working to decrease the levels.”
6. Horses can have both PPID and equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) at the same time.
FACT – In studies conducted in a large population of horses, “Of those diagnosed with PPID, we found that 47 percent also had increased plasma insulin, which is an indication of EMS 3 ,” Grubbs says. For more information on PPID, including the early and advanced signs, visit www.IDppid.com. For information on Prascend ® (pergolide mesylate tablets), the only FDAapproved treatment for PPID, contact your veterinarian or visit www.PRASCEND.com.