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PPID in Horses

Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction

What is PPID?

  • A common disease of the endocrine system that affects horses.



What causes this disease?

  • Neurons (or nerves) in the hypothalamus of the brain undergo degeneration and produce insufficient quantities of neurotransmitters. This specific neurotransmitter, dopamine, is important in controlling part of the pituitary gland which is, in turn, responsible for controlling the secretion of other hormones including ACTH.
  • When this part of the brain is not exposed to enough dopamine, the result is a production of abnormally high hormones. The results are the clinical signs we see.

How common is PPID?

  • So far, studies have shown 15-30% of horses and ponies 15 years and older are affected. However, PPID has been diagnosed in horses as young as 7 years old.

I can’t be sure if my horse fits the criteria. What are some signs I can look out for?

  • Delayed hair shedding
  • Patches of longer hair even in the summer
  • May keep excess hair on backs of legs, jugular groove or shedding later than barn mates
  • Loss of muscle mass of the topline
  • Regional adiposity (extra fat)
  • Located at top of the neck (crest), tail head and above lines
  • Abnormal sweating (increased or decreased)
  • Abnormal thirst and/or urination
  • Recurrent infections (includes foot abscesses)
  • Laminitis

So what’s the cure?

  • The only medication currently on the market is Prascend (pergolide tablets).
  • Prascend is a small tablet, approved by the FDA, that is administered orally one time a day for the rest of the patient’s life. Prascend works to control the clinical signs of PPID. The disease itself does not have a cure.

If I would put my horse on the medication – when could I notice a difference?

  • Upon putting your horse on the Prascend tablets – Usually clients notice an impact within 60-90 days.

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