Fact Sheet: Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID)


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As many as one-quarter of all horses 15 years of age or older are affected by pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), formerly known as equine Cushing’s disease. This condition results in the overproduction of stress hormones, which can have many negative effects on a horse’s body.

A pot-bellied, sway-backed, hairy horse suffering from chronic laminitis is the poster child for severe PPID. Up to 69.9% of horses with PPID show signs of hypertrichosis—excessive hair growth and abnormal shedding. Other signs of PPID include:

  • Epaxial muscle wasting, other muscle mass loss, and general weight loss.
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and anhidrosis (inability to sweat).
  • Excessive drinking and urination.
  • Lethargy and exercise intolerance.
  • Abnormal fat depositions.
  • Infertility.
  • Suspensory ligament breakdown.
  • Behavior changes.
  • Recurrent skin infections and other signs of immune dysfunction.

Despite these seemingly obvious signs, early PPID can be easily missed, meaning many affected horses go untreated.

Learn more about diagnosing, treating, and managing horses with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) in this free fact sheet.


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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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