Cushing’s Characteristics, Clinical Signs at Diagnosis

Researchers confirmed some suspected patterns in PPID clinical signs and identified others they considered surprising.

No account yet? Register


Generalized or regional hypertrichosis is a common clinical sign of PPID. | Photo: Steven Grubbs, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM

If you build it they will come. This is especially true if it’s a nationwide study on equine Cushing’s disease: Veterinarians and horse owners recently enrolled nearly a thousand horses of all breeds and ages showing one or more possible recognizable characteristics of the disorder also known by its more technical name as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID). Researchers confirmed some suspected patterns and identified others they considered surprising in two scientific papers based on the data.

An enlargement of part of the horse’s pituitary gland is responsible for PPID, which causes release of a variety of hormones that upset the horse’s metabolic balance. The condition advances with age, so it’s best to catch and treat it early. However catching it early can be more difficult than it might sound, so veterinarians are digging for the simplest, most effective ways to identify PPID.

Steve Grubbs, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. (BIVI), in St. Joseph, Missouri, and colleagues conducted the PPID epidemiological study, and Grubbs presented results at the recent 2015 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, held June 3-6 in Indianapolis, Indiana

Create a free account with to view this content. is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

When do you begin to prepare/stock up on products/purchase products for these skin issues?
85 votes · 85 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!