Each year equine veterinarians attending the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention flock by the thousands to one of the meeting’s headline events: the Kester News Hour. Stephen Reed, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., presented a summary of many recent practical and applicable equine medicine studies to a packed audience at the 2012 convention, held Dec. 1-5 in Anaheim, Calif.

Endocrinology, Metabolic Syndrome, and Laminitis

First, Reed addressed a commonly diagnosed disease in older horses: pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), which is often referred to as equine Cushing’s disease. He reported on a retrospective study in which researchers examined the medical records of 217 horses diagnosed with PPID from three veterinary teaching hospitals from 1993 to 2004. Notably, there was a proportional increase in PPID diagnoses from 2.5 per 1,000 horses in 1993 to 3.72 horses per 1,000 in 2002.

The most common findings veterinarians noted in these horses were hirsutism (excessive hairiness) in 84% and laminitis in 50%. In most cases the time from the onset of clinical signs to diagnosis was 180 days. Reed noted that about half of the horses diagnosed with PPID survived 4 ½ years following a confirmed diagnosis. Treatment success varied with the medication: a combination of cyproheptadine and compounded pergolide yielded 60% success; pergolide alone resulted in 40% success; and cyproheptadine alone in 29% success. These medications were all that were available prior to the FDA approval of pergolide (Prascend, released in December 2011).