Current Diagnostic Options for PPID

A two-tier series of tests can help equine practitioners confirm a PPID diagnosis, one veterinarian said.
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Veterinarians can typically diagnose a horse with late-stage pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, or equine Cushing’s disease) easily. Diagnosing early stage PPID and, thus, allowing treatment to begin earlier in the course of the disease, remains more challenging. Fortunately, research is ongoing and more reliable diagnostic tests are being developed.

At the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 17-21 in Las Vegas, Nev., Hal Schott II, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, professor of equine medicine at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, described the current diagnostic options for PPID.

PPID Basics

Schott first reviewed PPID, a disease caused by an enlargement of the pars intermedia of the pituitary gland (the central part of the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain) that affects all breeds and types of horses. Many affected horses are older than 20; however, the disease has been recognized in some younger horses, as well. There’s no gender predilection

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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