Does Freezing PPID Test Samples Impact the Results?

Results from a study on a small population of horses suggest that freezing samples for short periods before testing won’t impact the results.
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Freezing PPID test samples
Vets have a few PPID testing options, the most common of which is measuring horses' blood ACTH levels, which tend to be elevated in affected horses. | Photo: Alexandra Beckstett/The Horse

It wasn’t long ago that veterinarians diagnosed pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, previously known as equine Cushing’s disease) based solely on clinical signs. But as their understanding of the disease progressed, so did the diagnostic protocols and tests.

Today, vets have a few PPID testing options, the most common of which is measuring horses’ levels of adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH), which tend to be elevated in affected horses.

This hormone, however, is fragile in whole blood samples, meaning its levels can fluctuate if not handled carefully, said John Haffner, DVM, an associate professor at Middle Tennessee State University, in Murfreesboro

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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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