Seasonal Care

Equine Cushing’s Disease, more correctly called Pars Pituitary Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), is a non-cancerous but progressive enlargement of the pituitary gland in the horse. It is estimated that 20 percent of horses over the age of 15 will develop PPID. Note that Cushing’s Syndrome in humans and dogs (when not due to giving too much steroidal medication) involves an actual tumour of either the pituitary or the adrenal glands, (either benign or malignant), whereas Cushing’s Disease in horses has a different cause.

Horse owners are familiar with the tragic pictures shared on social media of the emaciated horse rescued by the authorities, or the one that could not be saved due to its poor condition. Malnourished horses are a reality even in our affluent Western world. Sometimes these horses are the result of well-intentioned people trying to “save” unwanted horses, only to find they are unable to do so because of cost or scarcity of feed.

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Skipped Beats, Sudden Death… and Why We Shouldn’t Worry Too Much. When you first start examining patients as a veterinary student, you’re very keen to (gently) poke and prod every animal you come across. Realizing you can assess cardiovascular function by palpating peripheral pulses is very empowering!

Donkeys are not well suited to cold, wet environments and need extra protection in the winter, new research has found. The findings have been incorporated into the UK's updated Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Code of Practice for the welfare of horses, ponies, donkeys and their hybrids.

Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and Equine Cushing’s Disease (also known as Pars Pituitary Intermedia Dysfunction, or PPID) are reasonably common conditions we encounter in our horses. This article will deal primarily with EMS, but because PPID can be a cause of increased insulin levels in horses, it needs to be mentioned as well.

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It’s been a gruelling season but the end is in sight. Looking back, training camp seems so long ago, so many months of hard work, of getting in shape. Last season certainly took its toll on the team. Coaches, trainers, and even the owner commented on the past year’s success and the hard work that went into it.

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When you have finally found the perfect horse to take you to the winner’s circle, it’s tough to realize that he or she might be getting old. Many horses are now competing well into their late teens and early twenties, especially in certain disciplines such as dressage or show jumping where it takes many years of training to reach an elite level of competition. However, from a veterinary perspective, horses are considered geriatric as they reach the age of 15 to 20 years, which is when their physiological functions start to decline. The management of these horses becomes crucial to keep them competing at their best.

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