What is PPID?
PPID stands for pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, but many people refer to it as equine Cushing's disease. Whatever you choose to call it, PPID is one of the most common diseases of the hormonal (endocrine) system that can affect your horse or pony.1 In fact, PPID affects as many as 1 in 7 horses and ponies over 15 years of age.2
PPID causes the horse's pituitary gland, which sends out hormones to control body functions, to work overtime. This can lead to a variety of problems for your horse, ranging from unexplained laminitis (lameness) to an abnormal hair coat to getting fat in unusual places, like around the eyes.
About PPID (equine Cushing's disease)
PPID affects both male and female horses, and no breed is spared! Although it's most common in older horses and ponies, PPID has been seen in horses as young as 7 years of age.3,4 Because the disease progresses slowly, early signs of PPID can be hard to spot. Sometimes, we may think our horses are just getting older or are having a few off days, when they really have a hidden condition that's causing them not to be themselves. Also, tests to diagnose PPID are not perfect, so it is possible to miss the disease until it reaches advanced stages and the horse shows more obvious signs.
You can help a lot by watching for early signs of PPID and asking your veterinarian to look deeper if you spot any of them. If PPID is caught early, special care and regular treatment can help reduce disease signs and keep your horse healthy and happy.