In some horses, Equine Cushings Disease or PPID has clear external signs, such as a long haircoat that doesn't shed. These horses may need to be clipped several times a year. But in other horses, the signs may be very subtle. Laminitis is often associated with PPID. (Fran Jurga photo)
Everyone who has ever had a horse with Cushing's disease has stories to tell. There were months--maybe years--of efforts to get the right diagnosis, to find the ideal medication level, to manage the feet ravaged by repeated low-grade laminitis, to balance the feed: It's a challenge to sort out the symptoms and keep the horse healthy.
Equine Cushings Disease, now technically called Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), is a problem that affects many middle-aged and older horses in North America. Many horses live with it and are never diagnosed until laminitis, one of the condition's dreaded side effects, strikes.
Then, and only then, does the horse owner learn that many little signs along the way were pointing to a metabolic problem in the horse. But those little signs are not always very obvious in some horses. In other horses, they are immediately recognizable, such as when a horse's coat doesn't shed out, or the horse urinates excessively and you notice a different smell in that stall.
Luckily, it is possible to monitor a horse's hormone levels to check for the possible presence of PPID problems. The hormone ACTH, produced by the pituitary gland in the brain, can be measured by a variety of tests performed by a veterinarian, who may also check insulin levels at the same time.
In this NRHA video, the difference between Cushings (PPID) and Equine Metabolic Syndrome (insulin resistance) are explained by Todd Holbrook, DVM, DACVIM, DACVSMR, Associate Professor and Equine Section Chief at Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Joe Carter.
Horses who are unlucky enough to have a diagnosis of PPID are lucky enough to have a medication that can help them now. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.'s Prascend® (pergolide mesylate) became widely available in the USA last year, and many horses have been benefiting.
If you or someone you know has been using Prascend successfully as a PPID treatment, it's time to share the news.
Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) has announced the launch of the Barn Buzz Testimonial Contest for horse owners. The contest is targeted toward owners of horses diagnosed with PPID who have had successful treatment results with PRASCEND.
“We’ve heard amazing stories of how PRASCEND has helped PPID horses since it was launched,” says Dwana Neal, BIVI brand manager, equine pharmaceuticals. “We would like horse owners to share those stories with us for a chance to win some great prizes.”
Here's how the contest works:
- Horse owners can visit www.buzzinthebarn.com to share their horses’ success stories for a chance to win. The contest entries will be received between May 1 - July 31, 2014, with the winners contacted on or before August 30, 2014.
- Three runners-up and one grand-prize winner will be chosen by an internal panel blinded to the veterinarians, owners, and horse identities.
- Winners will be chosen based on the evaluation of written history and before and after photos.
- Runners-up will receive a six-month supply of PRASCEND, dispensed through their veterinarian, and a care package for their horse.
- The grand-prize winner receives runner-up prizes plus an exclusive photo shoot with their horse and a featured role in a national advertisement.
- The attending veterinarians of the four finalists will receive prizes for their clinics as well.
“We are excited to hear the many success stories that we know are out there just based on anecdotal information we’ve received over the years,” says Neal.
“But we also know that there may still be many horses out there that have not been diagnosed. Through this contest we hope to raise awareness of PPID and encourage owners to speak with their veterinarians if they suspect a problem.”
“Subtle changes can often be some of the earliest warning signs,” says Steve Grubbs, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, BIVI equine technical manager. “Changes in attitude, decreased athletic performance, patches of longer or lighter hair in the summer can indicate there is a problem.”
PRASCEND is the first and only FDA-approved drug for treatment of PPID in horses. If you think your horse may have PPID, talk to your veterinarian.
To enter the Barn Buzz Testimonial Contest, visit www.prascend.com.
Important safety information: PRASCEND is for use in horses only. Treatment with PRASCEND may cause loss of appetite. Most cases are mild. Weight loss, lack of energy and behavioral changes may also be observed. If severe, a temporary dose reduction may be necessary. PRASCEND has not been evaluated in breeding, pregnant or lactating horses and may interfere with reproductive hormones in these horses. PRASCEND Tablets should not be crushed due to the potential for increased human exposure.
McGowan TW, Hodgson DR, McGowan CM, “The Prevalence of Equine Cushing’s Syndrome in Aged Horses.” Proceedings from the 25th American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum; June 6-9, 2007; Seattle, WA, Abstract 603.
PRASCEND is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica GmbH, licensed to Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. ©2014 Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.
Information for the Prascend portion of this article was provided by Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.