Above: a horse shows common signs of Cushings disease, including the telltale long coat that does not shed. Horse owners report a rapid improvement of the appearance of horses when they receive pergolide as a medication for Cushings disease. Photo courtesy Dr. Christian Bingold and the hoofcare.com web site.
A proactive horse owner in Pennsylvania has pleaded her case for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) release of the Parkinson's disease drug "pergolide" for equine veterinary use by enlisting the power of the broadcast media. Horseowner Judy Amick and her veterinarian were interviewed for a story that ran on the 5:00 news yesterday on WJAC-TV6, the NBC affiliate in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Pergolide is widely used to medicate horses suffering with Cushings disease. Many people credit oral pergolide medication with controlling their horses' Cushings symptoms, especially the periodic low-grade laminitis that is a common side effect of the disease.
Recently, pergolide was removed from the US drug market by the FDA because of side effects experienced by human users.
Horse owners say that their horses have no side effects, and that the drug is actually keeping horses alive that would have to be euthanized without the drug.
Click on this link to watch a clip from the segment: http://www.wjactv.com/news/13288711/detail.html?rss=john&psp=news
The withdrawal of pergolide has been a call to arms for Pennsylvania veterinary expert and author Eleanor Kellon VMD. She is the resident medication expert on the 5000-member "Cushings list" discussion group on Yahoo.com. The discussion group helps support owners of horses with Cushings or insulin resistance problems.
To mobilize horse owners to take action in the pergolide situation, Kellon has launched a blog designed to give details on the drug's political battles, and to give owners resources for letterwriting and petitions.
Click on this link to go to the new blog: http://pergolideaction.blogspot.com/
"This site has been started to keep (people) current on the latest information in the fight to keep pergolide available for our horses," Kellon writes of the new blog. "There is at present no viable alternative to pergolide to control Cushing's Disease (PPID) or to stave off the debilitating, often painful and life-threatening side effects of this disease."
Kellon encourages horse owners to sign the "Save Pergolide" petition, and use the site's links to write to federal and state officials, elected representatives, equine veterinarian associations, state horse councils and groups.