The return of autumn brings with it an increased risk of laminitis related to Cushing’s disease, which is technically known as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID). Each fall, the blood levels of ACTH, the hormone involved in Cushing’s, increase as a horse’s body prepares for winter, compounding the hormonal imbalances already found in the condition. In fact, if the risk of laminitis doubles for healthy horses in the fall, it quadruples for those with Cushing’s. So protect your horse just as you would in the spring, using a muzzle or putting him on dry lot to limit his intake of lush pasture.
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #444.