This week’s warming weather is a reminder that Summer Solstice (June 21) is around the corner! The longer days mean our Central Oregon horses should almost be done trading in their winter fuzzies for sleek summer coats.
But what if your horse isn’t shedding normally?
In horses, long hair coats (hirsutism), slow shedding, and irregular shedding patterns are common clinical signs associated with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, or equine Cushing’s disease). PPID is caused by a tumor of the pituitary gland in the brain and is often considered a senior horse disease. However, researchers have found horses can start showing signs even before reaching their teen years. While irregular shedding and shaggy coats are hallmarks of PPID, other potential clinical signs can include:
• Behavioral changes, including lethargy and reduced performance;
• Loss of topline;
• Regional adiposity (fat deposits), especially on the neck crest, above the eyes, or along the tailhead;
• Frequent hoof abscesses;
• Increased thirst;
• Excessive urination; and
If your horse hasn’t shed out normally this spring or is showing other signs related to PPID, please consider scheduling an appointment with us. While PPID has no cure, early diagnosis, nutritional management, and treatment with an FDA-approved drug called Prascend can help reduce serious complications, such as laminitis.