Endocrine and Metabolic diseases are increasingly common (or increasingly recognized) in our equine patients. Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (Equine Cushing's) and Equine Metabolic Syndrome (Insulin Resistance) are the most commonly diagnosed diseases of this type.
Recently, there have been significant advancements in the available tests for Equine Cushing's Disease (also known as PPID) and Equine Metabolic Syndrome (also known as "insulin resistance"). We're proud to offer you the most up-to-date tests for these common conditions.
(Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction)
PPID, or Equine Cushing's, commonly affects horses horses >15 years of age. The disease is caused by hyperplasia (growth) of the pituitary gland, which produces many biologically active hormones. Clinical signs may include poor performance, delayed shedding in the spring, pot-bellied appearance, poor topline, tendon weakness, recurring infections (rain rot, scratches, hoof abscesses), laminitis, and more. Older testing methods (baseline ACTH levels and/or overnight dex suppression testing) lack sensitivity and are prone to missing the diagnosis. We now offer the newest, most accurate test to diagnose PPID: the TRH stimulation test. This test requires only 10 minutes to complete and involves drawing two blood samples, one "pre" administration of the TRH hormone and one "post" administration. Positive horses will show elevation of the ACTH levels at 10 minutes post-administration of TRH. This test is MUCH more accurate than previous testing methods! Once diagnosed, Equine Cushing's can be successfully treated with medication!
Equine Metabolic Syndrome ("Insulin Resistance")
Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS), or insulin resistance, is similar to type-2 diabetes in humans. These horses' cells have lost the ability to adequately respond to insulin. Affected horses are commonly overweight, or have "cresty" necks. Some horses may appear normal. The most devastating problem associated with EMS is the development of laminitis. If a horse is suspected to be suffering from this condition, timely diagnosis and a diet change just might save his life! The newest and most accurate method to diagnose EMS involves blood sampling after administration of corn syrup. The horse will need to be fasted for a few hours prior to testing.
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