In the last 5 years research into the understanding of the cause of laminitis has improved dramatically.
It has been proven that 90% of laminitis cases have an underlying hormonal cause.
Three hormonal conditions known as PPID (Pars Pituitary Intermedia Dysfunction AKA Equine Cushing’s), EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome) and IR (Insulin Resistance) have a complicated interplay which increases an individual horses’ risk of developing laminitis.
It is now thought that over 20% of horses over the age of 15 have PPID.
PPID is a hormonal disease caused by changes in a gland at the base of the brain called the pituitary.
In horse and ponies with PPID the pituitary is not regulated effectively and produces too much of a hormone called ACTH, amongst others. The clinical signs are likely to be associated with these elevated hormone levels but the exact link has not yet been proven.
Up until a few years ago it was thought that only old, shaggy ponies had Cushsing’s, but actually there are a variety of, sometimes subtle, clinical signs that can be present singularly, or in any combination in equines suffering from PPID.
1. Recurrent laminitis (Horses and ponies with uncontrolled PPID have a 15% higher risk of developing laminitis than those that do not have the condition).
2. Hypertrichosis (abnormal hair coat – delayed shedding in early stages, long, curly coat in later stages)
3. Abnormal fat distribution
4. Fat pads above the eyes
5. Excessive or patchy sweating
6. Increased drinking and urination
7. Lethargy/poor performance
8. Recurrent infections
As you can see from this list the symptoms are far ranging and if your horse or pony is suffering from even one of these they could have PPID.
Diagnosis of PPID is usually very simple and based on the results of a blood test measuring resting ACTH levels.
Currently Boehriger Ingleheim, in conjunction with Liphook equine hospital, are running the Talk About Laminitis scheme. If you go to their website, www.talkaboutlaminitis.co.uk, you are able to download a voucher code 9 until the end of October 2017) which entitles you to a free blood test* for any horses or ponies that have not previously tested positive for PPID or have had a borderline line result in the past and have not yet started treatment.
You will also be entered into their Care and Connect Scheme where you can download a free information booklet and get e-mailed reminders of when your horse or pony’s next blood sample is due if needed.
If you would like to book in for a blood test please call Penmellyn’s equine department on 01637 880307 ext 2 and Speak to Sam or Sarah, or if you would like to speak to one of our equine team for more information Ruth Varcoe, Hannes Tanzer, Jenny Fanning or Julie Elkins would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
*Visit, blood sampling and P&P fees apply