Cushing’s disease is considered one of the most commonly diagnosed endocrine disorders of horses, but just how common is the disease internationally?

Cushing’s disease is considered one of the most commonly diagnosed endocrine disorders of horses — especially as the equine population continues to age. But just how common is the disease internationally?
 
Dr James Carmalt. Photo: David Stobbe.This is one of the questions that researchers at the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) are addressing through a 16-question survey of international equine practitioners. The online survey, launched in January 2012, is available online for the next six months.
 
James Carmalt, an equine surgeon and associate professor in the WCVM’s department of large animal clinical sciences, said: “Our objective is to determine the true prevalence of Cushing’s disease worldwide, because until now, previous surveys were only based in the US.”
 
Dr Carmalt and his colleagues will use practitioners’ responses to the brief survey to determine the incidence of the disease and the most common treatment protocols being used by practitioners around the world. They also want to evaluate the need for developing new treatment methodologies
 
Dr Carmalt said: “Right now, the only available treatment for Cushing’s disease requires daily dosing of medications for the rest of the horse’s life. It’s onerous, time consuming and a huge management challenge.
 
“If the responses from this survey reflect our impression that practitioners need a new option to offer their clients, our ultimate goal is to develop a one-time treatment for the disease so daily medications for Cushing’s disease become unnecessary.”

 

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