Research has found that one third of laminitic horses have Cushing’s disease, and that, despite the condition being perceived as an affliction of older equines, horses and ponies aged 10 and 15 are also frequently affected.

Vets are being urged to test laminitic or foot-sore horses for Cushing’s disease after research collected by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica revealed that one third of laminitic middle age horses have the disease.

Research from Boehringer has revealed that one third of middle-aged laminitic horses suffer from Cushing's diseaseIn the data – collected following the company’s ‘Talk About Laminitis‘ spring campaign – more than 3,100 horses tested positive for the disease (also known as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, or PPID), which is caused by an increased level of cortisol in the horse’s system.

“The common perception is that PPID is a disease of only older horses and ponies, said Liz Barrett, equine sales and marketing manager at Boehringer. “[However], the ageing process is progressive and this data from over 330 participating veterinary practices indicates that horses and ponies in the 10 to 15 age bracket also frequently have the disease.”

The company believes vets should test more laminitic horses for Cushing’s this autumn, as this is when there is a greater difference between horses with the disease and those without, making it easier to detect. Helping vets to do this, the company is going to run another ‘Talk About Laminitis’ campaign during September, which is complemented by free ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) tests.

Adding clout to Boehringer’s claims is Catherine McGowan, director of equine professional studies at the University of Liverpool’s equine hospital, who said: “It is very important to test horses for PPID the first time they present with laminitis because what we want to avoid is recurrence of that laminitis. If it does reoccur, the damage will be worse and the chances of that horse having a successful long-term recovery will be diminished.”

To participate in Boehringer’s next laminitis campaign, head to to download the free ACTH blood test vouchers. Attach the voucher to the ACTH sample submission form and the laboratory fees will be free of charge.

You can also visit the site for more information on laminitis and PPID.

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