Welcome to our guide on PPID in horses

More than 20% of all horses over the age of 15 develop Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction – PPID.

Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction – PPID

Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), commonly known as Equine Cushing’s Syndrome, is a condition that primarily affects older horses. This hormonal imbalance in the pituitary gland can impact various aspects of your horse’s health and well-being. On this page, you will find everything you need to know about the symptoms, diagnosis, management, and prognosis for horses with PPID.


What is PPID?

PPID is a disease of the pituitary gland, which is part of the brain. This disorder leads to an imbalance in the production of certain hormones, which can have extensive effects on a horse’s health. For more detailed information, see our article on PPID in horses.

Early signs and symptoms of PPID in horses

Detecting PPID early can be crucial for effectively managing the disease. Here are some of the most common symptoms you should be aware of:

Symptomer på PPID

Long and curly coat:

A common symptom of PPID is a long and curly coat that doesn’t shed – initially, the coat may only grow on the lower jaw and other parts of the limbs. Over time, the horse can develop more and more coat, and the color of the coat may change.

Hvad er PPID?

Poor mood:

PPID is a disease of the pituitary gland, which is part of the brain. Therefore, the disease also affects various substances and hormones, one of which is dopamine. Just like in humans, a lack of dopamine in horses affects their mood, and a symptom of PPID can be that your horse appears depressed.

PPID hos heste

Weight loss:

Weight loss is common in horses with PPID. In addition to actual weight loss, the horse loses muscle mass, especially in the hindquarters. Weight loss is one of the signs that can be difficult for you as a horse owner to notice. This is because weak and stretched abdominal muscles often mean that the belly continues to look round, thus masking the weight loss.



Fatigue and poor performance often affect horses with PPID, which may become overly calm and even more pain-tolerant than healthy horses.

Diagnostic methods

Obtaining an accurate diagnosis of PPID is essential for offering the best treatment. Veterinarians use a combination of physical examination and specific tests to identify the disease. It is important to have regular health checks, especially for older horses, as early diagnosis can make a significant difference in managing the disease.


Treatment and management of PPID

Effective management of PPID involves a combination of medical treatment, proper care, and adapted feeding. Here are some key strategies:

  • Medical treatment: Medical treatment can help control the disease.
  • Care and maintenance: Regular clipping of the coat and correction of teeth are crucial, especially for managing symptoms like increased coat growth and weight loss.
  • Adapted feeding: Avoiding high carbohydrate feed and choosing nutritionally balanced feed can help maintain the horse’s overall health and well-being.

Prognosis for horses with PPID

With proper management and regular veterinary monitoring, horses with PPID can continue to have a good quality of life. It is important to maintain an open dialogue with your veterinarian and follow recommendations closely to ensure the best outcome for your horse. For further details on the treatment and care of horses with PPID, visit our article on PPID in horses.


Schott, H. C. (2002). Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction: equine Cushing’s disease. Veterinary Clinics: Equine Practice, 18(2), 237-270.