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Managing Horses with PPID or Cushing’s Disease

Tim Ryman |

Cushing’s disease is an endocrine disorder in equines caused by a tumour that develops in the pituitary gland. This tumour, known as a pituitary adenoma causes the pituitary gland to secrete increased amounts of hormones into the body. The correct terminology for equine Cushing’s is Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID). In a healthy horse, dopamine’s released by neurons in the hypothalamus mediates the release of hormones from the pars intermedia (or intermediate lobe) of the pituitary gland. However, in horses with Cushing’s, these neurons degenerate, reducing the amount of dopamine released and resulting in pars intermedia to become more active and enlarged, over producing and releasing larger volumes of hormones.

Cushing’s can affect any horse or pony of any breed and any gender, but tends to more commonly seen in ponies and those over 15 years of age.

Clinical signs

The most prominent sign of Cushing’s is a long, curly coat that does not shed and remains all year round. Other signs of Cushing’s are:

  • Weight loss and lethargy despite normal or increased appetite
  • Loss of muscle tone particularly over the back and rump
  • Fat deposits on the crest, above the tail and behind the eyes
  • Sweating
  • Increased drinking and urination
  • Unusual bouts of laminitis
  • Recurrent infections due to suppression of the immune system.

Care of the Cushing’s horse or pony

Cushing’s can be confirmed by a blood test from your vet. Although the condition cannot be cured, it can be managed effectively with tablets and careful stable management including clipping, dentistry, weight control and nutrition.

Dentistry is important to keep the teeth in good order to ensure the horse can get the most from his feed and ensure the risk of infection from poor teeth is reduced. Teeth that are sharp, loose or missing can lead to the horse ‘quidding’ or dropping his forage, making him unable the ingest enough feed or prevent him from getting the essential nutrients from his food leading to greater weight loss. Ensuring that the Cushing’s horse or pony is being fed the right food is also very important. There are many feed companies that offer specialists feeds for veteran horses whilst minimizing the risk of laminitis. It is best to seek out professional advice from your vet or a feed company nutritionist to ensure your horse receives the right diet for his weight and condition.

The thick, long coat of the Cushing’s horse can make them overly warm and sweat, causing discomfort and distress in warmer weather. Regularly clipping the thick coat will be greatly beneficial. At Masterclip, we offer a variety of different horse clippers to ensure that your Cushing’s horse or pony keeps cool all year round. Here are our top clippers for horses or ponies with Cushing’s:

Masterclip Ranger Horse Clipper

Our mains powered Ranger horse clipper is ideal for clipping very thick, coarse coats and comes with 2 medium cut clipper blades. The Ranger has 120w motor but whilst this may sound not be as powerful as our other models, it has a faster cutting speed of 3000rpm allowing it to breeze through the thickest of coats. The Ranger is a great budget option for the horse owner who has one or two horses, and it will happily hog manes and clip feathers too. https://www.masterclip.co.uk/product-range/product/heavy-duty-horse-clippers-ranger-fast-cut-ideal-for-cobs

Hunter Horse Clipper

Our improved mains powered Hunter model now features an A2 compatible clipper head which allows for easier blade set up and tensioning. The powerful 200w motor breezes through the thickest of horse hair and the top quality Japanese steel blades stay sharper for longer compared to standard heavy duty blades. The Hunter is lighter and a little quieter than the Ranger model and is also compatible with a wider range of blades offering a greater variety of cutting depths. The Hunter is ideal for the individual owner or those that own a yard of horses for easy, hassle free clipping. https://www.masterclip.co.uk/product-range/product/heavy-duty-horse-clippers-lightweight-hunter-200w-pro-clipper

HD Roamer Cordless Clipper

A truly cordless heavy duty clipper, our HD Roamer clipper comes with 2 standard medium cut blades and 2 rechargeable batteries, offering up to 4 hours total clipping time. The HD Roamer is ideal for owners of one or two horses where access to mains power is limited. This handset is capable of breezing through thick coats, manes and feathers without the worry of horses standing on trailing cables. Find out more here: https://www.masterclip.co.uk/product-range/product/heavy-duty-horse-clippers-cordless-heavy-duty-roamer

V-series Horse Clipper and Battery Pack

Our V-series is the premium clipper in our range. This handset is very lightweight and can be used by the mains cable or semi cordless with the addition of the battery pack to offer up to 5 hours clipping time. Perfect for first time users, this clipper is so easy to use and has the added feature of the variable speed setting allowing the sound and vibration to turned down low without the loss of power to breeze through the thickest of coarse horse hair. Ideal for nervous horses or youngstock and with the battery pack, prevent horses from standing on trailing cables or can be used in yards with no access to mains power. This small, lightweight handset comes with a set of A2 top quality Japanese steel blades, but is compatible with a range of blades if a finer or coarser cut is preferred. https://www.masterclip.co.uk/product-range/product/heavy-duty-horse-clippers-v-series-clipper-and-battery-pack

For more information on our range of horse clippers view our full range on our website www.masterclip.co.uk. Not sure which clipper would best suit your individual requirements? Call our knowledgeable customer services team on 0116 2796900 or drop us an e-mail to info@masterclip.co.uk

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