Treating Equine Cushing's disease

Treatment is simple

Horse at early stage of treatment for PPID
Horse at early stage of treatment for PPID

Although there is no cure for Equine Cushing's disease, appropriate medication and good routine healthcare can keep your horse healthy and fit.

Medical treatment

Your veterinary surgeon can prescribe a lifelong daily tablet in order to treat the symptoms associated with Equine Cushing's disease, including laminitis. It is recommended that your horse has a follow-up blood test 4-6 weeks after starting this treatment to check that their ACTH levels are within normal limits, and that your vet carries out a twice-yearly review of your horse to ensure that the medication dose is correct. Horses with this disease will require life-long treatment and check-ups, but in most cases treatment will ensure that your horse lives a comfortable and happy life with the symptoms of this disease well managed.

Other management tips

  • Regularly checking your horses body fat score and weight is very helpful in tracking any changes to diet or exercise that your vet may recommend to further reduce your horse's laminitis risk, as well as monitoring the response to treatment (you should see an improvement in your horse's top line and fat distribution once they are on Cushing's medication).
  • It is beneficial to regularly check the fit of your horse's saddle because changes in their topline caused by Equine Cushing's disease and its treatment can affect this.
  • If your horse has suffered from laminitis it is important to follow your farrier's advice on shoeing and hoofcare in order to optimise the return of the hooves to normal. 
  • If your horse has shown signs of abnormal shedding then regular grooming can be helpful.

Routine healthcare

Most horses and ponies with Equine Cushing's disease are older than 15 when they are diagnosed and so they may have other age-related conditions as well. A good programme of routine preventative health care can be a great help in managing a horse with Cushing's. This should include:

  • Pro-active worm counts and appropriate worming,
  • Dentistry,
  • Routine foot care (especially for laminitics)
  • High quality, balanced, diet.