Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), also known as equine Cushing’s disease, is a progressive, incurable hormonal disorder that affects up to 30% of older horses and ponies. This condition is associated with weight loss, frequent infections and fatal laminitis. PPID results from oxidative damage to a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, similar to Parkinson’s disease in people. Studies show some pony breeds might have altered immune system function that could cause oxidative stress and predispose them to PPID. To verify this link, researchers will study key immune-endocrine mechanisms involved in PPID development. The team also will determine if an antioxidant treatment may be helpful to slow or prevent PPID in horses. Findings will fill in knowledge gaps about this common disorder in older horses and ponies.
Grant amount awarded
University of Georgia
Kelsey Hart, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (LAIM)
Endocrine/Metabolic (Diabetes, Thyroid)