Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) is a common hormone disease of older equines. This project developed a tool to allow objective assessment of quality-of-life and is now being used in a longitudinal study of affected animals.


Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) is a common disease of older equines affecting >25% of animals over the age of 15 years. It has various associated clinical signs that could impact quality-of-life (QoL) including the painful hoof condition laminitis, weight loss and lethargy. Owners frequently mistake some of these clinical signs as being associated with ageing and not important enough to seek veterinary advice. Additionally, owners face increased physical care burden (time, money and physical exertion), along with increased emotional burden such as a changed mental state caused by affected animal encountering challenges that require additional care. However, there are no validated equine QoL tools to allow objective assessment by veterinarians and aid decision-making related to treatment and euthanasia for PPID.


We have recently developed a novel health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) tool to aid assessment of equines with PPID and to evaluate factors that impact upon animals with this disease following a standard psychometric process of item identification, selection, and refinement.

Laminitis occurs in approximately 50% of equines with PPID and is the clinical sign anecdotally perceived to have the greatest impact on QoL. Pergolide is prescribed for the treatment of PPID, but its effect on laminitis frequency and QoL has not been assessed.

We are now undertaking a two-year longitudinal cohort study including UK equines newly diagnosed with PPID that are or are not being treated with pergolide. Owners will be asked to complete a standardised online questionnaire every 3 months which will include assessment of the animal’s QoL using the developed HRQoL tool and recording of details relating to the clinical signs associated with PPID as well as any additional veterinary-related problems. Repeated direct validation visits to a subset of animals will be undertaken.


The results from the research will impact the veterinary profession as well as horse owners and care-givers both in the UK and Worldwide.


Imogen Schofield and Edward Knowles at CVS
CVS have provided the funding for the project

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