Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) is a common hormone disease of older equines. A recently developed tool to allow objective assessment of quality-of-life 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. Associated clinical signs that could impact quality-of-life (QoL) include the painful hoof condition laminitis, weight loss and lethargy. Owners often mistake some of these clinical signs with those of ageing and not important enough to seek veterinary advice. Owners also face an increased care burden (time, money and physical exertion) and added mental and emotional burdens caused by affected animal requiring additional care. However, there are currently no validated equine QoL tools to allow objective assessment by veterinarians and aid decision-making related to treatment and euthanasia for PPID.

How owners can help

Has your horse/pony recently (ie: within the last month) been tested for PPID/Equine Cushing’s? Regardless of the outcome 



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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