Feeding PPID Horses

white-ppid-horse-grazineIn the fall, measuring a horses adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels is often used as a diagnostic tool for pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, also known as equine Cushing’s disease). It peaks between mid-August to mid-October as part of the metabolic preparation for winter and results in levels anywhere up to about three times those found at other times of the year. It used to be thought that this made early fall a poor time of year to use ACTH levels as a diagnostic tool. However, in recent years, research has shown that horses with PPID have a seasonal rise that is even higher than unaffected horses. Contrary to previous belief this might in fact make fall a good time of year to test due to the potential for a more profound response to the seasonal ACTH rise in horses with PPID.

Disease Overview

The pituitary tumors associated with PPID influences the adrenal glands to release cortisol, a stress-related hormone. Cortisol plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and helps to balance the effects of insulin in the breakdown of sugar for energy. It is a vitally important hormone; however, when elevated for extended periods, as in the case of high circulating ACTH, high cortisol levels could have some negative consequences. These include inducing a degree of insulin resistance (IR), muscle wasting, a pot-belly appearance, immune deficiency, and an increased susceptibility to infections.

You horse’s elevated insulin level might be the result of the effects of the elevated ACTH on cortisol levels due to PPID. Of course some horses have high levels of circulating insulin indicative of IR without having PPID. But in horses with PPID, especially those not considered to be at risk of IR, IR is commonly the result of the PPID.  read more…


Plant-Based Treatment for Equine Melanoma


A new, plant-based anti-cancer treatment is showing promising signs in horses with melanoma, German researchers have learned.

Betulinic acid, already used for treating human melanomas, could become an effective and safer alternative for treating equine melanoma compared to traditional chemotherapies, said Reinhard Paschke, PhD, Prof. Dr. habil., of Martin Luther University, in Halle, Germany.

Betulinic acid comes from the bark of white birch and similar trees. It attacks cancer cells by breaking down the membranes of the mitochondria—the cell’s “energy factory.” If a cancer cell’s mitochondria malfunctions, it lacks energy and, therefore, will die.

Paschke said he decided to test betulinic acid on equine melanomas when the owner of a gray horse contacted him after reading his research on melanoma treatment in dogs two years ago. read more…

Gastric Ulcers in Horses

I great article in Causes, Prevention and Treatment.

horseGastric ulcers in horses are far more common than many people realize. The condition is very often found in horses kept in stalls, frequently trailered, or undergoing intensive training. The associated anxiety, in addition to artificial and controlled feeding routines alien to a horse’s natural grazing patterns, may put the animal under varying levels of stress. ….

Researchers have found that exercise increases gastric acid production and decreases blood flow to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. During exercise, the fluid in the lower segment of the stomach, where gastric acid is secreted, splashes and exposes the more vulnerable upper segment of the stomach to an acidic pH.

With an increase in exercise, training, and a demanding competition schedule, riders may sometimes change feeding routines, perhaps switching to more fasting and offering less roughage. That can put a horse on a path to developing an ulcer. In addition, the stress of trailering, competing, and adjusting to strange surroundings can add to the risk of ulcer development.

But to better understand gastric ulcers it is first necessary to understand the workings of the horse’s stomach. read more…

Shop for Equine Digestive & Immune products here…



Horse vaccination for West Nile virus


Due to the rise in temperatures and mosquito populations, Utah horse owners are being advised to vaccinate their horses to protect them from the West Nile virus.

Data show that 80 percent of cases in horses occur during August and September. The virus is spread by mosquitos and can affect both humans and animals.

“(The virus) is a reportable disease and is part of our statewide information and alert system designed to protect animal and human health,” Barry Pittman, state veterinarian, said in a prepared statement. “Our Animal Health Program is part of a regional and national notification system designed to prevent the spread of diseases that affect livestock and the human population. Any equine with (the virus) would be prevented from traveling across state lines,” he added.

Mosquito monitoring for West Nile continues throughout the state and is ongoing throughout peak months. To date, no human or animal cases of West Nile virus have been reported, but laboratory test results confirm the presence of mosquitoes carrying the virus in the Vernal area. read more…

What Supplements Do Eventing and Dressage Horses Consume?



Eventers ranked stamina and fitness (43.9%), lameness (41.9%), and energy levels and behavior (37.1%) as their top three horse health or performance concerns.


Key findings regarding supplement use included:

  • The most frequently reported reasons for feeding supplements to dressage horses were to improve joint health and mobility (78.4%), vitamin and mineral status (46.1%), and behavior (45.9%);
  • The most frequently reported reasons for feeding supplements to eventing horses were to improve electrolyte status (70.5%), joint health and mobility (68.9%), and behavior (43.9%);
  • Both dressage and eventing owners listed joint supplements as the most important in their feeding program (57%);
  • Many owners listed behavior and energy levels as the most important concern for their top performance horses, but most did not use a supplement specifically for behavior; and
  • The vast majority of owners in both groups reported that they feel the supplements they used to target a specific health concern did make a difference in their horses (96.8%).

read more…

Shop here for Equine Health products