First Drug to Treat Cushings Disease in Horses

Horse in Stable

The FDA announced approval of the drug Prascend to treat the clinical signs in horses with Equine Cushing’s Disease. In horses, Cushing’s Disease is known as Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID).

According to the findings of a recent study by Australian and United Kingdom researchers, PPID usually affects horses above the age of 15. Older horses are at higher risk . Cushing’s Disease is often unrecognized because weight loss and sway back were thought to be simply signs of aging.

In a 6 month field study, safety and effectiveness of the drug was successful in 86 of 113 horses treated. Common adverse effects of Prascend were poor appetite, lameness, diarrhea, colic and lethargy.

Prascend is manufactured for Boebringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. of St.Joseph, Missouri.


Researchers and veterinarians, part of the Equine Endochrinology Group (EEG) have discovered a faster way to determine PPID in horses. The group recommends, in addition to the ACTH test, a thyrotropen-releasing hormone (TRH) test which causes the pituitary gland to release more hormones and ACTH concentrations increase to a higher level in horses with PPID.

Research is ongoing to improve diagnosis and management of these conditions.

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