Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pergolide: Before & After

Pergolide is a medication given daily to manage the symptoms of Equine Cushing's Disease. Cushing's disease is the result of overproduction of cortisol by the body. This has a dramatic impact on a number of body symptoms. The most common being an excessively long hair coat that does not shed out. Affected horses also tend to have regional fat distribution. They tend to deposit excessive amounts of fat in the neck, around the base of the tail, in the sheath and behind the eyes. All of that gives them a cresty necked, bug eyed appearance with what looks like a swollen sheath (at least in the geldings). Affected horses also tend to develop a 'pot-bellied' appearance or 'hay belly.' The most serious consequences of the disease is a strong propensity toward the devlepment of laminitis and dental disease. Pergolide has come to be the most common and most effective treatment we have to date for the management of this diesase.

Here are a couple of pictures that a client graciously shared with us. These pictures demonstrate how some of the symptoms of this disease have been suppressed through the use of pergolide.

Here is what this horse looked like prior to starting daily pergolide.

Here is a picture of the same horse, one year later, after being treated with pergolide.

Cushing's Disease is a very common disease of middle aged and older horses. If you think your horse might be affected, be sure to talk to your regular veterinarian about what can be done both to diagnose and treat this conditon.

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