Spillers, together with international collaborators, are continuing to share their latest research on Pars Pituitary Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) to help improve the nutrition management of senior horses with the condition.

PPID, also known as Cushing’s syndrome, is a common condition in older horses and ponies. Clinical signs of PPID may include delayed coat shedding and a long curly coat as well as loss of muscle mass and weight loss (although PPID sufferers can also be overweight or obese), abnormal fat deposition, and depression or lethargy. Some PPID animals may be at increased risk of suffering from laminitis, especially if they also have insulin dysregulation.

As part of a major international project to improve the early diagnosis, care and nutritional management of PPID, the makers of Spillers, via the Waltham Equine Studies Group, together with collaborators led by PhD Student Dr Nicolas Galinelli from The University of Melbourne, Australia, have recently presented on an international survey of feeding practices among owners of horses with PPID.

The results have shown different management practices between the UK, Australia and the USA and just over 10% of respondents were not feeding any complementary feed or supplements, just forage. Although laminitis was a major concern when choosing a diet for a PPID horse, grain-based complementary feed was still selected by 15% of owners in this group.  This highlights the need for practical information on the most suitable ways to feed the PPID horse.

Spillers Equine Clinical Nutrition Specialist Pat Harris is continuing to spread the word about the latest research on PPID and nutrition management. She co-presented a webinar on care and management of the older horse for World Horse Welfare at the beginning of the year, and has also recently presented a paper at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Forum on feeding the PPID horse.

Spillers, part of Mars Incorporated, is also associated with a new centre for aged horse research, at the University of Kentucky in the USA. The Linda Mars Aged Horse Care and Education Facility has been made possible with Support from philanthropist and avid horsewoman Linda Mars.

“We are proud to be able to help benefit the lives of senior horses in the UK and around the world, not only with our ground-breaking research projects but also with the new Linda Mars Aged Horse Care and Education Facility,” said Spillers Product Manager Sarah Nelson. “We are extremely fortunate to be a part of Mars Incorporated, which enables us to remain at the forefront of equine nutritional science.”

Lead image by Sarah Shephard 

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