CUSHING'S DISEASE AND LAMINITIS--NOT JUST OLD (OR EXTRA HAIRY) HORSES

Hirsutism, or abnormal hairiness, is a common clinical observation in Cushing's horses, but Mark T. Donaldson, VMD, Dipl. ACVIM, of the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, emphasized that horses with normal coats can be affected. He confirmed this in a study he completed recently after testing every laminitic horse in his care over six years. Only 17.9% of Cushing's horses in the study had a long hair coat; 1/5 of the Cushing's horses showed no visible clinical signs of the disease at all.

Donaldson found that the most common clinical signs in the Cushing's horses were abnormal body fat distribution, cresty necks, bulging supraorbital fossas (excess fat above the eyes), and fat deposits over the hindquarters, and provided the images below as examples:

LSU facilities

Abnormal body fat distribution.

Cushing's horse eyes

Bulging supraorbital fossas.

Cushing's horse neck

Neck and ribs of a Cushing's horse.

Cushing's horse ribs

 

Fat deposits over the hindquarters.

IMAGES COURTESY MARK T. DONALDSON, VMD, DIPL. ACVIM