Feeding the Special Needs Horse – PPID vs EMS

When you have a horse with metabolic problems it is important to not just treat the obvious symptoms but also think about other underlying issues that might be occurring. And to do that, it’s important to start with a proper diagnosis. The only solution for metabolic diseases is to remove the cause so that metabolism can normalise on all the different levels. So to that end, let’s talk about some of the similarities and differences between PPID (Cushings) and Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS).

Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)

EMS is characterised by three main symptoms: obesity (general and regional), insulin dysregulation (ID) and a history or predisposition to develop laminitis. The cause of EMS is also variable but typically it is a combination of both genetic predisposition (for example, naturally easy keepers are more prone to get EMS), overfeeding, lack of exercise and sometimes ageing. We include ageing simply because the horse’s metabolism will naturally start to slow down as they get older, so then it becomes even easier to develop metabolic diseases.

Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID)

Even though people sometimes think EMS and PPID are similar, they are actually very different conditions. PPID or also called Equine Cushing’s disease, is actually a condition associated with abnormal growth (hyperplasia) and tumour formation of the pituitary gland. This organ is an important producer and regulator of different hormones, so a tumour or enlarged pituitary in case of PPID will cause an overproduction of hormones such as ACTH. Because hormones are essential signalling molecules that regulate a variety of processes in different tissues, overproduction of hormones can have pretty significant effects throughout the body.

What are the similarities between the PPID and EMS?

PPID and EMS can often be confused because certain symptoms are similar, or can be. PPID horses can in fact also be ID but not always (only ~32-40% of cases with PPID have IR). But, that said, the diseases do have similarities

  • ID might just be associated with older age rather than PPID (PPID most often occurs in older horses).
  • Some horses that are genetically predisposed to get EMS sometimes develop PPID with ID later in life.
  • Horses with PPID, often in combination with ID, can also become laminitic. 

So in certain ways these diseases do show similar symptoms, however, the cause and pathology is very different.

Proper diagnosis is critical

Because treatment of these two metabolic diseases is different it is important to make sure a proper diagnosis is made by the veterinarian. EMS is typically diagnosed by physical examination, assessment of BSC and collection of a blood sample to look at insulin levels to assess whether the horse might be ID. PPID on the other hand is typically diagnosed based on the physical symptoms (e.g. long hair coat, excessive sweating, lethargy, muscle wasting, etc.) and also by analysis of the blood hormone levels of ACTH, which will indicate whether or not there might be an issue with the pituitary gland.

It is essential to distinguish between EMS and PPID to make sure you are treating your metabolic horse in the best way possible. 

Cavalor FiberForce
Cavalor FiberForce
Cavalor FiberForce

Cavalor FiberForce

£15.89

High-fiber mixture low in sugar and starch for sensitive horses

  • Cavalor FiberForce is a high-fiber mixture with a very low sugar and starch content. Its effect has been proven scientifically. This feed is ideally suitable for horses with a sensitive gastrointestinal tract, nervous horses, horses sensitive to overburdened muscles and the so-called easy keepers.
  • Cavalor FiberForce contains long fibers and extruded fiber pellets. Digest Control guarantees the lowest starch and sugar content, which has a particularly positive effect on the bowel function.
  • Cavalor FiberForce ensures that your horse is healthy from the inside out!

Composition

Linseed husks, alfalfa stems, alfalfa, sunflower seed feed, soya oil, spelt hulls, oat hulls, cane molasses, peas, linseed, dried beet pulp, wheat, monocalcium phosphate, sodium chloride, maize gluten feed, calcium carbonate, fructo-oligosaccharides

Analytical constituents

Crude protein 11.0%, crude fat 7.0%, crude ash 8.5%, crude fibre 29.0%, sugar 3.0%, starch 5.0%, calcium 1.00%, phosphorus 0.50%, magnesium 0.20%, sodium 0.30%

Nutritional additives

3a672a vitamin A 15000 IU, 3a671 vitamin D3 1500 IU, 3a700 vitamin E 200 mg, 3a880 biotin 100 µg, 3a890 choline chloride 90 mg, 3b103 iron (ferrous sulphate, monohydrate) 40 mg, 3b202 iodine (calcium iodate, anhydrous) 0.2 mg, 3b304 cobalt (coated granulated cobalt(II) carbonate) 0.1 mg, E4 copper (cupric sulphate, pentahydrate) 40 mg, 3b503 manganese (manganous sulphate, monohydrate) 100 mg, 3b605 zinc (zinc sulphate, monohydrate) 100 mg, E8 selenium (sodium selenite) 0.4 mg

Zoo Technical Additives

4b1702 Saccharomyces cerevisiae NCYC sc 47 7 109 CFU

Technological Additives

E310 Propyl gallate 0.30 mg

Feeding Rate

Feed a minimum of 500g/100Kg to a maximum of 2000g/100Kg

E310 Propyl gallate 0.30 mg

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Cavalor Strucomix Senior
Cavalor Strucomix Senior
Cavalor Strucomix Senior

Cavalor Strucomix Senior

£18.87

Well-balanced structural mix for happy days of your ageing horse

  • Older horses have a less efficient digestion and often also poorly functioning teeth. Cavalor Strucomix Senior is the perfect food for your older horse: it contains easier to digest extruded grains and biologically high-quality proteins, which are easily digestible and are converted quickly.
  • Cavalor Strucomix Senior contains Fiber Plus, high-quality source of cellulose. This is important for the proper functioning of the digestive system. Increased levels of vitamins, minerals and trace elements contribute to compensating for a reduced absorption in older horses.
  • The high levels of copper, zinc and manganese provide maximum support to the joints, tendons and the complete skeleton. Cavalor Strucomix Senior is the perfect feed that contains everything to give your older horse a healthy and active old age.

        Composition

        Wheat middlings, barley flakes, linseed husks, expanded maize, wheat bran, spelt, expanded wheat, soya feed (produced from genetically modified soya), beet molasses, alfalfa, alfalfa stems, linseed, wheat gluten feed, carrot chunks, sunflower seed feed, toasted soya beans, spelt bran, soya fibre, soya oil, calcium carbonate, broken oil seeds, wheat, soya bean hulls (produced from genetically modified soya), sodium chloride, fructo-oligosaccharides

        Analytical constituents

        Crude protein 14.0%, crude fat 5.0%, crude ash 8.0%, crude fibre 11.0%, sugars 5.0%, starch 27.0%, calcium 1.10%, magnesium 0.35%, phosphorus 0.65%, sodium 0.25%

        Nutritional additives

        3a672a vitamin A 13000 IU, 3a671 vitamin D3 1800 IU, 3a700 vitamin E 240 mg, 3a821 vitamin B1 14.5 mg, vitamin B2 16.0 mg, 3a841 calcium D-pantothenate 30.5 mg, 3a831 vitamin B6 2.9 mg, vitamin B12 0.035 mg, 3a880 biotin 240 μg, 3a890 choline chloride 270 mg, 3b103 iron (ferrous sulphate, monohydrate) 60 mg, 3b202 iodine (calcium iodate, anhydrous) 1.50 mg, 3b304 cobalt (coated granulated cobalt(II) carbonate) 0.40 mg, E4 copper (cupric sulphate, pentahydrate) 25 mg, 3b409 copper (dicopper chloride trihydroxide) 7 mg, 3b503 manganese (manganous sulphate, monohydrate) 140 mg, 3b506 manganese (manganese chelate of glycine hydrate) 18 mg, 3b605 zinc (zinc sulphate, monohydrate) 125 mg, 3b609 zinc (zinc chloride hydroxide monohydrate) 18 mg, E8 selenium (sodium selenite) 0.35 mg, 3b815 selenium (L-selenomethionine) 0.26 mg

        Zoo Technical Additives

        4b1702 Saccharomyces cerevisiae NCYC sc 47 5.2 109 CFU

        Technical Additives

        E310 Propyl gallate 2.20 mg

        Sensory Additives

        Mixture of flavouring compounds 7 mg

        Feeding Rate

        Feed a minimum of 450g/100Kg to a maximum of 700g/100Kg

        View details