Cushing’s Syndrome in Horses

3 min read



Although there is no definitive treatment for equine Cushing's disease, there are a handful of ways to manage and effectively control it. Pergolide is the medication of choice; anywhere from 0.2 to 5 milligrams orally per day has been shown to stabilize the health of most horses. If effective, the veterinarian may then gradually reduce the dosage.


Outside of pergolide, bromocriptine is another drug that has been used for managing Cushing’s disease in horses, though it is less popular than pergolide. Cyproheptadine is another drug that has been utilized for treating this condition as well. Before pergolide, cyproheptadine was the drug of choice for Cushing's, and in some cases a combination of cyproheptadine and pergolide is used to manage the condition.


Living and Management


After diagnosis and starting medication for Cushing’s disease, there are other management practices one can implement to help a horse with this condition. Horses with Cushing's disease are extremely prone to laminitis, a debilitating inflammatory condition inside the hoof. Regular farrier visits and limited access to lush pasture will help prevent this. Careful management of the horse's diet will help combat weight loss. Lastly, because Cushing's disease weakens the horse's immune system, make sure to properly clean and disinfect any superficial wounds found on the horse's body.