Pergolide response in PPID horses: participation requirements

Thank you for your interest in our Pergolide Response in PPID Horses Study!

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Purpose: Equine pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), previously known as equine Cushing’s, is a common disease affecting older horses that has significant impacts ranging from loss of use to death. PPID treatment is aimed at slowing progression of the disease and managing clinical signs. Pergolide is the gold-standard of PPID treatment. It is well known that horses respond differently to this treatment and adverse effects are relatively common.

Our long-term goal is to establish how genetics contribute to the differences in how horses respond to pergolide treatment and the presence of adverse effects. 

How You Can Help

In order to complete this important research, we need your help enrolling the appropriate horses to study.
We are looking for horses that meet the following criteria:

  1. Over the age of 15 at time of PPID diagnosis
  2. Diagnosis made by veterinarian and diagnosis included bloodwork (ACTH levels)
  3. Horse has/had clinical signs consistent with PPID (long shaggy haircoat, muscle atrophy, changes in mentation, or recurrent infections)
  4. Horse has been on pergolide therapy for a minimum of 6 months and has had recheck blood values (ACTH, TRH stim, or dexamethasone suppression)

If this describes your horse, please consider contributing to equine research by enrolling in our study. We cannot do this without you and your horses! We are happy to discuss any questions regarding eligibility- please email us.

You are welcome (and encouraged) to submit multiple surveys if you have more than one (1) PPID horse currently receiving pergolide treatment.  Participation includes providing medical records, and hair roots/blood samples for however many horses you decide to enroll.

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Below is detailed information on what is requested from you in this study. Please read it all carefully. For your horse(s) to be considered in this study we will need all information below:

Part 1: Survey information

Complete the enrollment survey including general information, horse information, PPID clinical signs and diagnosis, and pergolide treatment and response.

Important: The survey contains 35-65 questions, based on the response of your questions.  It will take you approximately 15-30 minutes to complete. If you need to stop the survey for any reason, you may return to it by following the survey link. Your answers will remain where you left off so long as you have not cleared your browser history and you are using the same computer and browser (i.e. Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer) as when you first started the survey. If you do not return to the survey within 14 days from the last time you accessed it, you will have to restart the survey. Therefore, please make sure you review our Owner Checklist (pdf) before starting the survey.

Part 2: Submit horse samples

Collect and mail in samples for any horses that you have submitted surveys. Instructions for collecting and mailing in hair roots or blood samples are below:

How to Collect Hair Roots or Blood Samples (pdf)

You may choose to send in either a hair roots sample or a blood sample. These hair root and blood samples will be used to genotype your horses for potential genetic alleles (mutations) related to pergolide response and PPID genetics. If you choose to submit a blood sample, you will need help from your veterinarian. Please mail in hair roots/blood samples for each horse from the survey with a sample submission sheet (pdf). When you are sending samples, please send us an email with the tracking number and items you sent ASAP so that we can ensure prompt receipt of the delivery.

Part 3: Submit medical records to study

Please email all pertinent medical records (including ACTH, TRH stim, or dexamethasone suppression blood work results) to study coordinators. Additionally, photos of your horses clinical signs are requested.

Submission Checklist

To be eligible for enrollment in the study ALL of the following components must be received by the UMN research team.

  1. Survey (one for each horse)
  2. Hair roots or blood sample (pdf) mailed to UMN for each horse
    1. Sample submission form (pdf) included with shipment
    2. Email us when shipping
  3. Copy of medical records (including ACTH, TRH stim, or dexamethasone suppression blood work)
    1. Email us

If you choose to participate, please be mindful to submit all the requested information above. All information you provide and results in this study will be kept confidential. Participation is completely voluntary, and you may withdraw at any time.

PPID Research Team:

  • Dr. Molly McCue (PI, University of Minnesota)
  • Dr. Dianne McFarlane (Co-I, University of Florida)
  • Dr. Lauren Hughes (PhD Student, University of Minnesota)

If you have any questions, please contact the research team.

*This project has received funding by the University of Minnesota and the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation for the Horse.