Percentage of Cushing's to get laminitis?


Dr. Kellon can you tell me or someone in the group give a reference to tell me what percentage of horse's with Cushing's untreated will get laminitis?

I have a friend that has a horse who shows all the signs of Cushing's and is losing weight rapidly. The friend understand the seriousness of founder but not much about Cushing's. If the percentage is pretty high then with a reference he is more likely to trust my suggestion to get the horse care.

Thank you

Paula Hancock

Hi Lauren,
Maybe have your friend read about Cushings/PPID at the new and improved ECIR website:

It does mention that laminitis used to be the most common cause of death/euthanasia in PPID horses.  Now that we understand more, it doesn't have to be if the horse is managed.  Showing all the signs of Cushings suggests that his horse may be pretty advanced in the disease process and would benefit from appropriate care.

Good luck!
Paula with Cory (IR) and Onyx (IR/PPID)


Bucks County, PA, USA

ECIR Primary Response

NRCplus 2011  ECIR 2014


Hi, Lauren - I don't have actual statistics for you (besides saying "Most of them will get laminitis"), but I can also tell you that along with laminitis comes a general feeling of malaise, poor immune function (some of these horses die from sinus infections, or rather from complications therefrom, such as not eating), and also they just waste away. The weight loss and muscle weakness can result in them slipping and falling in the winter, and being unable to get back up; or slipping and falling in mud etc. Using compounded pergolide is a very inexpensive way to give a Cushing's horse a good quality of life. I know I am preaching to the choir, but this is just a bit more information you can pass on to your friend. 

Jaini Clougher (BSc,BVSc)

Merlin (over the bridge) ,Maggie,Gypsy, Ranger

BC 09
ECIR mod/support




Regarding the malaise, my vet and I have correctly diagnosed two of my horses with Cushings just by noticing the unhappy look in their eyes.  Later confirmed with testing.  The sad thing is that they had probably been feeling lousy for years.  Looking back, the signs were there.

Gail Russell July 2009 Forestville CA.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

Maxine McArthur

This was true of my mare also. Her consistent symptom was dullness, depression, sadness, grouchiness. Blood test confirmed diagnosis. 
Maxine and Indy

Canberra, Australia 2010



Thanks Jaini, I can't do anything for this horse and that is hard to watch. I am all to familiar with the signs but sharing somebody else's words that have the experience as well and the degree may be much more influential. 

Where are people getting pergolide compounded? When I was working before people had to buy the very expensive Prascend. This is great to hear!
Thank You!

Lavinia Fiscaletti

We have a list of pharmacies that members have used here:

They will require the attending vet to agree to prescribe the compounded pergolide vs. the Name brand Prascend.

Please remember to sign your posts with name, general location and year of joining. You can add an auto signature by clicking on the "subscription" tab then scrolling down. Don't forget to hit "save" when you're done :)
Lavinia and George Too

Dante, Nappi and George over the Bridge

Jan 05, RI

EC Support Team


Thank you Paula!

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

The Michigan Cushing's Project, presented at the AAEP in 2001, found that 53% of untreated PPID horses with elevated insulin had laminitis as their major problem.

The Laminitis Trust in the UK has stated: "Equine Cushing's cases always develop laminitis if they live long enough."

Reported incidence of laminitis overall with PPID varies from 24 to 82%: . The reason for the variation is that any individual study will be looking at a different population of horses - different ages, breeds, methods of detecting laminitis, stages of PPID, etc.

Eleanor in PA 

EC Owner 2001

LeeAnne Bloye <ecir.archives@...>

For what it is worth, our Pergolide Dosage Database Statistics page currently shows 60% of the horses entered have had laminitis.   

- ​LeeAnne

ECIR Archivist, Newmarket, Ontario March 2004

Email Me - if link fails use ECIR.Archives at gmail dot com

Is your equine in the Pergolide Dosage Database? View the Pergolide Statistics

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