Most common conditions: Cushing's syndrome, equine metabolic syndrome, thyroid disorders, metabolic laminitis.
Tests and management: dynamic test for blood sugar and insulin analysis, thyroid hormone analysis, thyroid ultrasound, management of horses with metabolic laminitis.
Cushing's syndrome: Cushing's disease is a hormonal disease affecting older horses. It is characterised by weight loss, a long and shaggy coat associated with delayed moulting, frequent urination and increased drinking, susceptibility to infection, excessive sweating etc. It can be diagnosed by a specific blood test. Lifetime treatment is possible.
Equine metabolic syndrome: Equine metabolic syndrome is a metabolic disease. Affected horses are usually overweight and have abnormal fat deposits (e.g. neck, shoulders, rump, etc).
Laminitis is a frequent consequence of the disease. Diagnosis of equine metabolic syndrome is made by examining the horse for the presence of fatty tissue deposits and by performing blood tests which show the presence of increased blood glucose and insulin levels.
Laminitis of metabolic origin: Laminitis is a foot disease. It consists of an inflammation of the tissues linking the foot bone to the horny box. These two structures become disjointed, causing the third phalanx of the foot to descend and/or rotate in the corneal box. This results in severe pain, the horse has a stiff gait, may be reluctant to move and has increased digits and warm feet.
In the case of laminitis, it is important to try to establish the cause (metabolic origin, overload of weight on a limb following a pathology of the contralateral limb, overload of food...) in order to set up the most adapted treatment possible. The management of pain, the administration of suitable medication according to the cause and farriery work according to the X-rays of the feet are very important.
Thyroid disease: Although thyroid disease is rare in the adult horse, thyroid hormone levels can be measured to determine if there is an increase or decrease in thyroid hormone production. In most cases, a unilateral increase in thyroid gland size can be seen in the presence of thyroid disease. Most of the time, this increase in the size of the gland is related to the presence of an adenoma (benign tumour).